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If you work in marketing or sales, there is a fair chance at some point in your life you’ve woken with a jolt in the night, as you imagine the words “but we had enough leads in the funnel” leave your lips, as if someone else had shouted it. It’s a well-known nightmare, which tends to hit around the tenth week in a quarter and is most often caused by something called “Funnel Anxiety”.

The sales funnel is a well-worn description of the full sales and marketing process. The slowly narrowing pipe which depicts the different stages within the buying process from awareness through to purchase. Lots of leads go in the top and a percentage of those turn into customers at the bottom. Or at least, that’s the theory.

Making money out of supporting this process, particularly at the top of the funnel in the Awareness and Interest phases, has been turned into a fine art by a few of the biggest players. If funnel nurturing was compared to a game of darts, then Google would be Phil “The Power” Taylor, the 16 time World Darts Champion. Google’s ability to help businesses hit a bull’s-eye by repeating a small task with utmost precision, over and over again has earned it an undisputed position as the global champion.

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