What is a lead generation funnel, and why should you develop one for your building product?
You may have heard of a lead generation funnel, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. In the kitchen, we use funnels to guide liquids into smaller openings. Much like an actual funnel, a lead generation funnel functions to guide interested buyers into paying customers.
If it weren’t for a well-developed lead funnel, it would be tremendously difficult to obtain qualified and reliable leads. It takes more than your typical run-of-the-mill advertisement to fully encapsulate your audience. The buying process has changed over time, and potential buyers are more informed than they used to be with the abundance of information available through a simple web search. It’s up to you to determine how exactly you are going to market your company and its products.
A successful lead funnel ultimately transforms surface brand-awareness into conversions and sales, helping your prospects specify your products with ease.
Although lead generation funnels are a lot more common today, they still aren’t implemented by everyone. Having a lead generation funnel is essential, especially within the B2B realm. Jump ahead of the competition, and learn more about how to deliver well-nurtured and qualified leads to your sales team.
The Steps Through The Lead Generation Funnel
There are three major steps within the inbound marketing process, namely ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu. While they probably sound like the names of trending health foods, they are actually shorthand references for the different stages throughout your buyer’s journey: top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel.
With these three steps come precise timing and calculated action––it’s all tied into the concept of nurturing your potential leads. Each step requires an adequate amount of criteria to be reached before moving the prospect to the next step of the funnel.
Although this may be a slower process than preferred, lead generation funnels provide a much more realistic approach to the modern-day buyer. In fact, 50% of qualified leads aren’t ready to buy in the initial stages. It takes sufficient time and gradual effort to successfully convert your prospects into buyers.
1. ToFu: Top of the Funnel
At the very top of the funnel lies the brand awareness and introduction stage––this is where you should be focusing your efforts on casting a large net into a sea of potential leads. ToFu is the first step of implementing a successful lead funnel, and also where you should be working to attract a relevant audience without filtering out potential conversions.
A great example of an effective ToFu strategy is posting content such as blog articles, where you can expound on entry-level topics or even address specific pain points. Aside from hosting a blog for lead generation purposes, it allows the perfect opportunity for your company to establish itself as a thought-leader within your product niche.
Remember, you are wanting to educate at this stage, not pitch. The sales tie-in comes later. Focus on gaining the trust of your audience.
Lastly, remember to include a doorway to the next step of the funnel. Be sure to include a powerful call-to-action at the end of each blog article, strategically preparing your prospects for the next stage of the lead generation funnel. This can be as simple as reading another article to follow, or more preferably, asking them to sign up for a newsletter or a sample request (if applicable) so you can obtain their contact information.
2. MoFu: Middle of the Funnel
So your prospect decides to act on your CTA, what next? They move into MoFu. This next stage is the meatiest of the three, with the challenge being that you must continue to educate your leads.
No longer should you be touching on surface-level topics. Since MoFu ultimately serves as the bridge between ToFu and BoFu, this is the stage where you should be actively positioning yourself as the solution to your prospect’s needs and fervently nurturing the relationship between yourself and your leads.
Although you may have leads pouring in from ToFu content, they will be futile without ensuring that they are nurtured and qualified. With lead nurturing, companies have seen a rise of 45% more leads than companies who do not bother to nurture these valuable relationships.
By providing information and material such as case studies, interactive white papers, videos, and webinars, you can continuously elevate your brand to prospects and help leverage your overall product capabilities and emphasize the unique attributes.
Be sure that you are transparent in your messaging, directing the focus to your company as the solution. At the same time, don’t “fake it ‘til you make it”. Prove to your prospects that your product is the right solution, and most importantly, don’t exaggerate or fabricate the quality and benefits of your products. Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to securing a sense of trust with your leads.
After sufficiently nurturing your leads, you can get ready to open the doors to your sales representatives––as this steady involvement will gradually qualify your leads for the last step. Your leads at the latter part of this stage officially become qualified leads, moving them into the consideration stage.
3. BoFu: Bottom of the Funnel
At this final point in the funnel process, you should already have a substantial amount of leads collected through ToFu content and nurtured with MoFu content. Your qualified leads should be warmed up by now, ready to make an informed decision. In the BoFu stage comes the most crucial point––the sales pitch.
Qualified leads are typically more comfortable speaking with you one-on-one in the BoFu stage, so don’t hesitate to provide them with the information or hands-on experiences they may need to fully commit to your products. This is where things such as free samples, a comprehensive evaluation, consultations, and even exclusive coupons/discounts can prove to be a viable supplement to your sales pitch. People typically want to try things out before they buy them, so be sure that you have something tangible to offer your leads in the BoFu stage.
