The sales process is a completely different experience these days and a hard sell rarely, if ever, works effectively. Moving prospects through the sales funnel requires a longer--but more effective--process, during which you must educate your customers and solve their problems. So, instead of viewing sales as a simple transaction, approach your marketing funnel activities in three stages. To ensure that your sales process is as successful as possible, pay attention to some common do's and don'ts for each of the three stages of your marketing funnel nurturing campaign.
Act One: TOFU (Top of Funnel)
- Cold call
- Send to your sales team
- Send sales offers
- Nurture rather than sell
- Continue to educate by regularly sending leading content
- Send third party content that supports your company
The TOFU is all about educating and providing value to your online prospects. In these days of consultative selling, nobody closes a large deal without providing value in the sales and marketing process. It's important to remember here that the value you provide should be in the form of thought leadership, tactical how-to’s or educational content, rather than special offers like free consultations. Sales calls should absolutely be avoided with TOFU prospects.
Regularly send resources and educational content created by your brand, as well as other third party organizations like industry associations and publications. This will foster trust and establish authority between your brand and your prospects.
Act Two: MOFU (Middle of Funnel)
- Send sales offers or cold call
- Send third party content, rather focus on content for your organization
- Progressively educate prospects about your company
- Connect with prospects on multiple social platforms
Creating a stronger bond with your prospects is the goal of MOFU content and interactions. This includes connecting and generating conversations on social media platforms, email, SMS/text or through dynamic on-page content. This engagement can be in the form of tweeting/retweeting content, direct messaging, tagging, adding to social network Groups or Circles and other ways of connecting through social media. Prospects that have a stronger bond and relationship with a company on social media will turn into extremely warm leads for your sales force once they reach the bottom of the funnel.
MOFU interactions are also important for educating prospects more about your brand and specific offering. Start with light messaging like thought leadership, then slowly transition to more brand-specific information. Educate these prospects on the "why" behind your brand's existence, and focus on creating fans of your brand rather than sales prospects in your MOFU interactions.
Act Three: BOFU (Bottom of Funnel)
- Funnel prospects here without an appropriate lead score
- Offer free consultation
- Send sales offers or a warm call
This area isn't for every prospect, so make sure that the prospect has truly earned the opportunity to receive BOFU content and attention. Has the prospect engaged with your brand through social media? Do your emails and offers regularly get opened and downloaded? Lead scoring is a great way to automate the decision-making process of moving prospects through the marketing funnel by setting values for these types of interactions. Only then will qualified prospects make it to the bottom of the funnel.
A consultative sales staff can further nurture the prospects that make it to this hot area of the marketing funnel. BOFU prospects are usually ready to convert, and have earned the opportunity to receive special offers like a free consultation or statement of work. Let your consultative sales staff shine and become an integral part of the BOFU interactions.
Navigate All Three Stages with Heart
The best leaders, in business and otherwise, truly consider performance and production when communicating with an audience. Take this seriously as a brand, and watch your following grow. And by approaching your marketing funnel in three stages, from top to bottom, you can educate, entertain, and solve problems for your prospects along the way.
Need help holding your marketing team accountable? Download an Internet Marketing Scorecard template to track progress, goal achievement, and ROI.