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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistTue, Feb 16, 2016 7 min read

What Should Your Inbound Marketing And Inbound Sales Funnel Look Like?

If You Don’t Know Your Funnel Metrics, You’re Flying Blind

Inbound Marketing Needs Metrics To Prevent You From Flying BlindWhen we’re talking to a new inbound marketing prospect, one of the first questions we ask is, “What’s your close rate on the sales opportunities you get?” Almost everyone answers 50%.

“You get me the leads, and we’ll close them.” It’s a common fallacy among most CEOs. The reality is that after working with clients for a few months, we have actually found their close rate to be around 10% or less.

Not knowing your marketing and sales funnel numbers is like not knowing how much cash you have in the bank right now. You have to know your full funnel analytics, and you have to know them cold. You also have to track them monthly so you’re able to improve month over month.

Here’s what a healthy inbound marketing and inbound sales funnel should look like, as well as what kind of improvements you should expect month over month.

Website Visitors

This is the ultimate top of the funnel. Will people trickle into your sales process from other sources? Yes, but 99% are going to come in after a visit to your website. You need to know how many people visit your website every single month. Even if people come via referral, speaking gig or networking, there’s a very strong likelihood that they also went to your website. The more visitors you get to your site each month, the more leads you should expect.

Sitewide Conversion Rate For Visitors To Leads

This is the next number you need to know cold. Ask me what our sitewide conversion rate is, and I don’t stutter. I know exactly what it is right now and what it was last week, last month and last year at this same time. You need to know this, too. This sitewide conversion rate aggregates all the individual landing pages, CTA buttons and forms across your site and gives you one number. This is how good your site is at turning visitors into leads.


Top, middle or bottom of the funnel – I don’t really care. If your website is designed and the strategy is solid, you have the appropriate offers on the appropriate pages to turn visitors into leads up and down the sales funnel. All leads are created equal. As long as you’re not offering iPads, trips to Jamaica or free samples, the people converting from anonymous visitors to leads are interested in what you do. They might not be ready to buy from you today, but they’re interested in learning more about what you do, and that makes them leads.

Sales-Qualified Leads

While all leads are created equal, some leads are closer to being ready to buy than others. We call these sales-qualified leads, meaning they’re interested in talking to you. These are also considered bottom-of-the-funnel leads. Typically, 10% of all leads are sales-qualified leads, but you need to know the ratio for your own business. Remember that with more total leads, 10% of those are going to be sales-qualified, so don’t obsess over those only. Also, keep in mind that the other 90% of the leads are going to be nurtured with inbound marketing tactics, so a percentage will eventually decide they’re ready to talk, too.

Sales Opportunities

Just because a prospect wants to talk to you doesn’t mean they’re going to be a great opportunity for your business. Of the 10% of leads that are sales-qualified, there’s another conversion rate to actual sales opportunities. Every business is different. If you have a very narrow definition of whom you want to work with, this number might be very small (say 10%). But, if you have a broader definition, this might be 50% or higher. Regardless, you need to know this number.

Proposals Or Agreements

Even when you like them and they like you, it doesn’t always translate to revenue for your business. So, you also need to know the percentage of sales opportunities that make it to the proposal or agreement phase. I think it’s important to know that there might be a number of smaller steps or phases in between sales opportunity and agreement. You should be tracking these and know the conversion rates for all of these steps, but to keep it simple, know this number at the very least.

Full Funnel Analytics

Inbound_Funnel_2016.jpgLooking at this from the 30,000-foot view always provides such an interesting perspective. Here’s a sample funnel for your review. How does your company stand up? You can see that with some very modest improvements in visitors to your website, sitewide conversion rates and conversion rates within the sales process, you can add almost 5x monthly revenue by investing in inbound marketing and inbound sales.

Start Today Tip – Take this picture and build out your own inbound funnel. You need to know these numbers anyway, so see how you’re doing. After you have your company baselined, start playing around with the numbers. What would be the impact if you improved site traffic? What if you improved the conversion rates? What about the number of sales-qualified leads to agreements? These numbers have a major impact on your business. Do these have anything to do with marketing? No, but they have a lot to do with inbound and helping your business think differently about how you market and sell.

Square 2 Marketing – Inbound Results Start With ME!


Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.