It's Time to Replace Your Funnel with a Flywheel

4 min read
17-Sep-2019 12:48:00 PM

The sales funnel is like a 2D version of customer care. It allows customers to enter the funnel and exit at the end of the sale, but it is very linear and flat. Once the customer has paid, they are left alone. A flywheel still collects prospects with the intent of selling to them, but the intent does not end at the sale. Instead, the flywheel builds momentum from sales and continues to foster relationships, encourage repeat sales and encourages customer referrals.

Here’s why it’s time to replace your funnel with a flywheel.

Integrating Your Flywheel with Inbound Methodology

The flywheel is a circle capable of endless growth. In its origin, the flywheel gains momentum when faced with force. The more force, the more it spins, allowing it to eventually spin on its own.

Inbound methodology using a flywheel switches your focus to attracting, engaging, and delighting customers. You can continue to generate repeat sales and attract new customers. Your priority is always on your customers so you can align your teams to embrace your new methodology. Your goal is to reduce friction to continue an ongoing customer journey.

The flywheel offers a huge benefit for your team because you retain your current customers by keeping them happy. They in turn help you attract new customers because their happiness gets them talking about you.

Seamless Hand Off

The flywheel remains fluid, as it is constantly spinning, unlike a funnel that comes to an end. Its design allows for easy handoff between teams. There is no longer a resentful, unclear sharing of roles. Instead, customer service, marketing and sales work together to greatly improve the customer experience. Each has its own force applied to keep the wheel spinning.

Everyone is responsible for the ongoing spinning action creating a holistic experience that continues to evolve. Each person that interacts with your business will have an experience designed to grow relationships regardless of their intent.

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Force and Friction

With so many players involved in your customer experience, you want to allow each player to contribute to the momentum of your flywheel. Marketing, sales and customer service each have their own impact. You can use the flywheel to use the energy contributed by each department to create happy customers.

For success, you have to understand what positively affects the flywheel and what can drag it down.


By applying the right amount of force, you can keep the wheel spinning. Instead of stopping force just because you have a sale, the flywheel allows you to continue to apply force designed to keep customers happy.

The key is to make sure the force applied by each department does not cause opposition. The opposition of efforts can have the opposite effect and cause friction. Alignment between departments avoids friction.


Because friction slows the wheel down, you have to reduce it. Identify opportunities to improve efficiency at the place’s customer nurturing tends to lose momentum. Maybe you are showing the wrong info when they return to your site, or when you send them follow up emails. 

If so, focus on personalization to delight your customers. You might find your customer sales team is not responding as quickly once the sale is complete. They have to remain committed to customers or your customer service team needs to be prepared to take over. Smooth transitions are critical as when you work in silos you create friction.

Increase Speed, Decrease Friction

When you decrease friction, you increase speed, which makes for happier customers. Your goal is to develop stickiness, so clients want to use more of your products. This increases momentum and should also increase growth. Because people today look for reviews and depend on word of mouth before purchases, the happier your customers, the more chance others will hear about you.

Mentions through online channels, reviews and third-party recommendations all help you gain momentum. Your marketing funnel doesn’t allow you to gain momentum as it fizzles out once the customer makes a single purchase. When you continue to provide an outstanding customer experience you gain from their positive experience.

Keep it Spinning

You need to keep your flywheel spinning with the goal to:

  • Attract: Show off your expertise with things such as content and social media conversations to build long lasting relationships with your ideal customer.
  • Engage: Build lasting relationships by continuing to share relevant insights and solutions that allow them to avoid pain points and meet their goals.
  • Delight: Customers are delighted when they have outstanding experiences that allow them to meet their goals. This encourages promotion for your company through reviews, word of mouth, social shares, etc.  

When you do this well all your departments work in a streamlined manner removing friction. Your flywheel spins quickly and everything works seamlessly with your inbound methodology. Everything you do to delight customers comes back up to the attract stage as happy customers will attract new prospects.  

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HubSpot’s Flywheel

HubSpot was a long-time supporter of the sales funnel. However, all that changed when they heard more and more about the flywheel. Although it took them years to make the transition, they decided it was worth the effort. In fact, according to Jon Dick, VP of Marketing at HubSpot, they continue to adapt their methods to make their business more flywheel friendly. To them flywheel friendly equals customer friendly.

HubSpot views the flywheel as a circular process that feeds growth. They’ve taken the time to increase customer marketing, customer advocacy, and “delightful” onboarding for their new customers.

Their new integrations ecosystem is designed to assist customers so they can work more with HubSpot. They provide value for their customers, so they are inclined to use their software suite.  

HubSpot could see that because friction kills flywheels, they had to invest in superior software to create an entry point for customers. This reduced friction by helping prospects today instead of making them wait. They solve problems whether it’s with immediate service or easily accessible education.

The bottom line is poor customer service kills growth.

Better Growth

By interacting with customers in the manner they expect and at the time they need it most you are better prepared for growing your business. You will meet their needs as they change, encouraging them to discover what your company offers. When you make your customers the true focus of your business, you show them you value them, not just their money.

Your flywheel empowers your departments to grow better. You can apply force to your strong areas to continue to gain momentum. Then, you can eliminate friction by removing all the potential negative aspects of service that can impact customers. HubSpot has quickly become the experts trusted to help businesses of all sizes ditch their funnels in favor of the flywheel. It’s probably high time you replace your funnel, too. 

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