Breakdown of the Process
With a full core understanding of how leads navigate through the funnel, we can now move onto breaking apart the process in order for you to fully grasp this comprehensive marketing strategy and develop a successful lead generation funnel for your company and its building products.
Map Out an Outline of Your Plan
Before anything, it is essential to identify common pain points and issues that you are confident your products can address. After all, you are ultimately trying to frame your building materials as the solution. Elaborate on what benefits you can bring to the table.
Start by planning how you will capture the attention of your audience in the ToFu stage––how will you cast your net? Next, what will you do to ensure that your leads are being properly nurtured throughout the funnel in the MoFu stage? Lastly, how will you pitch your sale and close a deal? By realistically planning your success, you can predict how your leads will progress as they flow through the funnel.
Inform & Educate Prospects
As a fundamental component of your lead generation funnel, it is essential to educate your buyers and establish credibility in your field. After all, this is the part where you are mostly focusing on how to capture and sustain your audience’s attention. Again, blogs are an ideal way to establish this sense of expertise and create a lasting impact on your visitors.
Social media is another platform where potential buyers may seek more information about your company, as well as solid proof of your legitimacy. It’s also a place where you can humanize yourself and your company, leveling out your relationship between you and your audience. You can leverage your social media channels by enhancing them with interactive infographics and even videos to further demonstrate your products and their credibility.
This is also a great time to provide free samples or brochures for them to discover the quality of your products.
Gather Contact Information
After generating content to capture your audience’s attention, the next step is to gather their information. By collecting customer data, you’ll be able to stay in touch with your visitors and ultimately convert them into potential prospects.
You can collect data through initiatives such as gated content, landing pages, and content upgrades. It helps to create interactive content, as this has proven to effectively convert 2x more leads as opposed to static content.
Qualify the Lead
While you may have leads pouring in from your ToFu initiatives, it’s not always necessarily something to celebrate. A lead is no good for your company if you find that you aren’t a good fit for them––there must be understood mutual benefit between both parties. To fully ensure that your leads are qualified before making your sales pitch, you must put in the time and effort to ensure that they are well-educated about what you have to offer, and how you will solve their problem.
With the following criteria, you can easily define the stages that your targeted buyers are currently at:
- Prospect: A prospect is someone who fits your buyer personas, but hasn’t fully expressed interest or urgency to seek out your products.
- Leads: An unqualified prospect who begins to demonstrate buying behavior.
- MQL: A Marketing Qualified Lead is someone who has expressed interest in your products and is eager to engage further.
- SQL: A Sales Qualified Lead is someone who has expressed strong interest and buying behavior, and has taken the initiative to educate themselves about your company and products. This is most likely when your product has been successfully specified.
- Closed Sales: After successfully specifying your products, a closed sale is someone who’s paid for your products and completed a transaction with you. Even after a sale, it’s important to nurture the existing relationship as there are possibilities to continually sell, gain referrals and obtain valuable feedback.
Nurture the Lead
In order to keep track of your highest qualified leads, it’s highly recommended to develop a lead scoring model of sorts. For example, you can start by keeping track of which website visitors take the initiative to read your blog posts. Reading a blog post can be +1 points, an email signup for your newsletter can be +3, watching an entire video demonstration can be +10, etcetera.
Once you have honed in on your highest scoring leads, this is where you can focus all of your attention on nurturing the relationship between them. Nurtured leads are also more likely to choose your product in the build since they are familiar with your brand. The more they take time to educate themselves and are reciprocated for their time, the more comfortable they feel.
Convert to Sale
This is the stage where you hand over the SQLs to your sales team to convert them into buyers. At this point in the process, the SQL has pretty much made up their mind about committing to purchasing. All the sales team has to do from here is ensure from past interactions that all of their needs are being met and that your products can truly offer a solution to their specific problem.
As you are probably aware, in the building industry it is common for products to become value-engineered. This is a beast of its own, and where Tofu plays an important role–if you spent the time in the beginning to sell the benefit of the product, the less likely the product will be VE’d.
Collecting Data & Optimization
It goes without saying that proper maintenance is crucial to ensure all parts of your funnel are always working. If you notice that you have leads dropping off, backtrack and identify where exactly in the process they seem to be changing their mind, and what you can do to fix these leaks.
Each stage in the lead generation funnel process requires close attention and must be specifically tailored for who you are wanting to sell to. In order to consistently convert, you must always be reviewing your strategies and how you can better optimize your lead generation funnel.
Are you looking to craft a lead generation funnel for your company? Our team at Bizop offers a number of digital marketing services to leverage your presence, guide you throughout the marketing process, and ultimately help you land more sales conversions. Feel free to reach out to a Bizop representative today!