The Y Funnel for Sales and Marketing

When talking about the sales and marketing process, the concept of a funnel often comes up:


For marketing, here’s the typical funnel:

  • Visitors
  • Leads
  • Marketing Qualified Leads
  • <hand off to sales>

For sales, here’s the typical funnel:

  • Sales Qualified Leads
  • Proposals / Opportunities
  • Closed Won / Deals

Only, this funnel — a path from marketing through to sales — is actually a Y shape where there are two branches that feed the traditional sales component of the funnel. If marketing is one branch, what’s the other branch? Answer: sales development.

Here’s the typical sales development funnel:

  • List of Target/Named Accounts
  • Conversations/Interest
  • Qualified Demo/Appointment
  • <hand off to sales>

So, think of it this way: marketing casts a wide net to see what it catches, sales development goes spear fishing after specific targets, and both help each other as well as feed the sales team. Instead of thinking about all the functional as a linear funnel, think about it as a Y funnel where marketing and sales development are separate branches that feed into sales.

What else? What are some more thoughts on the Y funnel for sales and marketing?

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