Is marketing & sales funnel an old-school concept?
Well, some businesses think so.
They usually think it to be mechanical or too simple to describe the journey of customers from awareness to purchase.
But we think it is very useful to follow a marketing & sales funnel. It is the simplest way to describe a complex process from start to finish.
In this blog, we are going to offer you some insights related to setting up a marketing & sales funnel.
So, let’s start!
What is a B2B Marketing funnel?
A marketing funnel is a process that breaks down a buyer’s journey from the stage of awareness (when a buyer comes to learn of your business for the first time) to purchase (when the buyer makes a purchase decision). Marketing funnels can also include the post-purchase stage that helps in increasing customer retention.
To understand an effective marketing funnel, consider the following example:
You are the marketer for a medium-sized company. You created a marketing funnel to help your sales team achieve more sales with lesser efforts.
To ensure that your marketing funnel is a success,
- Start with developing content that would catch the attention of your target audience. Try blog posts, infographics, videos, landing pages so that your audience becomes aware and learns about your products/services. This saves your audience the boring call with a salesperson.
- Next, your prospect becomes interested enough in your products/ services and asks for demonstrations through the landing page. These demonstration requests are routed to the sales team who provide them with a demo.
This process ensures that around 50% of your leads are converted to customers.
Though this is a simple example of a marketing funnel, almost all businesses have a marketing funnel like this or somewhere in-between.
The five stages of a B2B Sales Funnel – A brief Overview
Knowing the stages of a B2B marketing & sales funnel makes it easier for you to improve it. So, let’s see what the stages are!
This is the first stage where buyers have identified their problems and are looking for solutions. For example, a business is looking for a new supplier who can manage it’s software concerns.
So, what are the highlights of this stage?
- Understanding a buyer’s thoughts by developing a persona
- Identifying buyers’ problems that they’re trying to resolve
- Identifying the path that they choose leading to the solution
At this stage, all you need to do is provide useful content about your products/service so that buyers become interested in your business.
At this stage, the lead shows interest in your products/ services. They start their research on your business to gain more information.
Here, you must focus on nurturing the leads well so that they convert into customers. You must focus on providing customers with the right solution.
Also, focus more on building trust than making a sale. Developing a relationship with the customer will eventually lead to a purchase decision.
Evaluation means your buyer is now focused on what you are providing. Since, you have successfully caught the buyer’s attention, at this stage, take the following actions:
- Focus on showing customers how your solution is perfect for them
- Solidify trust by a display of honesty and integrity
- Let the leader know if your product/service is not the best one for them
- Suggest them with an alternative solution (even if it is offered by a competitor)
Being honest with customers will ensure a trustworthy relationship. Even though the lead does not convert into a customer at this time, they may come back to you in the future.
At this stage, the buyer interacts with the sales team. It involves providing them with a sales pitch, product demonstrations, and maintaining clear communication.
At this stage,
- Identify and understand the pain points of the buyer
- Help them reach a solution that perfectly addresses their problem
- Maintain a relationship of trust through proper communication as it is a key factor to take your leadership to the next stage
Also Read: What Is Engagement Design & Why You Need It
This stage marks the end of the process in the traditional B2B marketing funnel. The buyer finalizes the purchase decision, the purchase is approved and the lead becomes your customer.
However, this does not end here. Make sure that you keep up with the customer in the post-purchase phase. It makes them happy and satisfied.
Post-purchase customer engagement helps in building the B2B sales pipeline. How?
Well, because most B2B sales begin with a referral and these referral leads convert 30% better.
What Marketing tactics are suitable for each stage of the funnel?
Moving through the sales funnel, the customer needs may change. Hence, your marketing tactics must evolve too.
What works for your awareness stage may be ineffective for the purchase stage and vice-versa. So, mapping the buyer’s journey and then planning the strategies is important.
At the awareness and interest stage, the buyers are looking for a solution and they aren’t aware of your products/ services. At these stages, consider the following:
- Understand your buyer’s persona
- Develop your SEO tactics, content marketing strategies, and lead generation plans focused on the buyer’s persona.
- Use eBooks, blog posts, etc. to offer detailed information and help buyers identify possible solutions
- Go for pay per click ad campaigns for lead generation
- Use social media platforms and tools like Facebook chatbot messenger to ensure higher effectiveness in engaging leads.
As the lead moves through the funnel and arrives at the evaluation and engagement stages, it means you have captured their attention. Now start educating your lead.
- Show them case studies of how you have solved similar problems of other customers
- Automate email marketing campaigns
- Webinars can also be effective to engage customers through a Q&A session.
The purchase stage calls for closing the deal. At this stage, the sales force and the marketing team work together to convert the lead.
