In Inbound Marketing, we use different types of content to attract prospects at different stages of the buying process. This is called the Buyer's Journey and it consists of three phases: awareness, consideration, and decision.
In Sales, the same concept exists and is referred to as the Sales funnel. It also has 3 stages, TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU, which intersect with the Buyer's Journey and thus make Marketing and Sales alignment crucial for attracting and closing leads.
Discover what each of these 3 stages mean and view examples of each stage for Marketing and Sales.
TOFU: Top of the Funnel
For Top of the Funnel (TOFU) leads, you need to create content that is geared towards awareness. These leads are people who have just discovered that they have a problem or need and are looking for more information about it.
To start a campaign of this type, write a series of introductory blog posts about key topics for your business and sector. These posts should be easily understood by beginners and be optimized based on your various Buyer Personas and SEO keywords. Remember, you want these people to find you by searching about their problem or need, so keep that in mind when choosing topics and keywords.
These blog posts should have a clear path that visitors follow: include a CTA to a landing page for them to download a guide and learn more. Have a newsletter subscription on your blog page so that users can sign up for related content. Prepare a welcome email and email nurturing cycle for new TOFU leads. One simple blog post can lead to a world of possibilities for your business.
Other great content options for this phase include guides, infographics, and short videos. Discover more valuable content formats.
Sales almost never enter into the picture for top-of-the-funnel leads, mainly because these people are just looking for initial information about their problem or need. TOFU leads are the least qualified and thus the least likely to close.
A big mistake that a lot of businesses make is reaching out to leads too quickly and pressuring them to buy. The best thing your sales team can do during the awareness stage is provide the Marketing team with up-to-date FAQs and doubts from clients for blog posts, so that these doubts don't need to be addressed on a sales call or email.
Another thing that Sales can do to keep an eye on the evolution of leads is to implement lead scoring and sales pipelines.
MOFU: Middle of the Funnel
The consideration stage is in the middle of the funnel and these leads are more informed than TOFU leads. These people are normally looking for more information about specific solutions and providers, so detailed content should be developed just for them. Examples include landing pages, white papers, case studies, longer-form videos, comparisons of different solutions, etc.
Here, you should use Smart Content to tailor each landing to your leads based on factors like country, language, Persona, lifecycle stage, and more. Something else that you can include to learn more about your prospects are logic questions in your forms. Little by little, you'll gain more information about them, so that you can paint a better picture of their wants and needs.
The leads are getting warmer! MOFU leads have progressed further down the funnel by consuming more detailed content such as a landing page, ebook download, nurturing emails, or via lead scoring. A webinar is the perfect way to give these prospects even more information on a specific topic.
After connecting with middle-of-the-funnel leads with a webinar or other type of outreach, make sure to follow up with them in a timely manner. Platforms like the HubSpot Sales Hub let you do email tracking and document tracking, so that anytime someone views an email or document, your sales reps get a notification. With a fast follow-up, you have a much greater chance of reaching that person in the right moment.
If you're doing Account Based Marketing, a quick reach out to a potential client from a dedicated sales agent can begin to form the relationship. However, it should be as personalized as possible and speak to their unique needs.
BOFU: Bottom of the Funnel
This is it! We're getting towards the bottom of the funnel, where our prospects are going to make their decision. They have investigated their problem thoroughly and know the solutions available to them. Now, they will make the crucial choice of which product/service they will go with - and which provider they will buy from.
The goal of Marketing at this stage is to shore up personalization and trustworthiness - what about a personalized assessment in the form of an interactive quiz? Testimonials can also work wonders to position your business as the right choice. Finally, discounts, offers, and free trials are all various types of content that can pass the torch to your Sales team.
BOFU leads are "hot" leads - the ones that are the most qualified and most likely to close. Not only should sales reps be sending out personalized emails and making phone calls to qualified leads, it should be extremely easy for prospects to get in touch with your business at this stage: provide them agents' email, phone number, and even WhatsApp.
To help edge undecided leads closer to the sale, there are host of sales materials you can offer: Product demos, a personalized consultation, sales call or meeting. In line with Marketing messages, make sure BOFU leads are aware of all the offers at their disposal. With the HubSpot Quotes Tool, send out personalized quotes, collect signatures and payments!
But there is one additional step that involves after-purchase. You want to go above and beyond for your customers, keep them satisfied with your business, and turn them into brand supporters and ambassadors. This is actually a great way to get new customers. In fact, because of this, HubSpot envisions this funnel as a flywheel in perpetual motion, delighting customers so they're so passionate that they attract new customers!
No matter which method you choose - funnel or flywheel - you need to have each stage of the Marketing and Sales cycle clearly defined with concrete content and actions.
One of the quickest ways to improve your Marketing and Sales outcomes is to create and understand your business's Buyer Personas. Use our free template to create your own or get in touch with us to design your Personas, content, and Marketing tactics.
Mary is a professional copywriter with over 10 years of experience in Marketing and Advertising. As an American expat in Madrid, she enjoys the relaxed Spanish culture, hiking, and the latest shows from Netflix and HBO. Mary also loves cats and music (she's the office DJ!)