Tail of Two Funnels: The Converging Disciplines of Sales, Marketing and Recruiting

Every business has two funnels. Okay, some have more but we can think about in the most simple terms:

1. Core Business: Revenue, MAU, etc

2. Recruiting

The core business funnel, especially when we think about SaaS or other B2B companies, is very mature. There are many, high-quality tools in every category of the stack. There are tools that integrate tools without code. There are great CMS options and in my opinion the hub of it all, Salesforce, has just gotten better over time.

That's what I call the "First Funnel". It's where the money is. When someone talks about a break-out SaaS company, a lot of the time it is serving the Marketing or Sales organization in one way or another. And, that makes sense. A company, and especially a startup, is gauged by growth. People will pay a lot for growth.

What does Marketing and Sales look like today? Marketing is responsible for lead generation. They use a CRM to organize a set of leads or targets that are either bought (usually ppc ads or data vendors) or earned (usually through SEO/CMS) that are nurtured using email automation and re-targeted ad impressions. As the targeted buyer interacts with the marketing campaigns, the company ideally learns more about them. Once marketing knowed enough about a lead to qualify it (commonly with heuristics built into the CRM) it is passed to the Sales Development team as a MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead). The humans in Sales Development then focus on further qualification (sometimes with a phone or "qual" call) and if the customer is a fit they become a SQL (Sales Qualified Lead) and are passed to an experienced closer or Account Executive.

Each step in this process has its own connected tool. Data is passed effortlessly between each step. Each step is instrumented and monitored for efficacy. A great sales and marketing stack is a wonder to behold.

Recruiting is Sales and Marketing. What a sourcer does, referred to as "top-of-funnel" with in the discipline is what a marketer is responsible for in the first funnel: identifying lots of leads. Likewise, the Talent Partner (the recruiter working the process) is actually running a sales process - shepherding talent from lead to filled seat (or hire). Recruiting is Sales and Marketing - just 10 years behind technologically. What was once a very manual process - acquisition, nurturing and qualifying leads, is now automated in the Sales and Marketing departments. Think of it this way: Lead Acquisition = Sourcing. Nurturing = Email outbound. Qualifying = Recruiter Screening Call.

It's the same, just the tool set that Recruiting has is not yet mature nor fully integrated.

It's early days. The first CRMs (cringingly called "TRMs" or Talent Relationship Managers) are on the market (although I'll contest that I still think Salesforce is the way to go here).

Gem (formerly Zenreach) does email marketing.

Linkedin, Triplebyte are lead-gen data providers.

The next step is to tie it all together it one stack. That's when things will start to get interesting.

Trent Krupp

Co-Founder of ReelBank, connecting creators with the AI economy. Previously, Head of Product at Impact, a market network serving the entertainment industry as well as Head of Revenue at Triplebyte and Hired. Founded an agency in my 20's, sold it to Hired and became employee 5. Recruited for VCs, growth and public companies. Helped the founders of recruitment tech startups Shift.org, Trusted Health, Terminal and Beacon in the early days.