What You Need to Know about the Inbound Sales Funnel

December 15, 2016 Jordan Rinaldo

The inbound sales funnel is an integral part of inbound marketing. Basically, it’s a visual representation of the path your buyers take as they move forward—from stranger, to lead, to sales-ready opportunity, to customer. The basic premise of the inbound sales funnel is that not all leads are alike, and it pays to know the differences among them.

The inbound sales funnel is used to categorize contacts. And it allows marketers to better understand leads in order to know what marketing messages to offer and when. It also helps ensure that sales people don’t waste their time on leads who aren’t ready to buy.

Here’s what you need to know about the inbound sales funnel.

ToFu

ToFu is short for top of the inbound sales funnel. This is where the vast majority of your website visitors will enter. The web visitors at the top of the funnel are known as learners, because they’re accessing your website in order to research, gain knowledge, and become more informed. They’re checking out a variety of solutions to their challenges, they’re understanding all of their options, and they’re just getting started on the buyer’s journey.

ToFu visitors are very rarely ready to purchase—so you can’t pressure a sale on them.

How to Attract Top-of-the-Funnel Visitors

To ensure that visitors are constantly dropping into your sales funnel so you have a consistently full pipeline, you’ll want to provide helpful and relevant information about the problems and challenges that these visitors are having. You’ll want to offer answers to common questions on your website and your blog. You can also share e-books, infographics, and videos. All top-of-the-funnel content should be free and educational.

MoFu

MoFu stands for, you guessed it, middle of the funnel. The visitors in the middle of your inbound sales funnel are known as shoppers, and they’ll make up approximately 10 percent of your web traffic. These shoppers have already done their research. They know what product or service they want. They have a pretty good idea of how they’re going to solve their problems. Now, they’re comparing and contrasting their options. They’re looking for more detailed and specific information about your products or services.

How to Market to Middle-of-the-Funnel Visitors

MoFu visitors still aren’t ready to buy, so don’t push them. Instead, give them the information they seek, such as testimonials, reviews, and case studies. Offer content that will help them make the most informed decision, but get their contact information in exchange for that valuable content.

With that contact information in hand, you can then nurture these leads and move them down the funnel.  

BoFu

Lastly, we have BoFu, or, the bottom of the funnel. You want your leads to end up here because this is where they’re going to turn into buyers and be ready to talk to your sales people to make a purchase. Very few of your web visitors will immediately end up here, though. You’re going to have to work on it with lead nurturing techniques.

Leveraging Content for Bottom-of-the-Funnel Visitors

In this stage, you’ll want to use marketing materials that reinforce the value of your offerings, such as product demonstrations, free trials, consultations, or samples.

In addition, at the bottom of the funnel, you want to make sure that signing up, contacting you, or ordering are all as easy as possible.

Segmenting Your Leads

Now you know that your inbound leads can be segmented into one of three distinct stages: the top, middle, or bottom of the funnel. But how can you know where they should go?

There are many ways you can segment your leads, but gauging their interest is a solid way to go. You can segment based on several interest factors, such as how often they visit your website, how many offers they download, whether or not they engage with your content, and whether or not they’ve contacted an employee at your company.

There you have it. Everything you need to know about the sales funnel.

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