What is a Marketing Flywheel? Why It’s Better for B2Bs

inbound marketing

The concepts and applications within the digital marketing industry are ever-evolving. New tactics and methods for your digital marketing strategy to target potential customers are born every day, and it’s essential for business owners and marketing teams to embrace the ones that work. 

The problem is, you usually won’t know what works until you test it out. 

If you’re consistently looking for new marketing strategies to create awareness for your brand and drive traffic to your website, while creating a stellar customer journey, you have to try the marketing flywheel. 

When discussing the flywheel, momentum is the keyword, and this terrific marketing tactic will help you build it, especially if you’re running a business-to-business (B2B) campaign. 

Let’s talk about why.


What is the Marketing Flywheel?

We’ll begin with the basics. A flywheel is a heavy, mechanical wheel typically attached to a rotating shaft. The job of the flywheel is to smooth out the power delivery from a motor to a machine. You might find a flywheel on something like a large transport or semi-truck. 

However, the marketing flywheel is a bit different, built on the premise of serving your audience in a way that caters to them completely, focusing on customer-centric marketing.

The marketing flywheel asks that companies bring sales, customer success, and marketing together to build momentum with their target demographic. This unique marketing strategy focuses on word of mouth, a smooth buying process, and happy customers to gain repeat and new clientele. 

flywheel model

Flywheel Marketing and Your B2B Customers

Customers today are not the same as they were twenty, or even ten, years ago. Customers are more knowledgeable than they’ve ever been before, and the internet continues to give them unlimited access to that knowledge. Consumers are looking to shop with companies that care, they want to know your story, and above all, they want to know they matter to you.

Meeting even the highest consumer expectations signifies that your business has grown the right way. This type of growth aligns with what your target base needs the most, creating better relationships and unwavering customer loyalty. The flywheel is all about a fantastic customer experience.

The marketing flywheel operates on the same hypothesis that an actual, metal, working flywheel operates on: momentum. To correctly utilize the marketing flywheel, you’ll use the satisfaction of your happy client base as a velocity for driving word-of-mouth referrals, customer advocacy, and repeat sales. 

When the marketing flywheel is spinning, your revamped business strategy keeps rolling toward success. So, how do you implement the marketing flywheel to make it work for you on a B2B level?

The Flywheel Encourages Out-of-the-Box Thinking

In most cases, business-to-business clients have specific needs, and your sales and marketing teams should be well aware of those needs. You’ve done the market research, and you’ve built your marketing strategy, but it’s time to look at what’s working for you. If your sales are lagging, operating on the marketing flywheel can make drastic changes for the better. 

Thinking Differently

Viewing your business as a flywheel is the best place to begin improving your customer experience. When you restructure the vision you have for your business, you can make adjustments to your current marketing strategies and change the decisions you make entirely.

Thinking outside of the box is such a cliche way to put it, but it’s the best way to increase customer satisfaction and market your business to the people that want and need your services. The path to a solid marketing campaign isn’t always forward, there are plenty of twists and turns, and the flywheel is anything but the beaten path. 

In fact, flywheel marketing efforts are a breath of fresh air for consumers, and for that very reason, you’ll want to take advantage of it whenever possible. Phase one is changing your way of thinking and then putting the flywheel into action from there.

marketing team

Putting the Flywheel to Work

When it comes to flawlessly executing the marketing flywheel, you’ll want to take the following steps.

  1. Attract promoters, strangers, and prospects

  2. Engage prospects and customers

  3. Delight customers and promoters

At the center of your flywheel is the growth that will fuel your company forward. Now that you know the essential components of the flywheel, you can learn how to set those components in motion and gain the momentum to keep your marketing flywheel spinning. 

The Attract Phase

When your company is active in the attract phase of the flywheel, you’re putting out fantastic, relevant, and engaging content to earn, instead of force, attention. The attract phase lies entirely in digital marketing, so you’ll want to ensure that you’ve done market research and know your audience inside and out.

The attract phase consists of classic search engine optimization (SEO), targeted paid ads, social media and content marketing, conversion rate optimization, and ever-popular social selling. It’s likely that if you’ve ever done anything concerning your brand and marketing, you’ve utilized these techniques.

