How To Build A Lead Funnel

Let me start by asking you this, have you ever wanted to know the best way to generate sales qualified leads?

Of course you have.

As a marketer, lead generation is one of my main jobs.  No matter what processes or techniques I implement, the end goal is typically the generation of leads. Well, I am here to tell you that in my opinion, lead generation is not the ultimate goal, lead conversion is.

If you have ever wanted to know what the best strategy for lead generation is, and how to maximize lead conversions, then you have come to the right place, because that is the focus this article.

Hubspot almost nailed the definition for lead generation as the process of attracting and converting prospects into someone who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service. What I like about this definition is that they mention the term “converting”.  In my 15 years in the industry, I have seen most marketing tactics and even bought into the “more-is-better” mentality for a while, meaning if I could generate enough leads, some of them are sure to buy.

The problem is that leads need to be nurtured, and there are only so many hours in the day and only so many times you can re-target/re-market a lead.  At some point, you have to give up and mark the lead as dead.

Introducing the concept of lead conversion is something that many marketers still do not embrace, and I am not sure why.  To me, it is everything, and the days of “more-is-better” are gone. Today it is all about “better”, not more.  Better leads, meaning more qualified leads, which means more conversions, which means…. you guessed it, more sales.

So how do we qualify leads before we even speak to them? There are several strategies available to do this, however, for this article we are going to focus on one of my favorite strategies, the “Lead Funnel”.

What is a Lead Funnel

I love this definition provided by SnapApp, “A lead funnel is a process of starting with, and sifting through, a large number prospects, identifying which ones are viable as sales leads, and then nurturing these qualified leads into paying customers at the end of the funnel”.

There are several steps to defining the processes of your lead funnel such as:

  • Defining who your best leads are
  • Understanding where they are in the lead generation process
  • Outlining how to move leads through the funnel

But to keep things simple, rather than focus on the complexities, we are going to focus on the main concepts:

  • Leads
  • Qualify
  • Opportunities

We will save the complexities for a future article…

Leads – Top Of The Funnel (ToFu)

The top of the funnel is all about lead generation or better stated, lead engagement. We attract awareness through a variety of different methods such as email campaigns, quality blog posts, social media, video, or SEO/SEM/PPC. Depending on your industry, your market, and your audience’s behaviors, you will need to determine what the best strategy is.

In my opinion, most businesses can get great engagement using Social Media.  If you want to learn more about marketing on social media, check out our other Marketing School How-To Guides, “How To Market A Product On Facebook” or “How To Market A Service On Facebook.”

To get them into the funnel, we offer some compelling TOFU content such as an exclusive offer, an eBook, or stuff like that. The trick is that most people are aware of these strategies so it is getting harder to get them to engage with the funnel, so we need to be creative and be sure that whatever it is that you are offering is compelling enough and gives the user some sort of value, either perceived or tangible.

Qualify – Middle Of The Funnel (MoFu)

The middle of the funnel is where you now get to talk about your business, your solution, and your brand. And here is where you begin to qualify the lead. Be carful not to sell too much at this stage, you are still trying to establish credibility with the lead and you can easily scare them off. You also want to be highly specific to the message that you are delivering, and be sure it is 100% relevant to the point of initial engagement.  Meaning if they clicked on an ad about a specific topic of interest, where you send them from the ad must be 100% about that same topic.

Enter…. The Landing Page. 

The technical definition for a landing page in digital marketing terms is a standalone web page, that is created specifically for the purpose of a marketing campaign. The premise is that it is “where a visitor lands” when they have clicked on an ad, link or referral source.

This is why the landing page is so great. You can offer additional information to support the ToFu’s initial point of engagement, build credibility, and allow the lead to somewhat “Opt-In” a second time through the use of a form, or Call To Action.

Can you say “lead qualification”…

An important tip is to only have 1 Call To Action and limit the navigation options to keep the user where you want them.  Also, be sure that this page is engaging as hell.  If you used a video as the ToFu’s initial point of engagement, follow that up with a more detailed video on the landing page. And be sure your Call To Action, whatever it is, brings further value and that the action steps of the CTA are clear to the lead.

We will teach you all about landing pages in our next Marketing School How-To Guide, “How To Build A Landing Page”. So be sure to keep an eye out for that article.

Opportunities – Bottom Of The Funnel (BoFu)

The bottom of the funnel has 2 elements, Opportunities, and Customers.  In this article, we are focusing on Opportunities, because if we do our job correctly, Customers will follow.

The bottom of the funnel is where you attempt your sales pre-close and is the final step in the lead qualification process. Here you present a unique opportunity to address exactly how your product or solution meets the specific needs of the prospective buyer. Meaning, whatever the initial point of engagement was, and the follow-up landing page content was, now needs to be re-enforced one more time and a commitment is made by the prospect. If they made it this far, it is safe to say that they are now a qualified sales lead.


Understanding the difference between lead generation and lead conversion can mean the difference between your sales team burning out chasing non-qualified leads, or your business focusing all their attention on the wrong prospects.

In short, if you build it (the funnel), they will come, you just have to build it the right way. Don’t be too eager to sell, remember, lead nurturing is like dating.  You start with an introduction, then ask them to commit to a date, then you try to show them that you are a great fit together. 

The rest is left to the imagination…

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