Explaining The Sales & Marketing Flywheel

Learn about the sales and marketing flywheel and get actionable tips to boost momentum and revenue.


Too often, companies treat sales and marketing separately, leading to disjointed efforts and wasted resources. The flywheel approach changes that by creating a continuous loop of attraction, engagement, and delight.

New leads then become customers, and the cycle continues. It's like a well-oiled machine that keeps spinning, generating more and more momentum for your business.

However, how can you make it work? We’ll explain the flywheel's components and share practical tips on how to use it. You'll learn how to harness this model's power to grow your business and keep customers coming back consistently.

What’s the Flywheel?

Serious businesswoman wondering what’s the flywheel? Explaining The Sales & Marketing Flywheel

James Watt invented the flywheel over 200 years ago as an incredibly energy-efficient wheel design. Translating this to the business world, the flywheel model prioritizes turning your customers into advocates who actively help drive referrals and repeat sales.

Imagine your business is like a big spinning wheel. The goal is to get that wheel spinning faster and faster, building up tons of momentum. That's where the sales and marketing flywheel comes in.

The flywheel is all about creating a continuous loop of great customer experiences. It starts with using various marketing tactics to attract new leads.

Once someone becomes a customer, you focus on nurturing that relationship and delighting through top-notch service. Those happy, satisfied customers start becoming advocates for your business. 

Their referrals turn into new leads that flow back into the top of the flywheel, starting the cycle all over again. The more you delight customers, the more momentum you build and the faster that flywheel spins.

Flywheel vs Funnel: What’s the Difference?

The sales funnel is like a horse-drawn carriage—it ignores how customers can help drive growth, and the process eventually ends. Plus, it fails to address the friction points that can slow down or derail the journey.

On the other hand, the flywheel is more like a modern car. It recognizes that customers can sell on your behalf, helping to perpetuate the cycle and encourage growth. Focusing on removing friction keeps the flywheel’s momentum flowing.

The shift to the flywheel happened as buyers gained more information and relied less on salespeople to educate them. 96% of today’s prospects research products independently before engaging with a sales rep.

They also rely more on reviews, referrals, and their own research to make purchasing decisions. The flywheel model is designed to thrive in this new landscape.

3 Benefits of Flywheels

The sales and marketing flywheel can deliver real, tangible benefits for your business. Let's dive into three advantages of adopting this strategic approach.

1. Focused on Turning Customers into Advocates

Customer advocate smiling at her phone, Explaining The Sales & Marketing Flywheel

When you center your strategy around the flywheel, your decisions and priorities change. You're no longer solely focused on acquiring new leads—you're also dedicated to delighting your customers and turning them into brand champions.

Passionate advocates are especially helpful for growing businesses. According to Social Media Today, 60% of B2B marketers report that referrals drive a high volume of new prospects.

That's because people trust recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues way more than they trust traditional advertising. If someone they know and respect vouches for your product or service, they're much more likely to give you a try.

Referral customers also tend to have 37% higher retention rates than other customers. They’re more engaged, loyal, and likely to stick around.

Happy advocates also praise you on social media, write glowing online reviews, and actively promote your brand. Word-of-mouth marketing is worth its weight in gold.

2. A Competitive Advantage

The flywheel offers two competitive advantages. First, it supports efficient growth because we're not the only ones helping our business expand—our customers are also actively contributing to that growth, too.

Secondly, delivering a best-in-class customer experience becomes a major differentiator. The "best product" doesn't always win anymore—the company that provides the optimal customer journey often comes out on top. 

3. A Differentiator in Itself

Many of the most successful companies of the past two decades, from Purple to Warby Parker, have used the flywheel model as a core part of their strategy. What do they all have in common? 

They've removed the friction in the buying process and put the customer experience first.

For example, let's look at Warby Parker. They've built their entire business model around creating a smooth, seamless customer experience. 

Traditionally, when you need a new pair of glasses, the process involves going to an optical store, dealing with salespeople, and maybe even going back and forth a few times to get the right fit and style.

However, Warby Parker made it easy to browse and select frames online with a virtual try-on feature. They also offered free shipping, so if you found a pair you loved, you could keep them.

Removing the friction from the buying process made them an integral part of their customers' daily routines. Suddenly, getting a new pair of glasses became a seamless, convenient experience that fit easily into people's lives. 