The Engage Phase

The engage phase makes it easy for consumers to purchase your products or services, allowing them to engage with you on the social channels they prefer. In this phase, you and your sales team must focus more on forming lasting relationships with your client base and simplifying the sales process and less on closing sales.

Nurturing the leads that have come in during the attract phase is vital in the engage phase. You might use marketing forces such as marketing automation, database segmentation, various communication channels, lead scoring, email personalization, and sales automation. A stellar way to engage with customers in this phase is to implement a try-before-you-buy program. 

The Delight Phase

Remember, your customers have goals, primarily in a B2B setting. In the delight phase of the marketing flywheel, your job is to empower your potential and loyal customers to reach those goals while on their buyer’s journey. Your knowledge base is everything here, so constant education for you and your team regarding your products, services, and customer base is crucial.

You can provide a chatbot for automated knowledge when your team is not reachable as an example of proactive and exceptional customer service. Consider implementing a loyalty program or ways for customers to provide you with valuable feedback. Placing importance on your clients helps retain them while attracting new through recommendations!

The delight phase is the time to let your customers know how much they matter to you, creating inevitable word-of-mouth marketing and keeping your proverbial flywheel moving. When you correctly use flywheel marketing, your customers are assisting in your growth more than they would (or could) in any other type of marketing. 

more customers

Eliminating Occurences of Friction

Things can get messy in most forms of marketing and traditional sales funnels. Correctly utilizing flywheel marketing eliminates (most) friction between your brand and your clients. While issues are bound to pop up on occasion, you can gain peace of mind knowing that you’re doing everything possible to solve pain points and keep your brand shining in a positive light.

In the traditional sales funnel model, consumers make their way from team to team, for example, customer service to sales. The constant shuffle creates a miserable experience, even if your client is satisfied with the end product. If the purchase process is complex, and if they feel overlooked through any of it, it’s not likely you’ll hear from that client again. 

With flywheel marketing, it’s the job of your entire team to ensure a positive customer venture. When you’re all on the same page, it’s almost impossible to create confusion for your clients. When B2B teams come together with flywheel marketing and Inbound Methodology, the marketing tables turn in your favor.

The Basics of Inbound Methodology

Initially pioneered by Hubspot, Inbound Methodology is a marketing strategy that will work well for all businesses, regardless of niche. Inbound Methodology encompasses the marketing flywheel by attracting, engaging, converting, and delighting consumers.

You could view Inbound Methodology as a slightly outdated version of the marketing flywheel, but essentially, it’s the foundation. Inbound Methodology is a growth strategy that helps companies build lasting and meaningful relationships with their clients. Like the flywheel, it’s all about showing consumers how much you value during the sales process while empowering them along the way.

Maintaining Flywheel Momentum

It’s all about maintaining momentum when it comes to the marketing flywheel. When you have a marketing strategy based on energy, everything depends on how fast you spin it, how much friction you encounter, and the size of your flywheel.

You can adjust your current business philosophies and marketing strategies to address each component necessary to keep the flywheel spinning and mitigate potential friction. However, it’s crucial to add size and speed to the areas that positively impact your customers and their customer journey. 

Adding Size

Focus on the forces that will keep your flywheel in motion. These forces will be different for every business, so evaluate what’s working for your company and expand on those areas. This expansion could mean amping up customer service efforts, focusing on inbound marketing, or launching a customer referral or loyalty program. 

The pieces of your brand that make your customers come back are the parts you want to expand on. If we’ve learned anything from the explosion of consumers turning to user reviews for advice, it’s that people love to share their purchase successes and failures with others. When you give your customer a positive experience, they will pass the information along.

Limiting Friction

Applying force and increasing size means intervening on possible friction. As you probably know, friction in any instance slows things down, and the business world is no exception. Conflict within a flywheel often stems from easily fixable issues like poor customer service or team communication. 

The reduction of friction is crucial to making the marketing flywheel work. If your company experiences quite a bit of conflict, then it’s time to take this opportunity to figure out what isn’t working. Please take a good look at where your customers are getting stuck within their journey because you’ll uncover so many answers about your company’s success, or lack thereof. 

Implementing the marketing flywheel can change your marketing funnel and the way you do business, which alone is one of its many benefits. Customer friction often comes from the inability of your clients to connect with you easily. 

