A Socialized Sales Funnel – Sales or Advocacy?

May 25, 2011
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I’ve been talking with the sales folks here at CI about the influence of social media on the sales funnel. Obviously, we all agree that social has added a unique perspective to the traditional sales funnel. But in many ways the thinking goes, at least here at CI,  is that social is an additional feature to an already well-established concept of reaching out and supporting customers. We expect social media will mature to play a larger role in how information is shared, purchases and referrals are made and how the nature of consumer and business relationships may evolve.

I’ve been talking with the sales folks here at CI about the influence of social media on the sales funnel. Obviously, we all agree that social has added a unique perspective to the traditional sales funnel. But in many ways the thinking goes, at least here at CI,  is that social is an additional feature to an already well-established concept of reaching out and supporting customers. We expect social media will mature to play a larger role in how information is shared, purchases and referrals are made and how the nature of consumer and business relationships may evolve.

Today’s Socialized Sales Funnel

Here’s one perspective on the influence of social media on the sales funnel.

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At each phase within the sales funnel, social media is one method consumers can use to research, share or use referral information to influence their purchasing decision. Social is somewhat a meta-layer above the defined phases of consumer behavior, because social media and search are probably used during every phase. And probably continues long after the purchase.

But here’s an interesting question. At least, I think think it is. What happens when the outcome of the sales funnel is advocacy. How do organizations begin to reward and support individuals, who long after their purchase become strong brand advocates and influencers?

Please click to enlarge

How is this type of outcome valued by an organization other than by sales? Or is that only real measurement of merit? Does a customer base that provides strong referral support require a different approach from business? We don’t have all the answers but it would seem that business behavior will ultimately change once social media usage becomes more ubiquitous and embedded in an individual’s purchasing process.

Which do you think is the most important outcome? Purchase or Advocacy?