This article was transcribed from an event talk from the Customer Marketing Summit in Las Vegas in 2022. You can find the full talk on our YouTube channel here. If you're interested in seeing talks like this in person, check out our event calendar here.

Hey there, I'm Eric Calderon, and I going to share my insights on building a blended lifecycle marketing strategy. If you've been in this field for a while, you know how quickly things change. 

Today, I want to dive into the sudden rise in hybrid B2B purchasing and offer some strategic best practices for implementing this approach in your own organization.

Before we jump in, let me give you a quick background on myself.

I've been in the management game for about eight years, with stints at various companies, including Atlassian and, most recently, Qualia. I've pretty much done it all, but when I joined Atlassian, I pivoted to customer lifecycle marketing – and I'm here to stay.

The rise of hybrid B2B purchasing

Let's start with the elephant in the room: why are we seeing such an increase in hybrid purchasing? 

Well, B2B buyers have been crystal clear about what they want, and it's a mix of both worlds. They expect self-service options and in-person interactions throughout their entire buyer's journey. It's not just about convenience; it's about personalization and flexibility.

But it's not just the buyers driving this change. Sellers are adapting, too. They're looking for more flexibility in how they work, and hybrid strategies offer just that. Plus, these approaches are more scalable and potentially more profitable for organizations.

Here's a stat that might blow your mind: according to McKinsey, hybrid selling is expected to be the most dominant sales strategy by 2024. 

And it's not just a trend – hybrid sales can drive up to 50% more revenue for organizations compared to traditional sales models. With numbers like that, it's no wonder that over 90% of enterprises plan to stick with the changes they made to their sales structure during the pandemic.

Understanding the flywheel effect

Now, let me introduce you to a concept that was our bread and butter at Atlassian: the flywheel effect. 

Picture this: a series of small wins that accumulate over time, creating momentum that continuously grows your business. 

That's the flywheel in a nutshell.

The flywheel has three main components: Attract, Engage, and Delight. Here's how it works:

  1. Attract: Draw customers to you with helpful content that's easy to discover. Think SEO, social media, targeted advertising, and events (both virtual and in-person).
  2. Engage: Make it easy for prospects to learn about your products on their own terms and ultimately purchase self-serve. This could involve nurture campaigns, free trials, and self-service purchase flows.
  3. Delight: Turn users into fans by making your product easy to use and acting on customer feedback. Remember, happy customers tell their friends!

The beauty of the flywheel is that it's all about removing friction and applying force to make that wheel spin faster. It's based on the idea that your customers are your best salespeople – if you make them happy, they'll spread the word.

Implementing a blended lifecycle marketing strategy

So, how do we take this flywheel concept and apply it to a blended lifecycle marketing strategy? At Atlassian, we came up with an approach we called "forking the funnel."

Essentially, we treated the early stages of the buyer's journey – from awareness to MQL – similarly for all prospects. We served the same content, segmented by product, use case, or persona. But here's where it gets interesting: at the point of conversion, we forked the funnel. Some prospects went down the self-serve route, while others were handed off to our sales team.

Let me break it down for you:

For the self-serve journey, we defined clear stages, goals, and key metrics. For example, in the 'Activate' stage, our goal was to get users to activate a key feature, and we measured things like feature adoption rates and conversion to the next stage.

On the high-touch side, we used many of the same metrics up to the MQL stage. The main differences were that we considered responses to sales outreach emails and Contact Us form submissions as MQLs. After that, prospects went through the traditional sales funnel.

The key takeaway here is that you can do both without disrupting the customer experience while optimizing and growing your business at scale.

Best practices for success

Now, let's talk about some best practices to make this blended approach work for you:

Know your customer intimately

This is my favorite quote from one of our former heads of product marketing: "Simple and all the customer and show them that them." What does that mean? Do the work to understand your customers on a very intimate level. Create clear, ideal customer profiles and well-defined personas for each journey.

Create a single source of truth for customer data

This one's crucial. At Atlassian, I was part of a project called "Project Fusion," where we centralized data from multiple acquired businesses. It was complex, but it showed me the importance of having a unified view of your customer.

Develop a robust reporting infrastructure

Once you have that data, create the reporting infrastructure to track, measure, and learn from your programs. This will help you scale effectively.

Personalize the customer experience

Use all that customer data to deliver personalized experiences throughout the buyer's journey. This includes tracking what customers do with your product and using that information to tell a compelling story.

Leverage an omnichannel ecosystem

At Atlassian, I worked with a wide range of channels, from email and in-product messaging to partnerships with support and sales teams. My advice? Start by unlocking your owned channels before expanding to paid media.

Key takeaways for customer marketing professionals

As we wrap up, I want to leave you with some key takeaways:

  1. Embrace self-service options: Let good products sell themselves. Remove barriers to information, be transparent about pricing, and create an Amazon-like purchase process.
  2. Price for volume and consistency: Keep your entry-level pricing low to reduce friction. The goal is to get users into your product with the confidence that they'll adopt it.
  3. Build a network of partners: At Atlassian, our indirect sales team accounted for a third of our revenue. That's a significant channel that becomes a self-sustaining flywheel.
  4. Foster community engagement: Provide online forums for users to ask questions and exchange tips. It's a low-cost way to keep people engaged and can even help with support requests.
  5. Avoid the "enterprise trap": Don't focus solely on big contracts at the expense of small customers. Remember, the flywheel is all about volume, consistency, and predictability.
  6. Continue to grow and diversify your products: Keep releasing great products that your customers are passionate about. If possible, open up your ecosystem to allow developers to create apps for you.


Building a blended lifecycle marketing strategy isn't just about combining self-serve and high-touch approaches. It's about creating a seamless, personalized experience for your customers while driving growth for your business. By embracing the flywheel concept and implementing these best practices, you can create a powerful engine for customer acquisition and retention.

As we close, I want to remind you of something I always have to remind myself: don't forget to land the jet. We often fly at such high altitudes and velocities that we forget to appreciate how far we've come. So, take a moment to celebrate your accomplishments and the amazing work you're doing in customer marketing.

Thank you for joining me through blended lifecycle marketing strategies. I hope you've found these insights valuable and applicable to your own work.