Key customer plans

Strategic Key Account Planning

Almost every organisation I have dealt with uses some variation of the accepted sales funnel model.

Start by gathering as many leads as possible, then progressively whittle them down through the funnel until you have a customer. The practice is always way more chaotic than the nicely drawn funnel, as leads enter and exit the funnel at various times for various reasons. Chaotic is usually an appropriate expression.

When you think about it, there is a huge amount of waste in the process.

You start with many, and expend considerable resources  to turn leads, of which a large majority are unlikely ever to be customers, into prospects, into hot prospects, (or whatever creative name you call them) then create a transaction, then hopefully to build a relationship.

In most B2B situations, this simply does not make sense.

Would it not be far better to spend a fraction of  the resources identifying your ideal customer based on your value proposition, then identifying the decision makers and their procurement processes in those ideal customers,  then setting out to engage them with personalised marketing?

This is in effect turning the funnel upside down, but recognising that prospect behaviour is unpredictable if not chaotic, it may be that the pyramid, in what ever orientation is the wrong metaphor.

Why not use a cycle of some sort, with the central objective of creating a relationship with the key customers and prospects in your industry.

Digital technology is making this easier by the day to execute, but the foundations of good marketing have not changed. Digital technology cannot change those foundations, the things you  simply have to get right to earn the confidence of a prospect to give you their money.