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Should you consider your TOFU cold outreach as sales or marketing?

No matter how you handle TOFU activities (cold calling, email campaigns, social media outreach, etc.), it’s time to give this question a thought.

You might be wondering why the answer to this question matters. As a business owner or a revenue-generating leader, you need to paint a clear picture of expectations for your cold outreach team. By setting your intention and goals before you start with TOFU activities, you’ll be able to evaluate and influence your results better. You’ll also get a better handle on what kind of outbound activity gives you the best return.

What Is TOFU Outreach?

TOFU stands for Top of the Funnel. If you imagine a physical funnel, the top is large and can hold more than the funnel’s bottom. Your lead funnel is the same. You start with many leads, and once you filter through them, your scope is much narrower.

The phrase TOFU is fun to say, and it’s imperative to your business development. When you turn a funnel upside down, the top can act like a sturdy foundation. This turns out to be an interesting metaphor because building a sound base for your outreach campaign is an absolute must.

What is top of funnel sales
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So, Is TOFU Outreach Sales Or Marketing?

The simple answer is that it depends on how leads come into your funnel.

In scenario # 1, your leads may come from sourcing efforts. Sourcing describes the process of conducting research and building a targeted list. After the list is built, you proceed to contact them by various methods. These are cold leads. Same as leads from a purchased list – they’re freezing! In fact, you’ll need a strong strategy to call these leads. They are more like possibilities or prospects than leads.

In scenario # 2, let’s say that leads enter your funnel after being attracted to your product or service. They have heard or read about you. They are interested in finding out if what you’re offering will work for them.

The difference between the two scenarios?

In the first one, your main goal should be to create awareness and generate curiosity. So, if you’re asking if you should see TOFU outreach as sales or marketing, marketing is the answer here. There is a chance that you’ll get someone interested in this scenario, which is between 1-5% on average.

In the latter scenario, you have leads that already want to vet your product/service. As they learn about you, your job is to determine if they’re a qualified potential customer and, if so, to close the deal. The meaning? These leads are in your sales process, and when compared to the former group, they should convert into paying customers at a higher rate of 15-30%.

Having this knowledge, would you consider your TOFU activity to be the same in each case? Would you treat the prospects in scenario one the same as those in scenario two? Of course, you wouldn’t!

Likewise, your expectations for TOFU outreach as sales or marketing need to be appropriately set.

What The Heck Are We Doing Here?

What does TOFU mean?
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Maybe your product is irresistible to just about everyone. Or maybe, you have fantastic luck. If not, you could be disappointed with your TOFU outreach results if you don’t have the right mindset.

Analyze your campaign beforehand to determine what kind of results you should expect. Then, you can set sales or marketing goals. Naturally, you’ll share these goals with your team. Once they have background information on your analysis, they’ll understand their goals better. This will help them to do their best and succeed. Now, what should some of your KPIs or metrics look like for TOFU outreach as sales or marketing? Let’s break it down. Keep in mind that these are just examples and will vary based on each business.


  • Send out X proposals per day.
  • Close X deals per week.
  • Increase revenue per sale by X month over month.


  • Build a list of X cold leads to call per month.
  • Build an email list with X new confirmed subscribers each month.
  • Generate X appointments per day.
  • Obtain X referrals per week.

Is Cold Calling Sales Or Marketing?

What is cold calling?
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Cold calling can be done by an SDR (Sales Development Representative), a BDR (Business Development Representative), an Appointment Setter, a Telemarketer, or a CEO. When you’re calling someone that isn’t expecting it, you have no idea if they’ll be interested. You hope to introduce and attract. If you can move them from cold lead status (i.e., they have no idea you exist) to warm lead status (they respond with interest, even agree to a meeting), that is a win. However, in the B2B world, most of the time it’s still going to take some time to turn into a sale.

For this reason, cold calling should undoubtedly be considered marketing. It’s marketing done by phone, hence the term “telemarketing.” With this information in hand, if you plan on incorporating cold calling into your outbound strategy, remember to set your goals accordingly.

Last Thoughts On TOFU Outreach As Sales Or Marketing

Recently, “TOFU” outreach has become something we folks in sales and marketing love to say. But, it’s not only because it sounds cool and reminds us of those squishy blocks in health-food dishes. It’s because it’s vital for any growing business. And, we know it’s not easy or for the faint of heart.

Yeah, we sales and marketing types love a challenge. We live for diving in, breaking down barriers, and making opportunities flow. We hope that the tidbits in this post have provided some ideas on how to get your mind right when it comes to your TOFU outreach.

If you have questions on additional ways to make your top-of-funnel strategy work, ask away in the comments. Or, if you want us to help, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

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