Hubspot for the past year or so have been raving about the new “Flywheel” which I have to admit is something a lot of marketers forget about. Our goal and how we’re measured as marketers is often based on new sign ups, new registrations and creating new business so we tend to focus on external targets:

  • How to reach new customers
  • How to get new users to the website
  • How to get them to register or become leads

The Flywheel to me is actually common sense and reflects an older style of marketing where you nurture your existing customers to become advocates and true fans to encourage organic growth and it does work. Some of my best leads have been through referrals so I can’t knock the system.

The break-though part hubspot has done is that they’ve developed a framework that makes it easier for people to see the value in the Flywheel. The Flywheel takes you through how your content, service, process, staff all tie together to create an experience worth talking about and use your greatest asset, your customers to drive and retain business.

The methodology sounds great but does it work, do we as marketers need to pay attention to the marketing FlyWheel and does it replace the marketing funnel.

The Marketing Funnel Vs The Fly Wheel

For me and my understanding of both they don’t replace one another, they work alongside each other.

How we use a funnel looks at the marketing message and mediums we’ll use to reach each persona and create engagement. The message and mediums change as the user makes their way down the funnel eventually leading to a sale and new customer.

What the Flywheel highlights is that we’ve put all this effort into attaining a new customer but we never look at how to retain that customer and delight them to the point that they get us new customers.

The flywheel however looks at your customer and ask you from a

Marketing Perspective:

  • what content are you using to attract them
  • what content are you using to retain them

Sales Perspective:

  • Are your sales reps trying to make a sale or are they trying to solve a problem

Customer Success Perspective:

  • Your after sale care, your service execution, your team, were they all beyond satisfactory

It’s quite clear to me that the sales funnel is only part of the over experience of the customer and while we as marketers spend a lot of time on the funnel we don’t look at the businesses best assets, the customers.

We need to spend time ensuring that sales are following through on the message from the advertising, the reason the person has signed up. We need to make sure that staff are following up on what sales said they’d do.

Marketing needs to follow up with the services team to see what else we can do for this customer and create a new campaign based on this.

That’s Not The Marketers Job

What HubSpot are saying is very true but I think they’ve missed a key part of their message. The Flywheel isn’t for a marketing team to push it’s for the owner or CEO to push.

It’s more of a business model strategy than a marketing tool

Having marketing staff go into this level of detail and start telling sales and customer service that they’re doing their job wrong is going to cause issues. Marketing can’t do that, that’s what you have to do as the business owner.

The Flywheel Vs The Business Model Canvas

For me the business model canvas by strategizer is probably the closest thing I’ve seen to the Flywheel. It looks at how your business makes money by having a unique value proposition.

It looks at how we attract customers as well as the sales process

  • Who your customers are (are you niche or mass market)
  • How you connect with your customers (self service or dedicated account manager)
  • How are we going to reach our customers (how do we make them aware and what’s the after sales strategy, how do customers physically purchase the service)

Then it looks at the service delivery 

  • Who are our partners (affiliates, consultants etc)
  • What are the key activities we need to do in order to deliver the service / product
  • What are the key resources we need to deliver that (people, machines etc)

The model then looks at your unique value proposition and goes on to get into how you make money from all these activities.

The output is very much focused on business activities, profitability and understanding how your business works.

The Flywheel doesn’t go into the level of detail that the business model is in terms of value proposition and cost structure. It looks at your business model from a customer perspective and reviews the touch point you have with a client.

The flywheel is how a customer perceives your business.

So What Is The FlyWheel?

The Flywheel is an entirely new way of looking at your business from your customers perspective.

It help you review how your strategy for

  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Customer Service

Tie together to ensure a seamless flow and delight the customer to the point that they’re referring to business.

It’s not a marketing tool but a business tool and something all stakeholders in the business should be looking at and discussing together.

How To Use The Flywheel

I think you’ve a good understanding of how the FlyWheel works but you might be asking yourself, how do you use it.

About a year ago I wrote a piece on how the marketing team and sales team often clash with different agendas and poor communication. – This is the problem the Flywheel solves!

Up until now a company’s marketing department will hand over a load of leads to sales. Sales will come back and say, a load of those leads are very low value, we want higher value clients.

The Flywheel helps connect marketing with sales.

The flywheel is the perfect opportunity to look at how your business operates and gives people an opportunity to discuss operations openly. How do different departments interact and how can you improve the transition of a customer or client from one department to the next so that your business works seamlessly.

As an example:

If a client downloads a whitepaper, marketing is marking that as a lead (someone who’s interested in your services) they could be a multimillionaire or a broke student doing some research. Marketing doesn’t know their profile but they’ve been included in the monthly lead count. 

Instead of sales looking at marketing and saying that’s not good enough, sales and marketing now need to have a discussion as to how do they get a lead to self qualify themselves as a prospect. What content do you need, what seamless action do you get the prospect to take, how can you make this whole thing easier and avoid “Friction”.

The same goes for when a lead is being passed from sales to service and again when the service passes the lead back to marketing.


As Hubspot describes it the more friction you have on your Flywheel the slower it turns. Having seamless transitions that put the client in control makes it easier on resources and easier on the client, eventually . . . Delighting them


The people that are delighted with your service the more stranges hear about your business, the more referral business starts pouring in through marketing and the flywheel gains “Force”

It’s a pretty simple concept but quite often we forget about these things and it can be very hard to see when the day t day running of the business gets in the way.

A Parting Word

The Funnel, Business Model Canvas and Flywheel are all separate tools that help your business grow. The three tools are inter-connected but ultimately independent of each other. It’s important to know what to use, when to use it and the value each can bring to your business

The Business Model Canvas – Helps you see how you make money and deliver your service

The Funnel – Helps your attract new customers
But the FlyWheel makes sure customers are delighted with their experience so much that they refer more business to you