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  • Simon Boardman

False Funnels & Fraudulent Forecasts - A Humorous Look at a Serious Situation

Updated: May 5, 2021

What Happens When Systems & Processes Become Self Perpetuating

We're all driven by numbers. Goals, quotas, conversions, ML's, MQLs, SQLs, SALs, ROI, TCO, etc. We've become conditioned to believe that if it's NOT measurable it's NOT meaningful. Company leadership, and even the Board want to know about more numbers further up the funnel than ever before demanding constant progress. But many of us live in a world where things just don't move that fast. This does not satisfy the appetite of those running companies on spread sheets in a world of increasing financial ambition.

Enlightened leaders are beginning to appreciate the role of behavioral phenomena. Psychological biases like the "paradox of confidence", and "the paradox of choice" can result in losing more deals to "No Decision, Inc". It could also be due to the dominance of self perpetuating models like the "funnel of fallacy". The "funnel of fallacy" is a satirical depiction of the modern sales waterfall, or funnel that is used in most B2B companies. But this comedy has a serious message warning of the dangers when strict adherence to tools and technologies replaces common sense. The "funnel of fallacy" is comprised of the following stages:

Stage (0) Passively Inert - This is the most challenging stage. Not only does the suspect “not know” that they don’t know who you are, but they actually “don’t know”, that they don’t know anything. They might be dead.

Stage (1) Passively Unaware - The Suspect doesn't know, that they don’t know who you are.

Stage (2) Actively Unaware - The Suspect has become aware that they don’t know who you are.

Stage (3) Passively Disinterested - The Suspects are aware that they don't know who you are but they don’t care.

Stage (4) Actively Disinterested - The Suspect knows that they are not interested and they don’t care that they are not interested either.

Stage (5) Aggressively - Disinterested The Suspect has indicated that they don’t care*

*The “suspect has taken action - You can now start using the word “prospect” rather than “suspect” implying that there has been progress in the pipeline. The only real progress is that the target, suspect, prospect, lead or whatever term you decide to use has acted – they have basically flipped you off…, but at least they have acknowledged your existence which represents progress.

So once you've stopped laughing (we hope), consider the possibility that you too might have manufactured stages, definitions and characteristics that are designed more to satisfy reporting obligations than provide a true reflection of the state of the business.

We sincerely hope you find this entertaining. We also hope it gives you reason to reflect.

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