How do you look at your marketing?
Do you know where your leads come from?
How are you processing leads to make them successful?
In my recent blogs about marketing and the Theory of Constraints, I discussed the connections between each step of the marketing hourglass. Many organizations do not look at their sales and marketing process in a linear fashion, let alone segmenting it. When organizations first map out the process, they look at connections where people come from being all over the map such as the diagram to the right. They look at a simple chain as an oversimplification of reality. Not everybody goes through each step of the cycle. Some will skip from step one to step three. Someone may enter the cycle in step three. These interconnections are not trivial, it is what makes your process work and it also may be stopping it from working. So what is the purpose? The purpose of creating the marketing hourglass is very simple: Which is harder to manage, the above diagram or this diagram?
Your flow system, The Marketing Hourglass, structure will allow an organization to operate at maximum efficiency. The secret in creating such a linear flow is segmentation. Without it, you will continue to operate in less than an optimum manner. You will never be able to find your constraint, because it will be moving around, practically with every single opportunity.
Different opportunities, normal variation and changing workforce make it just about impossible to balance everything. There is a weakest link; there is one element in your system more limiting than another. Why is it so important to find that? Without working on your greatest constraint much of your work will be wasted and non-productive. Take a look at the diagram above and see how proper segmentation may alter your perception of the marketing hourglass. As you can see, not all steps may be needed for each and every channel. An excellent example is someone that has been referred to you. With the proper referral program in place, you will know exactly what step in the process that person should enter.
Keep segmenting your list, till you gain a linear flow. Yes, there may be a few exceptions. However, I think it might be interesting to scrutinize those exceptions. Are these exceptions really your target market or ideal client? I think you might find out that they are something less than ideal clients. Whatever you do, don't ignore the exceptions; they may prove valuable insights to your marketing process. That thought may lead to another discussion.