What do we mean by the “shape” of your funnel? You may recognise the following funnel diagram: you might have some more levels and different names for each level, but it will look something like this:

You may then determine how many leads you have in each level by what they have “seen” or even by updating the lead status manually. The level they are in is how you determine how “qualified” the lead is.

If you create a bar chart to represent these numbers, it will look something like this:

However, the critical question you need to be asking yourself is, does this represent the Buyer Journey? What would the data look like if we analysed where all the leads are in relation to their progress to purchase as opposed to their progress through our lead funnel.

What might surprise you is that when you analyse actual engagement against a Buyer Journey, it looks more like this:

Chart, bar chart Description automatically generated

First, the labels have changed. This is because this represents the actual buyer’s journey and not arbitrary qualification steps of a funnel. The counts of customers in this chart represent where they are on their buying journey as tracked against content consumption.

As you can see, this view of customer numbers is very different to the funnel view with a lot more customers at the very last steps of the journey. This happens because the content and campaigns are driving customers straight to the bottom of the funnel. (This is a fat-bottomed funnel!)

If there is a “nurturing” process/sequence, this might start a bit earlier in the journey, but this is still not the full Buyer Journey. This often leads to poor conversion rates because the customer is not ready to buy.

Another problem with not mapping the Buyer Journey is that you may not even know how bad your conversion rates are – if you measure by qualification stages, you are not seeing how many leads are being wasted and going nowhere.

Therefore, the shape of the funnel is important.

At a high level, the first steps to understanding the shape of your funnel are to build your Buyer Journey map and track how your customers are consuming content against that map. Only when armed with this information can you optimise the journey and, of course, start improving your conversion rates through the entire Buyer Journey.

Here is our formula for becoming Buyer Journey focused:

  1. Build your Buyer Journey map starting from your buyer’s needs.
  2. Audit your content against this map.
  3. Fill the gaps.
  4. Put the map live.
  5. Activate and align the journey with campaigns.
  6. Monitor and optimise.

The Odyssiant Buyer Journey Engine makes all this easy with a simple to use mapping tool and analytics that provide a unique view on how your marketing is performing.