A Closer Look at Top of the Funnel (TOFU) Management
In a perfect world, the sales funnel would allow for the smooth passage of prospects at the top to a finished sale at the bottom. We do not live in a perfect world, though, which is why businesses and their sales team need to have a clear, concise process in place when creating their own individual sales funnel. In short, make it as simple as possible to move consumers from the top to the bottom. The easiest way to do this is to break the process down into 3 simple parts, which would be the top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU), and the bottom of the funnel (BOFU). For the purposes of this piece, we are going to be focusing on the TOFU, but we will touch on the other two in separate articles.
Like a regular funnel, you might find in your kitchen, the top of the sales funnel is the widest, which suggests that it might be the easiest to manage. The opposite is in fact very often the case, as you have a lot of potential customers wedged in there, not all of whom have any real interest in moving down through the other areas of the funnel. This is where the filtering process needs to begin in earnest.
Any time a business runs an ad campaign, they are going to get a lot of people interested in what it is they have to offer. Simply expressing an interest means that those folks are part of the TOFU. Now, seeing a product and thinking that it’s cool is a whole lot different than actually wanting more information about said product or going out and immediately buying it. Think of all the products you see advertised on any given day; how many do you like the look of and how many do you actually buy? The cool to conversion rate is probably not very high, which is the problem that businesses face at the top of the sales funnel.
Marketing creates brand awareness and gets people interested, but in order to get potential customers further down the funnel, the sales team needs to set about the process of separating the tire kickers from the legitimate leads. It is only the latter who will move to the middle of the funnel. Very often, the leads will make themselves known by requesting more information on a product, which could include signing up for a newsletter or following the brand on social media.
It can become very easy for a business to become bogged down at the top of the funnel as they spend time chasing down every person that shows even a fleeting interest in their brand. The focus of the TOFU should always be on those people who have expressed a definite interest in the brand or who have in some way engaged in a marketing campaign, be it online or otherwise. As a result, the management processes at the TOFU stage becomes a scoring exercise collecting information about how the prospect responds to the many offers that a seller will present them. Sometimes the offer will be as simple as clicking on a link or joining an email list. Other times it may be more engaging like attending a webinar or filling out a survey. In any case, the seller will use a sophisticated scoring mechanism that tracks the prospect’s activities.
Once those people have been identified, the process can then be handed over to the people in the sales team who are in charge of the middle of the sales funnel (MOFU), which is what we will discuss in our next piece.
Links to more content in the Sales Funnel Series: