It’s Time To Fall In Love With The Middle Of The Funnel

Published: July 7, 2023

1kevAs marketers, we’re often trained to love all parts of the funnel equally. And in a frothy, “hyper-growth” market, many teams found that a high-enough percentage of top-of-funnel prospects were “ready to buy.” This means they didn’t pay too much attention to mid-funnel signals — they just needed to get leads in front of a salesperson ASAP and scale via more ad spend. 

But that mentality is changing in today’s market. The “hand-raisers” from nine to 12 months ago are looking more like “tire-kickers” today, because they have access to more information than ever before and it’s easier to compare solutions. This is causing sales cycles to lengthen, which translates to fewer prospects that seem “ready to buy” — at least right away.

This shift in buyer behavior increases the importance of carefully managing the middle of the funnel, perhaps in ways we haven’t had to focus on in some time. Specifically, mid-funnel management requires combining your knowledge of company fit and buyer intent to focus on nurturing your best prospects. 

Fit: Are You Reaching The Right Companies?

Before you think about funnel stages, you need to have a good idea of who you want in your funnel. That’s where your ideal customer profile (ICP) comes in. Defined using firmographic and demographic data, your ICP describes the companies that would benefit the most from your product or solution and helps align and focus your go-to-market (GTM) teams around a shared target.

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If you haven’t revisited your ICP in a while, now is a good time to take a fresh look to ensure you’re maximizing marketing and sales efforts toward in-market companies. For example, you might consider moving up-market (or down-market, depending on your situation) or exploring adjacent verticals and sectors.

Fit acts as the primary yardstick for scoring leads and prioritizing mid-funnel efforts. While you can’t typically change whether a company is a good fit, you can focus your nurturing efforts on the best-fit companies and pay close attention to their intent signals.

Intent: Are You Engaging At The Right Time?

Intent signals tell you how interested a prospect seems to be in your products or services — how “ready to buy” they really are. Intent signals can come from many sources, including activity on your own website and from review sites like G2. Using intent data, you can break your funnel into several stages, such as “interested,” “learning” and “evaluating” to gauge buyer readiness.

Your website, for example, offers many clues about a prospect’s readiness to buy, depending on the pages and content they are viewing. Visits to pricing and product pages typically indicate higher intent than visits to educational pages. By analyzing intent data, you can also tailor content to reach different individuals associated with the account at any stage of the sales funnel.

High Intent (Evaluating)

Medium Intent (Learning)

Low Intent (Interested)

Pricing page

Customer stories page


Pages by product SKU

Solution pages

About us page

Free trial page

Partner & integration pages

Blog posts & articles

Demo page

Free tools

Using an IP intelligence solution to de-anonymize your website traffic will allow you to identify the companies visiting specific pages and zero in on your best-fit, high-intent prospects. These are your mid-funnel, MVP buyers to focus on for maximum impact.

Relevance: Are You Reaching Out With The Right Messages?

Mid-funnel prospects already know who you are, so you don’t need to start at square one. Instead, leverage your fit and intent knowledge to tailor your outreach messaging and move them to the next step on the path to a purchase. For example:

  • For good-fit pricing page visitors, engage the account to ask if they have specific questions about pricing and packaging options; and
  • For good-fit product page visitors, follow up with product videos and additional resources or launch retargeting ads related to the solutions they viewed.

With greater expectations on marketing to drive revenue, especially in the post-hyper-growth era, the middle of the funnel has become even more important. The good news is that the tools for understanding and managing mid-funnel opportunities have improved dramatically in recent years, so it’s a great time to dive back in.

Kevin Tate is the CMO of Clearbit, which helps reach B2B companies that are trying to better understand their customers and optimize their digital funnel. He has led sales and marketing teams across a range of industries, including enterprise SaaS, E-commerce, digital marketing and IoT.

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