- Consider equipping the sales force with case studies
- Provide leads with effective product demonstrations
- Offer incentives
Steps to Create a B2B Sales Funnel
Building a B2B sales funnel is easy but requires proper understanding. A well-defined funnel helps in generating quality leads, improving the sales process, and optimizing the customer’s journey.
So, let’s see what steps are included in creating a B2B sales funnel.
1. Know Your Customers Wants
Make sure you know your target audience well. Focus on those who are the best fits for your products/ services.
Stay away from ineffective targeting. Refrain from showing ineffective ads. Understand the want of your customers and provide them with a relevant solution.
Research your target audience. Use your analytics tools and track the visitors on your site – how much time they spend, where they click, what they are looking at etc.
Further, analyze conversion rates, mailing lists, and the ways customers use to interact with your business. Understanding customers will help you develop better marketing strategies.
2. Capture the Attention of your Customers
Capturing customer’s attention has become difficult than ever. Personalized messages work with relevant information and right-time delivery.
Remember that website visitors may not convert on their first purchase. In several industries, it even takes multiple visits for a buyer to trust the brand and move forward.
At this step, you can use CRM with eCommerce to track leads and identify the ideal time to reach out to them.
3. Nurture the Relationship with Leads
After a successful initial contact, there’s a chance of leads losing interest. An average buyer will look at almost five content pieces before making a purchase. This suggests that the buyers do not expect any call or email from you.
At this stage, you can use drip campaigns to direct the leads through the funnel. You may also personalize drip campaigns according to every persona. This will require more understanding of customers’ needs.
Provide them with relevant content regularly, focusing on their problems and objectives. This may eventually get you the sale.
4. Prepare for The Meeting
First impressions count. So, give your best.
To address customer pain points, be ready with research data, relevant content, customer data, etc.
Try standardizing the sales process.
The sales team requires a certain level of creativity and flexibility to engage customers in the first meeting. Standardization can help boost the sales funnel and productivity.
However, make sure that the standardization isn’t a rulebook. It must be a guideline for sales that can be improvised as per customer needs.
Did you know 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls?
Failing to follow up may lose out on prospects. Hence, ensure regular follow-ups. Besides, automate emails, set reminders to ensure that your prospects remember you regularly.
Follow-ups help in sales funnels optimization. However, you can eliminate the prospects who have been silent for a long time.
Also, ensure follow-ups with your existing customers. Ask for their feedback, experiences for testimonials, encourage them to share positive word-of-mouth for you.
6. Close the Deal
At this stage, either the sale happens or not. Nurturing plays an important part here.
However, to gain commitment from buyers consider following the ASK process:
- Aligning priorities: Confirm certain statements by going through the previous records of communication with buyers. This will assure buyers that you understand their problems and needs
- Securing commitment: Reiterate the key benefits of being your customer – how you have helped customers with similar problems and how your solution is the right one to address their challenge.
- Keep the relationship going: Determine the involvement of any other decision-makers or contractual questions before signing and closing the deal.
7. Optimize the Funnel
To ensure addressing customer needs at every stage, your sales funnel must have a diverse set of solutions.
Ensure offering customers a variety of relevant content, perform A/B tests and offer more specific information as the funnel narrows.
Make sure your leads remain engaged by every possible means.
3 Ways to Digitize your B2B Sales Funnel
1. Marketing Automation
Marketing automation makes personalization super easy. You can use chatbots to ensure keeping up with prospects and building relationships over time.
Go for an effective CRM solution to improve the management of leads, customers, and opportunities. CMR helps both the marketing and sales team to start better with the customer relationship.
3. eCommerce Platform
An effective eCommerce website offers the self-service model that customers want. It helps in engaging more accounts by the sales force and closing more deals.
The Mandatory B2B Sales Funnel Metrics to track
Without tracking your B2B sales funnel you’ll be unable to know its effectiveness and required improvisations. Here are a few metrics that you can track:
Sales funnel conversion rate: This metric helps you track the number of leads who enter the sales funnel and the number of leads getting converted.
Time in Stage: Know where your prospects are getting hung up. Once you identify the stage, you can add more content addressing their queries.
Exits from the stage: This metric helps you identify the stage where a large number of prospects are falling out. Then you can add more content to address their questions.
Content piece engagement rate: Identify the blog posts or content pieces that send the most converted customers. This metric is effective if you have CTAs on multiple posts.
Building a marketing & sales funnel seems easy but it’s just like the tip of an iceberg. A lot of effort goes into creating an effective B2B sales funnel.
Avoid making mistakes in a sales funnel as it is one of the few opportunities that can take your business to the next level by driving efficiencies and effectiveness.
Look for apt strategies and tactics that can optimize your sales funnel and fuel growth.
So, go ahead and start planning your B2B sales funnel today!