The inverted funnel
Updated: Jul 7, 2021
Inverted funnel: In growing product manufacturing companies, SCM + GTM = how your resources, teams, and products align around your customer.
If you are an entrepreneur looking to commercialize a new product, or a growing product manufacturer seeking to expand your production and sales, identifying your target customer is likely your first hurdle for a successful go-to-market strategy. Maybe you have years of research to look into or maybe you are working off of instinct, but you will need to identify your customer and your respective sales channel.
Many products can have success through B2B, B2C, or distributors, but identifying which is best for your specific product will mean the difference of achieving commercialization. Not having a process of validation through your channel of choice could stunt your product’s success.
We believe the best way to turn theory into action and validate your pathway for successful commercialization is through utilizing the inverted funnel method. Keep reading and we will cover why the inverted funnel is best suited for growing product manufacturers over the traditional sales funnel, followed by tactics for its implementation.
Traditional Sales Funnel Failures:
Countless product manufacturers are spending their entire marketing budget on awareness campaigns or taking a shotgun approach to direct sales, putting ads in front of anyone and everyone. We can’t blame them for this, as marketing companies have been preaching the sales funnel philosophy for decades. But with the offering of hyper focused advertising, it’s time for product manufacturers to flip the funnel and start marketing smarter.
If you already have a base of customers purchasing your product, there is no reason to spend money on additional awareness campaigns. You know who to go after. Product manufacturers need to invert the sales funnel, communicate with current customers, and find individuals with matching characteristics.
If 90% of your current customers spend more time on LinkedIn than Facebook, why would you pay for Facebook ads? If your customers exclusively read trade publications, why pay to be published anywhere else? For many, it is because they don’t know which watering holes to find their customers in, so they take a guess and throw their marketing budget at it.
If you are not interviewing and surveying your customers, how can you expect to reach others like them? Marketing should not be a one-way communication from companies to customers. Two-way dialogue with customers is necessary for better understanding of their wants and needs and to grow your market reach effectively and efficiently. Listed below are questions and tactics for yourself and your team to better align with your customer:
The confluence of marketing and sales with a specific focus on industry:
Do your marketing materials directly relate to your sales activities?
Do your sales and marketing teams have the same customer in mind when creating materials or targeting customers?
Do your marketing materials speak for themselves and to an audience of industry experts in a way that lends credibility and authority to your brand?
Is your sales team trained enough to “talk shop” with customers about the industry? Does your sales team have the materials to make rock-solid cases for the value/need of your product to customers?
Is the sales team relaying feedback from customers to the marketing team about the materials?
Is your marketing budget being spent on the right channels so potential customers see your content before the sales team touches them?
Is your sales team interviewing current customers to know where and how to reach new customers and sharing that with the sales team?
The fallacy of marketing based on “Best Guess” Ask current customers:
Where would you look for a product such as mine?
What considerations are involved before marking a purchase?
What are their pain points and which would be the most valuable to solve?
Product Manufacturers must ask themselves: Who is my customer and why? Do they already want my product?
Customer as the influencer:
Your customers are your highest priority and at the heart of your decisions about where, how, and how much to invest in marketing, sales, service, and customer experience initiatives. Learning how to align with your customers allows you to effectively target new customers, keep existing customers and develop internal strategies to improve customer engagement.
The customer should be your north star with every part of your business pointed towards them. Sales, Marketing, and Leadership should all be pointed toward the customer and aligned together in efforts.
Sales & Marketing Validation:
How did you decide on your channel for sales (b2b, distributors, b2c)?
Were there any biases, assumptions, or guesses in your decision process?
How have you validated that it is the best channel for your product?
How you are validating your marketing choices?
Do you have an open line of communication with customers regarding your marketing and its effectiveness?
Do you need to reassess your marketing strategy based on customer feedback?
Are your sales meeting or exceeding your projections?
If not, wherein your process is the failure (marketing, sales, fulfillment).
Is your marketing bringing the return on investment you projected?
If not, are you interviewing customers to validate your approach or identify how you should pivot or what needs improvement?