Sales and Marketing Funnel to Flywheel: A Spin Worth the Ride
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June 1, 2021

Top, middle, bottom — once upon a time, these three terms were enough to explain the entire sales and marketing funnel. Following a funnel, marketing’s goal is nurturing prospects from the awareness stage (top-of-funnel) to the decision stage (bottom-of-funnel) before handing them off to sales to close. But the buying journey is changing and funnels are not cutting it.

An alternative framework has now emerged. Not only does it account for how prospects decide on major purchases in today’s always-on, hyper-connected digital world, but it also promises to generate more ROI by placing customers at the center of all sales and marketing activities. The Flywheel represents this new framework. Read on to see how it’s poised to revolutionize how organizations attract, convert, retain, and delight customers throughout their lifecycle.

Although the funnel and flywheel model both aim at generating sales, the activities and processes vary. Shift your activities away from the funnel’s priority of user acquisition. Instead, begin devoting resources toward the flywheel’s long-sighted, circular model that focuses on increasing customer delight and customer lifetime value (CLV).

What’s a Flywheel, Anyways? And How Does It Work?

In mechanics, a flywheel is an energy-efficient wheel or disc that uses rotational momentum to generate and sustain energy. In sales and marketing, the flywheel model relies on a similar principle of momentum to drive leads, close deals, and fuel an organization’s growth.

The flywheel model aims to reduce friction throughout a customer’s life cycle in order to improve conversion rates by improving customer delight. Moreover, flywheels utilize momentum to generate energy. Generate more leads, new deals, and repeat purchases to keep your flywheel turning. They are the ideal sales and marketing framework for growing businesses. Once a flywheel model is adopted and deployed, it will spin faster and more efficiently as the organization scales.

Remember to consider the different “stages” throughout the sales and marketing flywheel. Keep in mind that this model is cyclical, not linear. Expect your customers to continually rotate around the flywheel as their needs change. This contrasts the funnel, in which customers fall off the radar once they convert.

Key Elements of a Flywheel Sales and Marketing Framework

Do not try implementing the flywheel overnight, especially if your sales and marketing departments are structured around traditional funnels. It takes time to successfully transition from a funnel to a flywheel. Transform into a flywheel-focused organization with these key first steps:

  • Adopt A New Mindset. Fundamentally shift how your sales and marketing departments function with the flywheel. Focus your teams’ mindset to see and treat customers as your company’s most valuable assets. Reflect this new mindset in your teams’ activities and processes. So, place customers at the center of all revenue-generating activities instead of putting them aside after being handed-off.
  • Align Your Departments. Alignment is key to ensure that everyone across the growth departments understand the why behind their actions. Allow them to prioritize efforts to delight customers at every turn. Moreover, dissolve the traditional boundaries between your sales and marketing departments by developing shared KPIs and connecting them more closely. It is not enough for marketing to report on MQLs and sales to report on closed deals. Build a common vocabulary for how they talk about and report on their collective successes and failures.
  • Upgrade to An Intelligent Tech Stack. The flywheel model requires end-to-end visibility across all customer interactions. So, facilitate customer movement through the four stages (Activate, Adopt, Adore, Advocate) with more intelligent and sophisticated automation at scale. Do not use siloed tools for tracking, engaging, and reporting on customer movement throughout the flywheel. They are not enough. Organizations that successfully deploy the flywheel model have fully integrated tech stacks that link their sales and marketing tools (e.g., HubSpot, Salesforce, Google Analytics) under one intelligent umbrella.

Trying to Evolve?

Looking to transform your sales and marketing funnel into a flywheel? You’ll need a platform that can handle the complexities of lifetime customer engagement. Get in touch with Hovi to learn how our end-to-end sales and marketing platform can improve your tech stack, automate your marketing, generate better leads, and enable sales and marketing teams to delight customers throughout the flywheel.


Nour Bchennaty
Nour is a Project Executive at Hovi Digital Lab. She’s a certified digital marketing specialist by the DMI. If you ask her about her favorite season of the year, she will say Champions League.