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In the dynamic world of B2B digital marketing, the quest for qualified leads is an ongoing battle.

As B2B businesses battle it out in hopes of scaling and dominating in their industry, it becomes essential to develop effective marketing strategies that get prospective customers’ attention and convert them into paying customers. 

That’s where the B2B marketing funnel comes into play.

In this blog post, we’re explaining why you need a B2B marketing funnel, breaking down the three stages of B2B marketing funnels, and giving you an inside peek at our funnel creation process that has helped B2B businesses like yours attract high-quality traffic and turn them into qualified leads.

What the Heck is a B2B Marketing Funnel?

A B2B marketing funnel is a framework for organizing marketing efforts that speak to the same target audience at varying levels of awareness and gets them ready to make a purchase. 

So, in other words, it’s the customer journey! It is the breadcrumb trail that leads a cold prospect directly to your sales team, gradually warming them up along the way!

Here’s what a B2B marketing funnel looks like:

B2B Marketing funnel showing the TOFU as the “Education Stage”, the MOFU as the “Interest Stage”, and the BOFU as the “Action Stage.”

B2B businesses often tend to have longer customer journeys than B2C businesses. 

Whereas B2C customers are much more prone to impulse purchases like buying a chocolate bar in the checkout lane, B2B customers don’t roll that way. B2B sales cycles and marketing cycles can go on for months, if not years.

Nurturing users in the top-of-funnel (TOFU), middle-of-funnel (MOFU), and bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) keeps audiences engaged throughout their entire purchasing journey, mitigating sales funnel leakage, and maximizing the number of users who ultimately convert into Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). 

Breaking Down the B2B Marketing Funnel

When someone discovers your brand for the first time, they will have very different questions than someone who has been considering your brand for months. 

It’s like meeting someone for the first time vs. chatting with a familiar friend. If you re-introduced yourself to your colleagues every time you met, they would start to worry that you had suffered a head injury.

By understanding the different levels of a B2B marketing funnel, marketers can more easily determine how a customer’s journey works to better target customers at the TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU stages of the purchase cycle.

Top-of-Funnel (TOFU)

Think of TOFU as the education or awareness stage. It’s the beginning of what could be a long-term relationship.

You’re educating someone on a problem they may not have fully comprehended yet or introducing a solution to a problem they know they have, but have not yet actively tried to solve.

With TOFU content like educational blog posts, you can teach your audience how to resolve the challenges they are facing while lightly exposing them to your brand. 

In a survey done by Adobe, 72% of customers said that relevant content at the right time and place boosted their trust in brands. If you can provide high-quality content that educates and helps potential customers, they’ll build trust in you and are more likely to move to the MOFU stage.

TOFU Tactics

As mentioned above, educational blog posts are fantastic TOFU marketing tactics, but there are plenty of other TOFU marketing channels and tactics that you’ll want to try: 

  • E-books
  • White papers
  • Social media posts (the social media platforms depend on your target audience, but as a general rule of thumb, LinkedIn is the best way to target B2B prospects)
  • Lead magnets
  • Cold email outreach campaigns
  • Paid ad campaigns
  • TOFU-focused blog content
  • Podcasts

Middle-of-Funnel (MOFU)

Think of your MOFU stage as your first real date with your audience. 

In your TOFU stage, you were attracted to them, but they didn’t know you yet. Now, in your MOFU stage, they’re acknowledging you and willing to spend some time getting to know you.

Imagine your audience reading your TOFU blog post and deciding to subscribe to your newsletter through a pop-up. 

Or they Google “Best ways of managing your customer database,” click on your website, browse your landing pages, and download a free customer database template. 

With this marketing campaign, you’ve made your TOFU audience glide through your B2B inbound marketing funnel and land in your MOFU stage. 

Here, your goal is to educate them on how exactly you will make their life easier, and hope that you made an impression on them.

MOFU Tactics

To keep your MOFU audience engaged and eventually encourage them to join the BOFU stage, you should try these marketing tactics:

  • Webinars
  • Downloadable guides
  • Newsletters
  • Google Ads search campaigns
  • Remarketing/Retargeting campaigns  
  • Search-optimized service landing pages 
  • Social proof

Bottom of Funnel (BOFU)

The BOFU stage is where you ask them to commit.

Your audience was intrigued in the TOFU stage, you got to know each other in your MOFU stage, and you’re ready to make your relationship serious in your BOFU stage.

By now, your sales rep gets hungry and is ready to work their magic. 

In your BOFU stage, you’re running ads that pitch your brand as “The Best CRM for B2B Businesses”. You are creating content that directly highlights your benefits against your competitors. You’re proving to your audience that you’re the industry leader, and no competitor shines brighter. 

The primary goal of your B2B marketing funnel is to get your audience in this exact position, so you can butter them up and convert them from a prospect to a client. 

BOFU Tactics

The BOFU marketing tactics don’t stop just yet (or really ever). Here are some BOFU tactics you’ll want to include in your marketing strategy: 

  • Trials
  • Case studies
  • Consultations
  • Live demos 
  • Competitor comparisons

A Recap of The Funnel Stages

To give you a better idea of how someone actually moves through the funnel, here’s an example: 

Joe is struggling to manage his relationships and interactions with customers. 