The Sales & Marketing Flywheel

Sales and marketing teams discussing the flywheel, Explaining The Sales & Marketing Flywheel

The sales and marketing flywheel is a continuous cycle that drives sustainable business growth. Let's walk through each step of this flywheel in detail:


It starts with generating high-quality leads. These are people who have shown genuine interest in what you offer. They could come from different marketing activities, like creating helpful blog content, running targeted ad campaigns, or getting referrals from happy customers.

Let's say you're a SaaS company that helps small businesses manage their finances. Your marketing team might create an ebook on your niche topic and promote it through social media. 

The people who download that ebook become your leads since they've expressed an interest in your expertise.

Initiate Contact

Once you've identified promising leads, the next step is initiating contact. Your sales team starts building relationships and learning more about the prospect's needs and challenges.

They'll learn more about the prospect's specific needs and challenges, laying the groundwork for a tailored pitch.

Imagine one of your sales reps connects with a lead on LinkedIn. They introduce themselves, ask a few questions to understand the prospect's pain points, and offer to hop on a quick call to discuss how your software could help.


Not every lead will be a perfect fit—and that's okay. Your sales reps should dig deeper to determine which prospects will most likely become paying customers. This qualification process focuses your efforts where they'll have the biggest impact.

Let's say after that initial call, your sales rep realizes the prospect's business is too small to benefit from your solution’s full suite of features. Rather than waste time pursuing them, the rep can politely disengage and move on to more promising leads.


Armed with a clear understanding of the prospect's unique requirements, your sales team can craft a targeted sales pitch demonstrating exactly how your product or service can solve their problems. You should get them genuinely excited about working with you.

For example, your sales rep has qualified a lead from a medium-sized law firm. 

They tailor their pitch to highlight how your invoicing automation, expense tracking, and tax filing features would save the firm's finance team time and headaches. The prospect sees the clear value and is eager to move forward.

Sales Stages and Close

Your sales team's expertise, relationship-building skills, and ability to overcome objections really come into play when guiding that prospect through the final stages of the sales process and closing the deal. 

Let's say there's one last hurdle. The prospect is concerned about the learning curve for your software. Your sales rep reassures them by walking through the step-by-step onboarding process and highlighting the dedicated support they'll receive. 

The prospect happily signs on the dotted line with that final objection addressed.

Nurture & Delight

Happy and delighted customer, Explaining The Sales & Marketing Flywheel

However, the flywheel doesn't stop there. Once someone becomes a customer, your focus shifts to nurturing that relationship and delivering an exceptional experience at every touchpoint. 

This might involve onboarding assistance, ongoing educational resources, personalized communications, and more.

For example, your customer success team might reach out a week after the law firm signs up to ensure they've completed the onboarding steps. 

They'll offer tips and tricks to help the team get the most out of the software. This goes a long way in keeping customers happy and engaged.

Generate Referrals & Word-of-Mouth

When you've created a truly exceptional customer experience, those happy clients become your best advocates. They'll start referring new businesses and spreading positive word-of-mouth about your brand. 

This feeds right back into the top of the flywheel, generating new high-quality leads.

For instance, one of your customers raves about your software to a friend who owns a small accounting practice. That friend checks out your website, likes what they see, and becomes a new lead—all because of your existing customer's exceptional experience.

The cycle continues, building momentum and compounding your growth with each turn of the flywheel.

8 Tips to Implement the Flywheel

Implementing the sales and marketing flywheel in your business can initially seem daunting. However, by focusing on a few principles, you can harness the power of this approach to drive sustainable growth. Here are eight practical tips to help you get started:

1. Build a Central Customer Data Hub

The flywheel relies on a smooth and consistent customer experience. To make that a reality, you need a central source of truth that gives all your teams quick access to up-to-date customer information, whether in your CRM, marketing automation platform or elsewhere.

All your teams (sales, marketing, customer success, etc.) should have quick, up-to-date access to a unified data source.

Let's say a customer asks your sales team a question. If that sales rep can instantly pull up the customer's full history, previous interactions, purchases, and support tickets, they'll provide a more personalized, helpful experience.

This centralized hub also makes it easier to track the entire customer journey, spot opportunities for upsells/cross-sells and identify areas for improvement. The more you can unify your customer data, the more seamless and effective your flywheel will become.

2. Enable Frictionless Handoffs

As important as having a central data hub is ensuring smooth transitions between your different customer-facing teams. Sales reps should easily pass qualified leads to the marketing team for nurturing.

