Now more than ever, as organisations large and small grapple with the repercussions of the pandemic and economic recession, the pressure is on to boost sales leads and new business activity. As a marketer, this means the bulk of your budget, time and effort goes into the top of the funnel (TOFU).
While focusing on TOFU activity, such as lead generation campaigns, awareness and net new are important, the fact remains that 80% of marketing leads are still rejected by sales, resulting in an obscene waste of time and budget.
With so many leads getting lost through the funnel, it begs the question: why are marketers staying at the top and not spending more of their time and precious budget optimising for better results, which are often found further down the funnel, in the middle (MOFU).
Why middle of the funnel (MOFU) pays off
More bang for your buck
With budgets overweighted in top of funnel activity, the priority must be to realise the full value from that investment. And the best way to do this is to critique the middle of the funnel — plug leaks and nurture warm leads — to make sure those valuable TOFU dollars are returned in converted sales.
A heavy focus on filling the funnel with net new, means it’s not long before markets are saturated with sales offers. This is especially true for those in niche sectors or B2Bs intent on targeting the C-suite. The smaller your audience, the faster you (and others in your category) will inundate that market. Of course, there are ways to cut through that clutter, but that’s another topic for another day.
By focusing on the middle of the funnel or MOFU, you can start to drive stronger ROI by fuelling leads through the funnel. Even a small incremental increase in the conversion rate could net big results.
This requires stronger mid-funnel or consideration content which builds trust. It might mean:
- A more personalised nurture journey across multiple touch points, to make it easy for your audience to engage.
- An integrated sales enablement plan, to ensure sales and marketing are singing from the same hymn sheet, building confidence and consistency with the audience to move them down the funnel.
- Or a combination of all these initiatives – either way, improving mid funnel conversion will drive stronger ROI.
A warmer reception
People often liken sales to the dating game, but the funnel isn’t the place to play hard to get. Be attentive, consistent and patient.
If people made it into your funnel, they were likely once interested in what you had to offer. So, in many ways, you’ve already passed the biggest hurdle. The challenge now is to convert that interest into action.
For many, the customer journey can be a long and winding road so you need to do a little more than tempt them into the funnel and hope they’ll make their way out the bottom. Once they’re in, it’s incumbent on marketers to help propel them through the funnel by taking cues from their behaviour. eg. The content they were interested in, the links they clicked, the pages or ads they consumed. Develop the journey from there to build interest and credibility, until they’re warmed up and ready to pass along to sales for final qualification and conversion.
Keeping Sales on side
Like all good co-dependant relationships there is a finely balanced tension between sales and marketing. Sales get frustrated when poor leads are pushed their way, and marketing are annoyed when sales don’t take their leads seriously enough to spend the time developing them.
Focusing on mid-funnel means the time is taken to ensure lead nurturing is done well. Marketing does its job in creating sufficient interest and credibility. Perhaps you’ve also been able to identify the most relevant need or solution, based on the behaviour of the lead or the content they’ve consumed. All of this is valuable information that sales can use to guide how they engage and the key points they press on.
By working hard in the middle of the funnel, marketers can hand over better quality leads to sales, and sales can make best use of the additional data to improve their pitch and conversion rates.
Optimising at every point means reducing pressure at the top of funnel (the most expensive part of the customer journey) and generating a better result at the bottom. It’s a more sensible and sustainable approach. Focusing on MOFU enables you to build a full-funnel plan and confidence across the entire customer journey to predict the likely conversion at each point, and the cost of that conversion.
Better utilisation and effectiveness through the funnel means every dollar is working harder – marketing can demonstrate success and sales can deliver. This gives you more budget and business support to invest in other longer-term initiatives, such as brand – driving growth across every corner of the marketing landscape.
*MoFu (middle-of-funnel) is where the marketer positions their company as the best provider of a product to suit the customer's needs. This point may include targeted offers and content, such as podcasts, comparison charts and webinars.
*TOFU content should focus on common issues that your persona faces. This content is purely educational and centres around helping your target audience — without explicitly promoting your own business.