He knows that CRM software exists, but he doesn’t know enough about CRMs, all of the benefits of CRMs, or what companies even offer CRM software. 

Then, a LinkedIn post pops up, “5 Benefits of CRM software”. Joe reads the post and clicks on the call-to-action link (moving from the TOFU to the MOFU stage) and now sees the light at the end of his customer management struggles.

Joe browses the site, maybe makes a mental note of the company, but shuts the tab and gets back to work.

Life goes on, and then a LinkedIn ad pops up, “#1 CRM Software for B2B Businesses”. He widens his eyes, clicks the ad, and downloads a free trial of the CRM software (now he’s sitting pretty in the MOFU stage).

After playing around with the free trial, he brings it up to his team and comes to the conclusion that the CRM software may be perfect for combating their customer management difficulties, so he reaches out and asks for a call (he’s now moved himself to the BOFU stage).

Boom. Assuming all goes well in the sales process, Joe just went from a prospective customer to a client.

Why You Should Care About B2B Marketing Funnels

Heading: “Why You Should Develop a B2B Marketing Funnel”. Underneath there is a marketing funnel that shows TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU. The subtext on the image is: “Maximizes ROI”, “Nurtures Marketing-Qualified Leads and Turns Them into Sales-Qualified Leads”, “Builds Brand Awareness & Credibility”, “Makes Your Job a Heck of a Lot Easier”, and “Creates a Share of Voice That’s Bigger Than Your Share of Market”.

There are a variety of benefits to having a B2B marketing funnel, including: 

  • Maximizes your ROI. Marketing funnels push users to conversion. The more users you convert, the more returns you can make from your marketing investment!
  • Nurtures marketing-qualified leads and turn them into sales-qualified leads. Funnels guide marketing-qualified leads through various stages and actions that ultimately transform them into sales-qualified leads.
  • Builds brand awareness and credibility. To keep a steady flow of prospects in your marketing funnel, you must work on TOFU strategies that target customers in the early stages of the buying process–which, in turn, will build brand awareness. 
  • Makes your sales team’s job a heck of a lot easier. Marketing funnels remove the need for your sales team to make cold calls or spend time working with clients who aren’t ready to convert.
  • Creates a share of voice that’s bigger than your share of market. If you can create a marketing image for your company that’s bigger than your reality, your company has greater potential to grow. If your marketing image is smaller than your share of market, you’ll shrink. It’s the share of voice rule.

How to Create a Successful B2B Marketing Funnel

Here’s our hot take on creating B2B marketing funnels: Start with your MOFU stage, then BOFU, then TOFU!

By prioritizing MOFU-focused campaigns first, you can attract and engage customers who are already active in solving their problem, and have a high intent of taking action. Your MOFU campaigns will then accelerate their journey through the funnel and guide them to the BOFU stage, where they are more likely to convert.

A B2B marketing funnel with MOFU at the top, BOFU in the middle, and TOFU at the bottom.

1. Start With Your MOFU Audience

As mentioned, we recommend starting by targeting your MOFU audience. This is your lowest hanging fruit, and the audience most motivated to get in touch. 

So engage in MOFU-focused marketing tactics, like SEO, search ads, remarketing ads, and blog posts.

These campaigns aim to nurture and engage leads that have shown initial interest in your company, guiding them closer to making a purchasing decision.

2. Move to your BOFU Audience

By targeting your BOFU audience next, you’re starting to get the system flowing, and your marketing funnel is now, to some degree, feeding itself.

When targeting your BOFU audience, it becomes time to pump out those case studies, free trials, or consultations. This is your #1 shot to say yes, we are the best at what we do, here’s the proof.

You may also notice that by converting users in your BOFU stage, you will create a flow of existing customers who want to continue using your products or services.

3. Extend to Your TOFU

After you’ve pushed out your BOFU tactics and given your sales team a bonus for onboarding more clients, it’s time to focus on your TOFU audience. 

Here you can start creating that educational content that will leave your audience wanting more.

By this stage, your B2B marketing funnel should be flowing like the Hoover Dam. If it’s not, take a peek at your KPIs in each funnel stage and see what’s working and what needs more love.

Create a Successful B2B Marketing Funnel With Expert Assistance

And, there you have it! You just joined our funnel! 

Now that you’re here, we’re going to try to convince you to use our services so we can help you create a B2B marketing funnel that actually drives results! 

Because let’s face it, you don’t have the time, and well, lucky for you, we do. We also have the passion, care, and determination (not to mention expertise and experience) to create a marketing funnel that will successfully guide your target audience through your funnel and help your business boost sales.

Still not convinced? We’re sure you will be after booking an intro call with us. We’re looking forward to meeting you!

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JD Cutting

Digital Strategy Lead

JD has always lived by three “C’s”: creativity, communication, and curiosity. He dreams big, always thinks out of the box, prefers honest and straightforward communication, and views learning as a lifelong commitment, all of which make him a great Digital Strategist.