Eliminating internal silos maintains a friction-free experience for the customer. One way to do this is by establishing clear communication guidelines and joint KPIs between teams. 

You might also invest in collaboration tools that make sharing customer context and coordinating follow-ups easy.

3. Minimize Friction in the Buying Process

Reducing friction in the buying process is a cornerstone of the flywheel model. After all, one of the benefits is making it easy for customers to do business with you. That means eliminating any unnecessary steps or hassles.

First, look at your entire purchase funnel through the customer's lens. Are there any points where they might get frustrated or confused? Can you streamline the number of form fields, eliminate redundant information requests, or simplify the checkout flow?

Even small changes can make a big difference. The less friction you can build into the buying experience, the more likely customers will be to complete a purchase and the more likely they'll become advocates.

4. Incentivize and Facilitate Word-of-Mouth

Woman with megaphone doing word-of-mouth marketing, Explaining The Sales & Marketing Flywheel

Happy, satisfied customers are the fuel that keeps the flywheel spinning. So, make it easy for them to spread the word about your business and refer new leads.

You could set up a formal referral program with incentives like discounts or gift cards. It can also be as simple as providing shareable content and assets that customers can use to sing your praises on social media or in their own networks.

Actively encourage word-of-mouth. Make it a rewarding experience for customers to refer new business. You can also recognize and celebrate those who do with special perks or VIP treatment.

5. Implement Timely, Relevant Engagement

You can also use data-driven triggers to deliver personalized, high-value customer outreach at the right moments. This could include onboarding sequences, product education campaigns, upsell/cross-sell initiatives, and more.

For example, you might use purchase history to prompt recommendations for complementary products. Aligning your outreach with the customer's needs and lifecycle stage creates a sense of usefulness and relevance. 

It builds trust, strengthens relationships, and makes customers more likely to continue engaging with your brand. It also keeps customers actively involved and enthusiastic about your offerings.

6. Support Customers on Their Preferred Channels

It's not enough to simply offer support. You should make it available on the channels that your customers prefer.

This could mean having a self-service knowledge base for those who want to troubleshoot independently. It might also involve 24/7 chatbot support for quick questions.

Give customers the flexibility to get the help they need when and how they want it. Maybe one client prefers to resolve issues over a quick phone call, while another wants to open a support ticket and receive a detailed email response. 

Meeting those individual preferences helps to create a positive customer experience.

7. Prioritize Accessibility and Intuitive Design

Ensure your website, apps, and other customer touchpoints are easy to navigate and fully accessible. Reduce friction at every turn.

That means considering factors like:

  • Clear, logical navigation
  • Responsive, mobile-friendly layouts
  • Accessible features for users with disabilities
  • Minimalist, distraction-free designs
  • Seamless integration between different touchpoints

When you get these elements right, you create a sense of ease and delight that keeps customers engaged and returning. Little things like a well-organized FAQ section or a one-click checkout process can make a big difference in the flywheel.

8. Optimize for Discoverability

Make it simple for new potential customers to find your business through SEO, targeted ads, strategic partnerships, or other channels.

The final piece of the flywheel puzzle is making it easy for new potential customers to find your business in the first place. After all, you can't create advocates if you aren't attracting the right leads to begin with.

This is where search engine optimization (SEO), paid advertising, strategic partnerships, and other discoverability tactics come into play. You want to ensure the people most likely to benefit from your offerings can easily find them.

For example, you might invest in SEO to rank highly for industry words. You could leverage influencer marketing to tap into new audiences. Even something as simple as having a strong presence on review sites can go a long way toward making your business more discoverable.

Bringing It All Together

Implementing the sales and marketing flywheel isn't a one-and-done affair - it's an ongoing process of optimization and refinement. But by focusing on the principles we've outlined, you can start to build and maintain the momentum that drives sustainable, profitable growth.

Remember, the flywheel creates a virtuous cycle where satisfied customers become passionate advocates, fueling new leads and repeat business. It's a model that puts the customer experience front and center, removing friction at every stage.

So keep experimenting, iterating, and, most importantly, keeping your customers at the heart of everything you do. With the flywheel as your guiding framework, your business's potential is limitless.

Want More Expert Insights?

If you found this introduction to the sales and marketing flywheel useful, check out the other expert resources in the Lunas blog. Our team of marketing and growth leaders is always sharing practical tips, case studies, and strategic advice to help businesses like yours succeed.

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