Revenue Collaboration & Governance Sales Funnel Sales Strategy Sales Process

What Is the Difference Between Traditional Sales Funnel and Flywheel?

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Chetna Sabharwal
Marketing Specialist, Clari



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Typewriter back-to-back with a macbook

Before we understand any differences between the flywheel model and the funnel model, let's look at each concept individually. 

What is a sales funnel? 

Have you ever thought about the customer journey? What happens from the moment a person is first made aware that a product exists to the time they buy it?

Next time you think about the sales funnel think about AIDEA which is an acronym for Awareness, Interest, Desire, Engagement, and Action.

Let us break it down for you with an example:

A shopper notices a rack of sneakers and thus becomes aware of your brand. As he or she glances through the rack of sneakers they've progressed to the next stage of the funnel model - interest. The buyer then chooses two pairs of shoes that he or she would desire and proceeds to check prices and look closer to judge the quality - this is the engagement stage of the sales funnel.

If everything goes well, in the action stage they complete the transaction and reach the bottom of the funnel.

To sum up, a sales funnel maps out all the touchpoints where your clients connect with your brand before they are ready to make a purchase. Your sales funnel must be top-notch to establish a successful sales process.

Pssstt! Are you sure you are not confusing a sales funnel with your sales pipeline? Here’s an article that can help you iron that out.

What is a sales flywheel? 

The entire premise of a sales flywheel is that it is customer centric and that your greatest promoters are your customers. If you satisfy them, they'll talk to their buddies about your product, and might even post on social media, and say nice things. And if you make it simple for those buddies to learn about and buy your product, and continue to deliver a positive experience your newly delighted clients will spread the word to their friends, and so you will gain loyal customers. 

Sounds easy? It is!

As the word flywheel suggests, the concept is cyclical. You might even call it energy efficient. Do you know how in physics they say that the quantity of energy in a spinning wheel is determined by the speed at which it spins, the level of friction it faces, and its size?

Physics might not be your thing, but you get the picture!

The same fundamentals apply here. 

When we say “energy stored in the wheel” we mean the momentum or the level of positivity of the customer’s experience and his or her corresponding desire to rave about you. 

The level of effort your salespeople, service teams, and marketing teams are putting in, is the equivalent of the flywheel spinning speed.

“Friction” is a metaphor for the difficulties a prospective new customer encounters in obtaining and using your goods. So if you reduce the friction aka the problems they face, the happier your consumer will be and more repeat sales, which translates to greater energy for your flywheel. 

The number of consumers you have has a direct impact on the flywheel's size. Like that old song Sweet Home Alabama says, “big wheels keep on turnin”. More happy customers (or a larger wheel) correspond to more positive reviews through word of mouth. You can picture the multiplier effect of 100 people saying “this software is amazing” versus 1000 people saying “this software is amazing”. 

Utilizing happy customers, you can boost customer retention and referrals.

Customers are the heart of every firm; keep them pleased, remove friction, and you will maintain momentum.

Attract: The attention of a potential client must be earned. You can attract clients by providing helpful material and making it simple for them to learn about your items.

Engaging: Build relationships with your customers and engage them regularly rather than just closing agreements. Contact them via messaging on their social media or chosen channels.

Delight: For keeping your consumers satisfied, link your success to theirs. You develop as they do. This way, your resources will be better aligned to provide the best available customer experience.

Basically, your customer base continues to grow simply on the steam of existing happy customers and their word of mouth.

How does the flywheel help the sales teams?

Back when you rode your bike more often as a kid, you probably noticed that it was only difficult to get the wheel to gain momentum. 

But once it picked up speed you really reaped the benefit of prior efforts. Well… maybe not if you were riding uphill, but you get the idea. 

You want to build momentum.

The energy that powers the flywheel is supplied by your leads, prospects, and existing customers. The task of your sales team is to eliminate any friction that may hinder that energy. 

Today’s customers want to research products independently and choose what to buy based on inputs from their own circle of trust and that makes the flywheel approach even more relevant to sales teams.

The problem with sales funnels

Don’t get us wrong, the sales funnel has been a truly great tool over the years. It remains a reliable tool but the full stop that the end of the funnel represents is just not customer-centric or indicative of the actual real-world scenario.

Your customer buying your product or solution is definitely not the end of the road. You need to keep them happy while they use the product and you might need to remarket if your solution needs an annual renewal, of course, you want them to recommend you to peers, family, friends… frenemies… neighbors… people on the subway…

The idea of referrals certainly beats the frustration of relying solely on remarking/ reselling and upselling to the same pool of prospects. It's not only frustrating to you; it's also frustrating to customers who are already spending money to use your product.

That’s where the flywheel model comes to your rescue.

How to make the switch from sales funnel to sales flywheel

Although changing your current structure may seem like a lot of work, you can turn your sales funnel into a flywheel by following a few straightforward steps. When the long-term connections and self-qualified prospects begin to flow in, enhancing the customer experience will be worth the effort.

When you're considering your present procedures, pause to consider these questions:

Is the purpose of this procedure my convenience or the needs of the customer?

Here are the stages to modify are as follows:

  • Narrow down the problem areas:

Make sure you run a critical eye across the entire process, from beginning to end, looking for friction. Here's where to begin:

Focus your inbound marketing approach on providing value-based content at the correct time for the ideal customer stage.

Create a staff specifically for onboarding to provide a successful transition. 

Reduce customer conversations to only one point of contact. 

Offer clients more than one choice for opting into a transaction by giving them the option to email, schedule a meeting, phone live agents, or fill out a form.

  • With the correct touchpoints, you can cultivate joy.

The customer's expectations may be catered to at late-stage touchpoints, and there are several options.

Consider the customer support that almost all businesses have for their present clients. Could you make yours more enjoyable by including chat support? If you already offer chat assistance but it's handled by human beings who are available from nine to five, how about integrating a chatbot for 24/7 accessibility?

A consumer may notice a significant difference even with this small change.

Make your sales figures fly…with a Copilot 

A customer who feels heard and well attended to becomes a happy customer who goes around praising you on their social media. 

Clari Copilot gives you the tools you need to listen better on and after calls and deliver a better sales experience and a better customer experience in the long run. 

Your sales team gets helpful cues during sales calls, like telling your reps when it's time to pipe down and listen with a talk: listen to ratio. That’s not it though. Clari Copilot also prompts sales reps about when they have an opening to market a feature as a response to a customer pain point. These helpful cues aren’t only for the team. The tool also alerts sales managers to at-risk deals. There’s nothing like smoothing ruffled feathers right then and there.

If the team has a salesperson who is an especially big star at making customers feel special and injecting the kind of delight that assures you of a positive referral, you can play back their calls for the whole team to listen to because Clari Copilot gives you call recordings that you can share. 

Clari Copilot also enables a better performing sales team thanks to insights and analysis into performance and call success, so that you can train your sales reps to work better with customers. Moreover, you can customize your training to match each rep's strengths and areas for improvement.

Everyone can be trained to please customers - it's just about catching the right gaps in their methodology and with Copilot’s insights and itemized call recordings, you get all the insights you need. Book a demo today to multiply your star performers and supercharge your conversion rates!