Marketing drives leads to the top of the funnel through ads, search, social, and email; at the bottom, marketing encourages prospects to make a purchasing decision. If you are prioritising these two ends of the funnel, what are you doing to manage middle-of-funnel leads?
It is marketing’s job to keep prospects engaged until they have made a purchasing decision. Middle-of-funnel is the most difficult stage for marketers to manage. The middle of the funnel stage is like the middlegame of chess: there are no simple set plays. Buyers may remain at middle-of-funnel for a few days or even a couple of years.
Start with these four ways of approaching middle-of-funnel leads.
Send more middle-of-funnel leads to Sales by focusing on segments
As leads start to trickle down from the funnel’s top, it becomes increasingly important to determine their differences. For example, one lead may have a decision-making process that comes down to one individual. In contrast, another lead may make decisions as a committee of top executives.
Another lead may value a cordial relationship nurtured through face-to-face meetings or a summary of your services technical details. Think of segmentation as dividing your target audience into clusters with similar traits.
Segmentation is not all about fitting leads into their respective groups. While you may have a set of predetermined criteria, observe the intersection between leads of different types. For instance, your ideal lead may want to buy in bulk every month.
However, those who fit this description might have a lengthier decision-making process, while those who are quick to buy need supplies once every quarter and want to cut costs. These discoveries can help you redesign the messages sent to middle-of-funnel leads, making them more appealing to both the leads that buy monthly and those that want to cut costs.
This will essentially be a new segment that can increase the chances of capturing leads who make decisions quickly and buy a lot. The overlap helps you ensure that those passed on to sales are closer to purchasing and intend to buy large volumes.
Ultimately, your business could profit more as you spend fewer resources on leads that are difficult or expensive to win over. Segmentation can also result in more personalised experiences for the ready ones, eventually securing their loyalty and increasing your chances of up-selling and boosting future revenue.
Create a lead-scoring program
A lead-scoring program enables you to quantify a lead’s readiness to buy rather than simply using vague descriptions. Marketing and sales teams sit together and lay out several relevant data points and their respective levels of influence on buying.
The teams also establish which of these data points is more important to their organisation’s goals. Typically, the attention would be on information like the lead’s location, the industry they are in, their engagement patterns, purchasing power, company size, etc.
This information enables you to determine how valuable each lead is, with the ability to put a figure on it. Inbound marketing operations can also bolster your lead-scoring program. A business can use landing pages and web forms to gather information on leads.
You can scrutinise metrics on how site visitors engage with various elements. Teams can also directly receive straightforward answers to qualification questions whenever a prospect fills out a webform. The data collected can be complemented by third-party sales intelligence to refine your perspective.
Insights like the frequency of product launches, year-to-year growth and organisational hierarchy, among others, can enlighten you on how much purchasing a lead is likely to do. Teams may also gain clarity when comparing these insights to data like the number of times a lead interacts with specific social media content.
You can attach scores to each lead and provide sales with only those leads above a particular score.
Flag low quality leads in middle-of-funnel
Some businesses focus on getting as many leads as possible but lead quality matters too. To get high-quality leads into the middle of your marketing funnel, use a top-down approach.
Establish a set of traits that indicate low lead quality right from the first point of interaction with your business. Analyse all your site visitors’ activity, noting the number of pages opened, length of a session, CTAs clicked, etc.
Identify actions at every level that signal interest in your product. When you send out marketing emails, watch for who opens and who does not, those who open but do not follow any links provided, etc.
Record the time it takes for each lead to progress from one stage to another. Pay close attention to the period spent liking your social media posts before visiting the product page. The same goes for the number of visits before signing up, duration before opening marketing emails and time spent going back and forth over contract terms.
The quality of your traffic will primarily dictate lead quality. Make sure your SEO is on point. Use B2B influencers with traction in your particular field, not just those with large followings. Recalibrate your social media and PPC ad settings so that they are seen mainly by people interested in your products.
Provide Sales with context and content when handing over funnel leads
When handing over leads to the sales team, you will have data gauging readiness to make a deal. However, it may not be enough to show how they got to that point. The evolution is significant since sales personnel can revisit, reinforce and expand on the details that swayed the lead.
Say a lead watched a product demo and liked a specific new feature. They might have not fully grasped how to unlock the functionality. If all the sales team knows is that the lead has immense purchasing power and large company size, they may focus on smoothening the procurement process.
While this could be a solid and pleasant approach to making the sale, it does not address the significant factor influencing the lead’s behaviour. Marketing teams should endeavour to provide any necessary materials, be it a prospectus, whitepaper, links to demo interfaces and trial accounts, etc.
Businesses can further streamline the process of providing context and content when handing over middle-of-funnel leads. They can create templates with provisions for highlights of the interaction between the lead and marketing personnel.
Marketing teams can set up automated email alerts that lay out all the relevant data about a lead and even make this process continuous. This may be something like noting any other interactions the lead has with various aspects of the business as they move down the funnel. That means sales personnel can constantly assess the level of influence that the swaying factor has over time.
Resonate can help you nurture middle-of-funnel leads
We are a B2B sales and marketing agency that can help your business achieve a commercial result through leads, opportunities, and closed revenue. We work closely with our clients to help them middle-of-funnel leads into closed deals.
Learn more about our approach to sales and please get in touch.