Four Methods to Optimize the Center of the Funnel

Sample data representing a lead scoring model for multichannel marketing in the center of the funnel

The middle of the Demand generation funnel receives much less attention than it deserves.

At the top of the funnel, marketing increases traffic and fills the database with new leads through paid ads, social media, search and referral programs, and a variety of other channels. At the end of the funnel, marketing helps close the sale by creating urgency and helping potential customers find the business idea for buying the product or service.

In between, marketing needs to encourage and qualify leads by encouraging them to engage with content until they are ready to sell. It is easy to miss the center of the funnel as there are many different priorities, from quality to quantity and speed to the customer experience. This can be the most difficult phase to overcome.

What exactly is the center of the funnel?

According to SiriusDecisions Demand WaterfallThe center of the funnel is the area in which the marketing is transferred to sales (MMS to SAL) and the sales development officer (SDR) is transferred to the account executive (AE) (SAL to SQL).

The center of the funnel or MOFU is like a valve. Here you can expand the lead quality definitions to forward more leads to your sales team, or tighten the lead quality definitions to get a more specific segment of qualified leads.

In most B2B organizations, marketing focuses on enabling a successful handover to sales. The marketing team develops content to elucidate leads and identifies the leads that show an intention to buy by implementing an evaluation model for behavioral leads. They also run campaigns to accelerate leads, e.g. B. Time-limited offers, product test campaigns and case studies.

Right in the middle of the funnel, marketing should help the sales team prioritize their time by providing clear and accurate information about each lead. At the same time, the sales teams are focused on creating as many business opportunities as possible from the leads they have received from marketing.

Why focus on the center of the funnel?

With so many transitions during the handover process, the greatest potential for misalignment between marketing and sales and within sales is in the center of the funnel. Below are some common bottlenecks that can occur during this phase.

Misalignment while handing over marketing to sales:

  • Marketing does not leave enough leads on sales to create a sufficient number of opportunities that meet the sales goal.
  • Marketing is not enough to make sales, but leads are difficult to reach as they are not yet ready to consider a purchase and need more care.
  • Marketing sends too many leads to sales, and sales doesn't have enough information about the leads to effectively prioritize them.

Misalignment while passing SDR to AE:

  • SDRs may struggle to achieve the lead marketing given to them.
  • It may take too long for SDRs to make a list of sales leads for AEs accepted by sales.

By creating common definitions and goals, you can help Reduction of sales and marketing errors, Here are some things you want to understand and agree on:

  • With the help of the lead volume, you can determine whether your marketing efforts at the highest level are sufficient to achieve the sales goals of sales.
  • Conversions measure the lead movement from phase to phase and show how marketing develops over the entire sales cycle.
  • Speed ​​is the time it takes to move through the funnel, usually measured in days.

These metrics help marketing understand the business impact and prioritize its investments. Weakness in any of these areas affects earnings. Therefore, marketers need to keep an eye on the performance of the center of the funnel at a given time.

The center of the funnel also has some unique problems. The lines here can stagnate or get cold. You may no longer respond to marketing content. This means that they are not yet qualified for a sales call. This can lead to slow speed and limited lead flow when selling. Fortunately, there are four key strategies that you can use to address these issues:

1. Fight against poor lead quality at the source

Not all lead sources are the same. Four metrics can be tracked for each lead source:

  • Volume of the MMS
  • % SQLs (opportunities created)
  • % closed won (new customers)
  • Average sales price (ASP)

While it is helpful to determine the ROI goals for certain programs, these metrics help marketing stay responsible to improve quality and get sales and issues as quickly as possible. For example, leads whose last action was a trial registration move through the funnel much faster and close at a higher rate than leads whose last action was a webinar ad. For lead sources with below-average conversion rates, e.g. For example, white paper downloads, a higher qualification bar is required before the lead is passed on to sales.

In addition, data quality has a direct impact on lead quality. Bad data leads to low contact rates and lower conversions. Multiple third-party lead generation programs can be used to generate new leads. Sometimes these leads look like high quality leads because they come from companies in the target market. However, once it is released to sales, important data such as company size and phone number may be incorrect. Clearbit data enrichment can be used to clean up as much data as possible. Occasionally, however, sources must be shut down completely due to incorrect data.

2. Accelerate more leads from certain segments

Create a repeatable Lead nursing process is the pride and joy of every marketer. Unfortunately, the business doesn't always follow a perfect plan. Sometimes marketing needs to quickly send a large amount of leads to the sales team to either achieve a strategic goal or make up for lost time.

Rather than being broad and sacrificing quality, marketers can limit themselves to a specific segment of leads that are waiting in the middle of the funnel.

3. Increase lead speed with lead scoring

Lead scoring is a key lever that you can pull to improve lead speed. Demand generation managers can regularly perform regression analyzes on various behavioral factors in the database to determine which characteristics make up a good head start.

You can use various actions, such as email clicks, website visits, white paper downloads, webinar registrations, and social media engagements, to measure how many leads performed these actions that ultimately led to deals, customers, and earnings. Through this investigation, you can determine what behavior is the best indicator of intent to buy.

Here is an example with dummy data:

Sample data of the lead scoring model by channel

From there you can create a weighted score for each action. If a lead who clicked a link in an email is 50% more likely to become a customer than a lead who visited the blog, adjust your lead rating model to match the email – Clicks appear at five points and blog visits at three points. By adjusting your lead scoring model in this way, you can send ready-to-buy leads to the sales team faster, improving the metrics.

As content, audiences, and business goals change over time, you should perform this analysis every month to ensure that the lead scoring model meets your goals.

4. Reduce hand-off friction with content and context

If your sales team doesn't have enough information about each lead to track it in a way that creates urgency, the results are often unresponsive leads and slow processes. Marketing can alleviate this problem to some extent.

As a first step, marketing can provide the sales team with case studies, white papers, and other training materials that can be sent to leads. In a next step, marketing can create optimized content experiences for leads by linking one content to another (for example, if a lead is watching a webinar, send them an appropriate e-book).

To ensure that your sales team can track each lead, your marketing team can create a warning email that is sent to a sales representative every time a new MMS is assigned to them. This email contains lead record data and contextual information, e.g. For example, the title of the webinar you're watching and some details about the webinar. Your sales representative can then simply reply to the email if something is wrong or more information about the lead is needed. A full marketing automation platform like Marketo can help you communicate with sales and share all engagement activities and interesting moments lead story,

Example of an email notification sent by the Marketo marketing automation software in the middle of the funnel

Marketo Marketing Automation Platform simplifies lead tracking

To avoid the center of the funnel becoming a bottleneck, work with sales to increase conversion rates and speed for results that affect the entire range.

Better results ahead

By following the four steps outlined above, you can improve the quality of the leads you pass on to sales, make transfers more smooth, and keep potential customers in touch with relevant content.

Get insights into how to keep leads through the sales funnel by downloading them The Definitive guide to lead maintenance,

What bottlenecks have you experienced in your marketing organization? How did you fix that? We'd love to hear in the comments below.