Improving your sales processes, while it does require more leads at the top of funnel (also called TOFU by us marketers), also requires the right leads at that start of your sales funnel. In other words, it’s all about quality and quantity. And while you might think it’s difficult to qualify leads right from the start, it’s absolutely possible.
First, Understand the Funnel
There’s a reason the sales journey has been likened to a funnel. It starts out wide, with lots of leads pouring in from different channels. Then, it narrows as you move down the pipeline toward a sale. Many of the people who initially fell into the funnel may drop out because your product isn’t right for them, or because they’re not ready to buy.
By the time you get to that closed sale, you have a lot fewer folks at the BoFu (bottom of funnel). That’s the natural process, but that funnel doesn’t have to narrow as much as you’d think.
Now, Work on Widening the Funnel
Let’s compare two vastly different sales strategies.
- Buys email lists to create the widest TOFU possible
- Quickly whittles funnel down to a fraction of the TOFU size
- Sales equal about .5% of that initial TOFU list
- Focuses on targeted offers at TOFU
- Continues to segment as leads move down funnel
- Sales equal 20% of initial TOFU list
These scenarios were created to prove a point, but they’re based on realistic situations. A lot of salespeople simply aim for creating the widest TOFU possible, when instead they should be targeting those leads from the start.
Get Cooking with TOFU
It’s so simple, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it sooner. Create really specific offers and value-adds to attract qualified leads, and you’ll end up with a thicker funnel and more sales.
Start by sprinkling in targeted blog content that addresses specific problems or questions your target audience has at the learning stage. After all, your audience is researching solutions when they enter your funnel. Add a dash of email subscriptionsby offering a free whitepaper that go a little more in-depth on those same questions your leads have. Then throw in a handful of targeted landing pages to ensure that your SEO drives the right people to each page rather than to your generic home page.
The Secret to Tasty TOFU
Now that you’ve got the concept of TOFU down, let’s look at some real-world practices you can take on to improve your sales funnel.
- Ask the right questions. I encourage my clients that are having trouble coming up with TOFU content to ask their marketing, sales, customer service, accounting, and other departments to write down 25, 50, or even 100 questions they are frequently asked by prospects and customers.
- Understand the buying process. If you know what questions prospects ask at each stage in that process, you can then write content to answer those questions.
- Help them through the process. Also, write content to help your buyers through the process. For example, you could include a checklist of questions to ask vendors, or a template that lists requirements they can then use.
The goal here is to really understand what your audience wants, and not just guess at it.
As your leads slide down the funnel, you can segment them based on behaviors. Perhaps anyone who signed up for your webinar gets put into a specific email list and sent a series of emails nudging them toward a given product. The better you target the messaging to each segment, the greater your sales will be in the end.
This post was first published on AllBusiness.com