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Three planning truths about the sales funnel

By Billy Hamilton-Stent on 8th December 2014

If 98% of the people who visit your website on a monthly basis don’t buy from you, what are they doing? Funnelling around? Content marketing talks a lot about funnels; it’s a very powerful metaphor. It’s also dodgy. Here’s our take on planning the funnel. These simple considerations will create better content to support your marketing and sales funnel:

Funnels are not real
It’s a small but important point. There’s no such thing as a funnel. It’s just a useful way of encapsulating a sales journey. Your buyers don’t enter a funnel, they don’t live in one. Your company doesn’t own one. It’s not a fixed thing. As a vendor, you have no right to shepherd people into a contract. There is no gravity pulling people towards a sale. 

Eat More ToFU
Marketers invest a lot of time creating a scorecard to nurture prospects down the funnel. In our experience, the issue is not really about the weighting/scoring process. That sorts itself out pretty quickly anyway and results will tell you if the balance is wrong.The challenge is more anatomical. Bottom of Funnel (BoFU) is pretty much absolute – it’s the bit where people purchase. Top of funnel (ToFU), on the other hand, is relative. A lot of companies, particularly in the tech sector, don’t really do ToFU very well. The misconception is that people who bother to come to your site are ready to buy something. The notion of nurturing window shoppers is an uncomfortable one. It whiffs of longer time frames, and companies in a hurry don’t like that.

 

Troubling-ToFU-triangles-big

TIP: Do a quick analysis of the content on your website and think about the prospects. Do window shoppers get much to graze on?

As a business you have to reconcile that to accommodate site visitors who are not buying (the majority of people), you need broader, objective content to keep them coming back. Creating this content ‘habit’ with B2B sites is essential to improving ToFU quality.

Beware the quick win
There are no quick wins. Sorry! But there are lots of ways that you can delay the creation of sales momentum in the content funnel. Too much ToFU junk will look good for a quarter, but conversion rates will fall. Over-eager qualification metrics will impact conversion to a quality sale.

Be careful what you wish for, as they say. This again points to the ToFU issue. Planners and sellers tend to shy away from ToFU as it’s primarily a numbers game. And the process down the [imaginary] funnel is a filter, right? Keep in mind that without the right consideration of what your early-stage browsers look like, your site generates fog that takes a while to clear. Do you have foggy ToFU?

Why not try our marketing diagnostic to get a handle on where an inbound strategy can take you?

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