Nearbound Weekend 12/16: Do We Have A New Funnel? 🎀

Nearbound Weekend 12/16: Do We Have A New Funnel? 🎀

Shawnie Hamer 5 min






Introducing the bowtie funnel


The traditional funnel has a heckuva lot of naysayers.


And for good reason, the traditional funnel isn’t realistic — the buyer’s journey doesn’t begin in a funnel or end when a buyer purchases.


There are some like Sangram Vajre (Co-Founder & CEO GTM Partners) who advocated for flipping the funnel and others like Allan Adler (Managing Partner at Digital Bridge Partners), Jared, and Isaac who’ve been ready to replace the entire visual (check out the Nearbound Podcast episode, F*** the Funnel).


Maybe the solution isn’t either flipping or forgetting the funnel. Maybe the solution is the bowtie funnel.


In today’s Daily, I’m going to explain what the bowtie funnel is, why it works, and how you can use it to level up your company’s partner strategies. Keep reading.



What is the bowtie funnel?


I was first introduced to the concept by Sam Jacobs (Founder & CEO at Pavilion) and Kathleen Booth (SVP of Marketing and Growth at Pavilion) at the Nearbound Summit. Then, Will Taylor mentioned it again during a Howdy Partners episode.

—Thanks y’all!


The bowtie funnel is a reimagination of the traditional funnel. This new funnel includes pre-purchase stages and post-sale stages of the customer journey.



Bow Tie Funnel

The bowtie is broken up into 4 phases on each side of the funnel.


On the left side, you have the traditional 4 stages of the funnel:

  1. Attract

  2. Nurture

  3. Convert

  4. Engage

On the right side, you have 4 new stages, the path to customer loyalty:

  1. Adopter

  2. Loyalist

  3. Advocate

  4. Brand Ambassador

What the bowtie funnel does well is recognize that:

there are many complexities in the end-to-end customer experience, from prospect to buyer and beyond. The bowtie funnel honors those complexities by getting down to the nuances of behavioral economics and creating strategic growth on the front end and sustainable loyalty on the back end.





Why it works

The path-to-loyalty is just as important, if not more important, than the path-to-purchase. Getting customers in the door is easy enough, but getting them to stay, tell their friends, and advocate for a brand is a different ball game.


Other than the obvious — retaining a customer is cheaper than acquiring one (check out this HubSpot article) there are two reasons the bowtie model especially works in the Era of the Ecosystem.


  1. Your customers are a part of your buyers’ 28 moments

    Your customers know each other. They run in the same ecosystems, frequent the same watering holes, and talk to each other. If you’re not building your customers up to be loyal advocates for your brand, you’re wasting opportunities to influence a part of your buyer’s 28 moments.


  2. Opportunities to drive revenue after a deal is won

    Customers who are not convinced of the value you’re creating for them will not renew, cannot be upsold, and will never want to establish a partnership with you.





How to use the bowtie funnel


Will Taylor (Head of Partnerships at and Tom Burgess dove into the partnership practicalities of the Bowtie Funnel in a recent episode of Howdy Partners.


They explained,

The bowtie is important because your customer is your boss and the bowtie is not just about pipeline generation or revenue generation, its about value generation across the customer lifecycle.

The bowtie funnel re-centers activities on the proper north star: the customer.

Will admitted,

We’ve worked with a good amount of partners and the bowtie funnel got me questioning, “Why are we working with, x, y, z partner? I don’t see them fitting into this customer value journey. I only see them fitting into this pipeline generation aspect of partnerships.”

As a partner pro, you can look at the bowtie model and not only see the customer value journey but also an overlay of partner opportunities.


So, depending on your company’s menu of activities, you can leverage partners to bring additional value to different parts of the funnel.


As Xiaofei Zhang (Head of Platform and Strategic Partnerships at ActiveCampaign) shared in a recent Firneo masterclass,

Partner value comes in many shapes and sizes. The value you provide a partner may look different than the value they provide you.

Here are some additional resources that might be useful if you want to dive in deeper:









Don’t wait for someone to become nearbound curious. Send them the NbD and speed up the process!

Shawnie Hamer 5 min

Nearbound Weekend 12/16: Do We Have A New Funnel? 🎀

Introducing the bow tie funnel

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