How to secure wins across the conversion funnel

You’ve heard the terms ‘acquisition funnel’, ‘TOF / MOF / BOF’ thrown around but what does this acronym soup mean? 


15 years of running $XXM lead-gen programs later, I want to share some hard-won lessons about what works at every stage of the funnel in the lead-conversion journey.  


Top of the funnel (TOF)

  • Goal: Make target audience aware your brand exists and has relevance using highly scalable marketing tactics at a minimal cost per impression / view / click 
  • Activities: 
    • Ad buys in digital publications
    • social media ads
    • speaking sessions at conferences
    • TV ads, Radio ads, even Billboards (not relevant for series A / B) 
  • KPIs: Reach & frequency metrics – impressions, views, and clicks
  • Don’t: 
    • spend too high a % of marketing budget (zoom in on just your target audience)
    • expect these activities to generate leads 
    • use mass email or SMS marketing tactics yet
    • start without a campaign landing page  
    • Forget to implement Google tag manager (GTM) on your site & set up necessary tracking for every ad you run, metrics must inform marketing spend


Middle of the funnel (MOF) 

  • Goal: Convert TOF lead awareness to consideration via opt in to email nurture or demo (depending on sales motion)
  • Activities: 
    • Distribute offers (free trial or sample)
    • Publish thought leadership (whitepaper or infographic)
    • Retarget site visitors & former customers via Google ads and on social media
    • Run email nurture sequences to opt ins from TOF, lapsed leads & customers
  • KPIs: Free trial signups, White paper downloads, email opens & clicks, site traffic from retargeting channels 
  • Avoid: 
    • Offers that seem desperate (e.g. cash for a demo), or unrelated to product
    • Starting without a CRM or contact database in place 
    • Sub-par experience for the trial, sample or whitepaper
    • Trying to ignore email marketing CAN-SPAM laws  


Bottom of the funnel (BOF)

  • Goal: Convert leads to customers by demonstrating product’s value and overcoming objections
  • KPIs: Lead to customer conversions, ARPU, time to close
  • Activities: 
    • Optimize the website (publish an explainer video, test on-site chat, update content & design)
    • Launch Sales email sequences
    • Send SMS messages with limited time offers
    • Distribute product one-sheets, customer stories & competitor feature comparisons
    • Run platform demos (consider interactive / clickable demos)
  • Don’t:
    • Use standard contact forms for demo signups. Make demo scheduling friction-less (e.g. embed MixMax, Calendly etc. on landing page)
    • Continue to contact leads if they don’t engage after several emails, calls or texts
    • Share Sales collateral that is not professionally designed


CMOs and CEO reading this post, happy to chat live about your unique situation and how to leverage this playbook – it’s definitely not one size fits all but the general principles apply.

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