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Insight from Experts: The Marketing Funnel with Matt Heinz

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Author: Mark Nardone, Chief Marketing Officer at PAN Communications, headshot
Mark NardoneChief Marketing Officer

Mark Nardone, executive vice president at PAN Communications, speaks with Matt Heinz, president and founder of Heinz Marketing. Matt is well respected within the marketing industry and is known for his success as an author, keynote speaker, repeat winner of the ‘Top 50 Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management,’ and listed among the ‘Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers’.

Read the transcript or watch the video below to learn more on how the marketing funnel has changed and evolved, including its impact on sales and ABM strategies.

Mark Nardone: The Marketing Funnel

You’ve been a huge advocate for the marketing funnel and the sales funnel. Let’s start at the top, Matt, and let’s think about what the funnel looks like today versus what it looked like five years ago. How has it changed? How has it evolved? And what do the marketers need to take away from, or add, or perfect, in their overall approach to any type of funnel – sales to marketing, or marketing to sales.

Matt Heinze on The Marketing Funnel

The funnel is still alive and kicking. I think a lot of people may want you to think that the funnel is dead or that prospects don’t fall in this linear progression. And rarely do they, but we need to use a model for something, and I think in general thinking about stages of the buying journey still makes sense.

I’m going to add some contradictory things, but hopefully they make sense together. On the one hand, I think the funnel is wider than it’s ever been – meaning, at the top of the funnel we’re now able to engage prospects at scale throughout your entire addressable market, with good value-added content, where the first stage of your buying journey together might be attention – do I have your attention based on something that you’re interested in? From that standpoint, the top of your funnel is your entire addressable market. And then you start to narrow people on whether they’re engaged, qualified, etc.

I know we’ll talk about account-based marking a little later, but you know Craig Rosenberg who is one of the co-founders of TOPO, he says yes, funnels are alive and kicking, in ABM, they’re just a lot smaller. They’re a lot tighter. Instead of being wider, they just don’t care about these companies now. From that standpoint, if you’re doing target account selling, you don’t care about inbound marketing. You’re not going to wait for your target prospect to stumble upon your blog post on Google. You know exactly who they are. You know exactly those 140 companies, exactly the eight people in each of those companies that you want to address. Those are the people at top of your funnel, it’s a much narrower funnel than it otherwise would be.

Mark Nardone: The Marketing Funnel

Does that become a value point to the discussion? Back to the bridge of finance over to marketing, because as you look at either ABM, name the account strategy approach, you’re able to further define or narrow down that focus, value and impact that you can have on the top brands that you’re looking to penetrate with marketing keyword research.

Matt Heinz on The Marketing Funnel

Yes, let’s find the organizations that actually have the characteristics that make them more likely to engage us. What’s going on in their company, either from individuals or from the company, is that they’re buying signals that are maybe subtler, more passive buying signals but are buying signals nonetheless – they tell us that they might be interested in engaging. They might be open to a “challenge the status quo” conversation, which is phase one according to serious decisions of that buying journey. I think if you can say we have a precise or scientific way of thinking about this buying journey, here’s how it maps to the way we’re marketing to people, and to get the qualified people at the beginning of this conversation, we don’t need to market to the entire market we need to market to the right segment of the market, based on these criteria. Based on these signals from the market and from individual companies you can see those signals across the web and things they’re saying on social channels. You can see it in financial disclosures. You can see it in investor call transcripts.

All of these different places that you’ve been mining from these buying signals. And then the next day, you can say OK sales team, here’s four people that were mentioned in their company’s investor calls yesterday that now have a corporate priority to do X. Go ask your target what their plan is to help achieve that goal. So that goal went from number 24 on their priority list to number two because their CEO just mentioned it on an earnings call. The next day they have no plan for that. You’re a hero because you now have an opportunity to help them have a plan for that today.


Interested in learning more? Check out other sections from the conversation here:

What are your views on the marketing funnel in the digital age? Let’s continue the conversation @markcnardone.

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