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The funnel is dead? Extend its life with clean data

They say the funnel is dead. For a long time, we’ve used the analogy of the funnel to describe the customer’s journey. The problem is: what happens after they’ve gone through it and signed the deal?

If your relationship with customers ends as soon as they’re through the funnel, you’re missing out on having any relationship at all. And that’s costing you more than you realize in lost opportunities.

Introhive’s VP of Technology and Innovation Adam Stewart was a keynote speaker at the “The Funnel is Dead” themed Modern Sales Pros Revenue Excellence Summit, where he addressed the failure of the funnel and how data integrity is the solution in a masterclass about designing, aligning and updating your data for less friction and more revenue.

The intersection of bad data and the funnel

The link between the inadequacy of the funnel and data integrity might not be immediately clear, but Adam’s presentation connected the dots and demonstrated how a properly functioning CRM is essential to establishing and maintaining a healthy relationship after a sale is made.

He began by addressing the impact of data on your business when it’s not kept clean. A staggering 91% of companies report having incomplete CRM data, which makes sense when you realize that 70% of CRM data decays annually. It doesn’t matter how good your data is when it goes into your CRM if you aren’t keeping it good. And the cost of manually maintaining data integrity is enormous, which is why so often it doesn’t get done.

All of this decayed and incomplete data adds up. Not just when a customer is in the funnel, but also after they’ve come out the other side. Introhive’s internal analysis based on an assumed employee cost of $100 per hour calculates a staggering $570,282 average monthly cost to the business per 100 employees due to bad data-related lost productivity:

  • 12.7 hours per week on average spent manually updating contacts, logging activities, and preparing for meetings
  • $18,540 average annual opportunity cost per employee from missed new business and upsell/cross-sell opportunities
  • $68,400 average annual cost per CRM user due to lost productivity and contributions of bad data

The ugly truth of dirty data

Tracking data health is a due diligence process that can show you what’s working and what’s not in an organization. Adam also walked us through the ugly truth of the cost of dirty data. It costs about $1 to verify a contact record as it’s entered, $10 to cleanse and dedupe it later, and $100 if nothing is done and the ramifications of missing or dirty data are felt over and over. 

Clearly, it’s worth keeping data good, but isn’t there a better way to do it? Adam is a firm believer in data automation to get information into your CRM and keep it clean once it’s in there. 

Understand your data

The best data in the world isn’t going to help you if you don’t know what to do with it. Adam suggests going back to first principles to see how data can power your operation. 

Take a look at the design of your process from all levels and plan for future growth. Examine the big picture questions: what data is important, and why? Then zoom in on the micro-elements: are the right people targeted, and how happy are they?

The key to stopping working for your data and starting to make it work for you is to make it easy. Don’t ask any more from people to access and interpret data. Present it where they’re already working, integrated into existing workflows. Also, only ask what you need, feed your CRM the right data, and find ways to enrich it. 

And, of course, automate wherever and whenever you can.

The funnel is dead? Fix it

When we capture what happens after a deal is signed and map it onto the funnel, we get something more like a bowtie or an hourglass. The funnel is dead only because it doesn’t give the whole picture of a proper customer journey. In a proper sales cycle, ustomers should continue through more stages with onboarding and customer service after the traditional funnel stages are complete. 

Full Funnel
Full Funnel diagram from Winning by Design, https://winningbydesign.com/recurring-revenue-operating-model/

The value of maintaining a relationship with a customer is the opportunity to put them back into the funnel with upsell or cross-sell features. Plus satisfaction is greatly enhanced, which is essential for business models based on annual recurring revenue. And never discount the value of any referrals that a happy customer might bring you—one referral is worth hundreds of cold calls.

The fuel behind all this is data. It enables your revenue team to achieve revenue acceleration as all aspects of your business, from sales to marketing to customer service and beyond, work together to grow relationships, grow retention, and grow revenue. 

When teams work together, conversion rates skyrocket. Leads move through stages faster and more efficiently as the SDR hands off a complete data set to an AE, helping them foster the relationship in a healthy and professional way.

Winning by design

Data is the key to unlock growth in your organization. Study its impact and adjust your process accordingly. Look at the impact of good data and data as the key to the overall growth of your organization: from your lead generation teams, to demand gen, to sales org onboarding efforts, all the way to your customer success program.  Data fuels revenue acceleration!

Interested in learning more? Unable to watch the session? You can still watch the session on-demand, and talk to Adam’s team at Introhive to see how you can grow your relationships, retention, and revenue after you make the initial sale.

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