Why sales and communication should speak the same language? Discover what a communication funnel is and start building the Tower of Babel.
There is a critical term all marketing experts are familiar with. That term is the sales funnel.
However, they also use another term, just as essential, but far less known: the communication funnel.
Since I would like to contribute to this second term to become better known, I’ll write about it in this post. `
To be more precise, I’ll focus on the following three questions:
- What are the similarities and differences between a sales funnel and a communication funnel?
- When does a communication funnel become a communication tower?
- How a sales funnel and a communication tower build the iceberg of marketing?
Would you like to know more about these topics?
Let’s start with the definition part!
Table of Contents
What is a sales funnel?
At the very start, I’ll provide you with the definition of a sales funnel:
“The Sales Funnel or Conversion Funnel is the process that allows you to define the journey a Buyer Persona must travel from the first visit to your website until completing the sales process and becoming your customer.”Sales Funnel: Everything You Need to Know, Genwords.com
Although there are many definitions, I chose this one since it contains the three essential elements that help us understand the nature of a sales funnel:
- Process – It’s very much like a living organism, which changes and evolves. As the goals of a company change, the sales funnel changes, too.
- Journey – The journey from the first to the last phase of a sales funnel involves a particular transformation. For example, a visitor may start the process by looking for information and finish it by buying the product.
- Sale – Finally, the sales funnel ends when it meets its purpose. In most cases, the goal is selling.
A sales funnel turns a VISITOR into a CUSTOMER.
What is a communication funnel?
When it comes to communication, we’re more used to speaking about a communication strategy rather than about a communication funnel.
One of the reasons for this situation is that it’s incomparably less challenging to define the first term than the second one.
But despite lacking a precise definition, the three above-mentioned elements characterise a communication funnel as well:
- Process – Just like a sales funnel, a communication funnel is a living organism, too. When a brand decides to modify its voice, vary the tone or remake its style guide, communication changes.
- Journey – The journey from the first to the last phase of a communication funnel also involves a particular transformation. For instance, a reader may enter the funnel looking for a piece of information and exit it feeling identified with the brand values.
- Sale – Finally, a communication funnel doesn’t end with clinching the sale. On the contrary, it continues through the user experience.
A communication funnel turns a READER into a brand FOLLOWER.
(From this moment on, I’ll focus on written communication, since that’s my field of expertise.)
What do these two funnels have in common?
Both a sales funnel and a communication funnel have other aspects in common, apart from the above-mentioned elements.
Both funnels are composed of a number of stages
The stages of a sales funnel are the following five:
On the other hand, there are three stages of a communication funnel:
- Content writing (content marketing);
- Copywriting (compelling writing);
- UX writing (user experience writing).
Both funnels start with the same stage
Furthermore, not only a sales funnel but also a communication funnel begin with the attraction stage:
- SEO – One way to attract potential customers is to invest in web content that is optimised for search engines (content writing, organic traffic).
- SEM – Another way is to invest in search engine advertising and social media ads (PPC copywriting, paid traffic).
Another similarity, in most cases, both funnels start simultaneously, at the same time.
The number of people decreases with each new stage
As the process continues, the number of people in the funnel begins to reduce.
- TOFU (Top of the Funnel) – The majority of them remain at the top of the funnel.
- MOFU (Middle of the Funnel) – In the middle part, they are considerably less.
- BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel) – Only a few people reach the funnel bottom and end up being converted into customers.
What are the differences between a sales funnel and a communication funnel?
So far, we’ve seen:
- In the first place, what a sales funnel is;
- Then, what a communication funnel represents;
- In the end, what these two funnels have in common.
Now, it’s time to focus on the differences between a sales funnel and a communication funnel.
However, before doing that, let’s not forget that both funnels start with the same phase (attraction).
When the attraction phase ends, the situation changes.
- As for the sales funnel, with each new phase, the visitors “go down”, towards the bottom of the funnel. Eventually, they end up being turned into customers.
- On the contrary, with each phase of the communication funnel, the readers “rise”. They go to a higher level.
In other words, when the first phase ends, the communication funnel rotates at an angle of 180 degrees.
It stops being a funnel and starts resembling a tower.
From a funnel to the tower: communication like the Babel
Speaking of the tower, I’m not referring to just any tower.
I’m speaking of the Tower of Babel (and marketing).
Namely, the myth of Babel relates that the people who survived the Great Flood inhabited the ancient city of Babylon and began to build the Tower of Babel. Their intention was to provide shelter in case of another flood.
According to the myth, all people on the Earth spoke the same language back then.
Since people were building a tower so high that it was threatening to reach heaven, God made them speak different languages. Thus, they abandoned construction.
The myth aimed to explain the origin of different languages, whereas the Tower of Babel stands as a symbol of human rebellion against God.
We should speak the “language” our audience speaks
The first reason why communication resembles the tower of Babel is the fact that, as the communication process progresses, we get to know better our audience.
Getting to know our public allows us to personalise our messages, increase their relevance, and adapt them to the audience’s needs.
- Content writing – The content focuses on informing and explaining terms and concepts that are of interest to a relatively broad audience.
- Copywriting – The compelling copy speaks to a narrower audience, the one that needs a solution to a specific problem (the goal is to highlight the benefits provided by the solution).
- UX writing – The UX copy converses with an even narrower audience, the one that decided to use a product or service to solve their problem (the goal is to enhance the user experience).
We should understand the “language” of our client
The second reason why communication resembles the tower of Babel is the fact that we should understand the language of our client to be able to build a successful project.
When I say we, I refer to:
- Professionals who communicate messages;
- Persons whose job consists of sales activities.
Needless to say, I don’t mean literary same language.
What I understand by “speaking the same language” is seeing the bigger picture and understanding our client’s:
- Business goals (business plan);
- Marketing goals (marketing plan);
- Particular goals (communication and sales goals).
Building the tower means to fight, not to rebel
In the end, the Tower of Babel doesn’t have to denote rebellion against God or another authority.
The Tower of Babel also represents aspiration, struggle, and energy we invest in the fulfilment of our goal.
Therein lies the third reason why communication resembles the Tower of Babel rather than a sales funnel.
The goal of communication is to assure that the audience gets the right messages delivered, regardless of whether we clinch the deal or not.
The funnel and the tower make the iceberg of marketing
To conclude the post, let’s see which are the main ideas related to the communication funnel:
- There are (at least) three similarities and three differences between a sales funnel and a communication tower.
- These two are not separate processes. On the contrary, they are connected and mutually dependent.
Therefore, we could conclude that both a sales funnel and a communication tower make a particular iceberg, the iceberg of marketing.
The sales funnel is its invisible part, while the communication tower is the visible one.
In other words, there is no communication without sales, just like there are no sales without communication.
And without sales and communication, there is no marketing.
A Writing-Friendly Question: How do you see communication, like a funnel or a tower?
My name is Stasa Durdic, and I’m a content writer. In other words, I work both on the visible and the invisible side of the iceberg of marketing. If you’re keen to know more about me, please read my story or visit my LinkedIn profile. On the other hand, in case you want to get in touch with me, I’ll be happy to offer you my help with content writing.
From NO to YES, there is only one CLICK. Please share this text.