Decreasing friction means increasing speed, so limit as much friction as possible. When customers have a great experience, they essentially become promoters of your business through customer testimonials and shared experiences, and any promotion is a force that spins your flywheel. A well-working flywheel will always result in repeat sales.

sales funnel

Choosing the Flywheel Over a Traditional Sales Funnel

 It can be highly challenging to gravitate away from using a traditional sales funnel to handle your customer journey. After all, the sales funnel has worked for millions of companies for years, so why take the chance to gravitate away from it?

In reality, there is no greater driver of sales today than word-of-mouth, and your run-of-the-mill sales funnel doesn’t influence customers the way you can when using the marketing flywheel successfully. The sales funnel is not well-known for putting your customer first and instead treats them as an afterthought. 

Customers are anything but an afterthought, and they are the force behind your business and the reason you exist in that business today. We touched briefly on the power of the customer review earlier, and we’ll stress it again here, positive customer referrals and reviews are the best forms of marketing your company will ever achieve. 

The sales funnel doesn’t allow for a seamless experience, and there’s too much room for teams to become misaligned and the potential customer to become lost in the shuffle. Instead of implementing the best marketing and customer support practices, funnels tend to support your business first and the customer later. 

Flywheel Marketing Asks for Unification

The flywheel encourages unification among teams and departments instead of each running as its own entity. It stresses how the actions of one of your internal teams affect every other team you have. 

The way your company conducts sales determines how happy your clients will be with the purchasing process. In contrast, your customer service and support dedication will determine whether those customers will become promotors. You cannot have these teams work separately, or there is no way to handle possible friction without placing too much responsibility on the customer. 

The marketing flywheel model asks for teamwork within a business. If there’s one thing your customers want, other than a high-quality product or service, it is for your entire team to be on the same page. There’s no room for vague answers or inconsistent marketing. The flywheel demands consistency for momentum, and it’s a fantastic way to get any business on the right track.

The B2B Purchase Process

Today, B2B purchases rarely come in the form of identifying with marketing materials. Instead, B2B consumers are looking for the reviews of past customers to determine if a business has what they want on a product and customer service level. 

Consumers, in general, rely more on what their friends and family recommend than the video you’ve made for your marketing campaign. They know that you think your services are fantastic, but it’s up to you to ask them for the chance to prove it, and this is where things get difficult without the marketing flywheel.

The funnel is excellent for learning about products, including what they do and how they fit into consumers’ daily lives. For years, marketing tactics worked where it was the consumer’s job to reach out to brands to ask more about their products. If the sales pitch went well, you’d have a new customer.

Marketing today could not be more different. Consumers make decisions in a completely different way, taking to the knowledge of their personal and virtual networks for advice. Third-party review sites and social media channels run rampant with written and video review content. To think that your potential B2B customers are not scouring those avenues for more information on your product would be misguided at best. 

social media marketing

The Comprehensive Marketing Flywheel

The marketing flywheel supplies a comprehensive view of what your business is good at and areas where it can grow. When you utilize the marketing flywheel, you’ll mentally grasp which actions to take to improve your sales processes. 

Switching from the straightforward funnel, which will likely always exist in your business in some way or another (and that’s okay) to the marketing flywheel, will take some time. It’s all about becoming as customer-friendly as possible and allowing those customers to drive growth. 

To use the flywheel mentality correctly, you have to kill the friction. When you understand what isn’t working, you can make it work. Allow your clients to connect with you right away and place them at the center of your business. 

Never fail to let them know how much they matter to you, and take the time to get to know them. Interact with your target audience the way they want you to interact with them, whether through ad engagements or direct messaging. To succeed in business, you have to place customers above deals. 

Dishonesty and complex website or social channel navigation will cause consumers to ditch your brand faster than you could ever imagine. A transparent process where your customer leads the way is exactly where you want to stand. These standards aren’t typically achieved overnight, but with some restructuring and implementation of the marketing flywheel mentality, you’ll get there sooner than you might think. 

Learn More » The Ultimate Guide to Demand Generation: Boosting Your Business Growth

Picture of Bryan Philips
Bryan Philips
I'm Bryan Philips from In Motion Marketing, where we turn B2B marketing challenges into growth opportunities. I create marketing strategies and deliver clear messaging, working closely with CEOs, marketers, and entrepreneurs. We're known for our precision in messaging, creating impactful demand generation, and producing content that drives conversions, all tailored to each client's unique needs.
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