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B2B Sales Funnel: A 101 Guide For Converting Leads

Building a B2B sales funnel

Have you ever wondered why building a B2B sales funnel is of utmost importance? The B2B industry has grown to new heights over the past few years. The Internet has changed how B2B clients buy, and the marketers must also change how they pursue a new breed of buyer that is more technologically advanced. You can do this by understanding your B2B sales funnel and its effectiveness gives your business a competitive edge over the others. This way you will get valuable insights into optimizing the sales process and converting more leads.

Your sales funnel will act as the most valuable guide to boost your results. Before you design a sales funnel for your company, you should investigate your market, figure out what you are missing, find out what your competitors are doing wrong, and then implement all those in your sales funnel.

With the help of B2B sales funnel, you can establish the different stages that business representatives might go through; this usually starts with the first contact to the time you purchase the products or services yourself. A well-structured B2B sales funnel will help your company recognize how to better optimize and refine your sales process and gain a deeper understanding of what your client journey is like.

The main goal of sales funnel is to have an optimized, efficient sales process. However, creating an effective sales funnel is one thing that very few B2B companies focus on.
Did you know this

According to a study, over 68% of B2B businesses still don’t have a proper understanding of their own sales funnel.

Most companies don’t know if they are reaching the right audience at the right time and with the right content. This blog will discuss what a basic B2B sales funnel looks like, its benefits, and it’s stages. You will also learn how to use your B2B sales funnel and the buyer’s journey to gain revenue.

What is a B2B sales funnel?

B2B sales funnel is to intentionally guide prospects on a path from introduction to your company and ultimately to the sale. A well-planned sales funnel will enable your company to define its goals and take the right actions towards its end goal.

It usually comprises several stages and is a multistep process to keep the leads aware of your company’s value and convert them into sale. It depicts how leads move through the buying process of the B2B sales pipeline.

One B2B sales funnel example is that when salespeople interact with those leads at several stages to persuade them to make a purchase, a sales funnel can have three or more stages depending on the business, while there is no true one-size-fits-all model as every sale funnel functions in the same way.

While planning your B2B sales funnel, make sure to find the clients’ pain points, provide them with a solution, and then market your products to them.
What is a B2B sales funnel

B2B sales funnel has three levels: the top, middle, and bottom.

Top

The broadest part of the funnel because it is where you find your prospects. The activities that lead do at this stage may include watching your product videos, reading blog posts, or checking the information on social media platforms.

Middle

In this part, a lead will subscribe to your newsletter or even download your whitepaper/eBook. At this stage, a sales representative tries to build a relationship between the prospect and gives them a demonstration of their problems with solutions.

Bottom

After the product demo, the sales representatives will follow up with leads until they complete the purchase. Here the prospects make the final decision of purchasing or investing financially into your offerings.

B2B sales funnel

How does a B2B sales funnel work?

How does a B2B sales funnel work?

The first step of planning your B2B sales funnel is identifying your buyer’s personas. Once you have the buyer’s persona, you can tell what your target audience likes, dislikes, expects, is motivated by, or even their pain points. Based on this data you can create a targeted marketing campaign specially curated to attract the target audience.

Once you create content that your prospects are looking for at the right time, you can convert them to become your customers. A good B2B sales funnel will break down the buying process into smaller stages, with every stage designed particularly to convert a lead. You probably already get sales, but using a funnel can help you get there by increasing sales, retaining the client, and increasing conversions.

Benefits of a B2B Sales Funnel

  • It attracts the right leads for your B2B business and focuses on them
  • Increase the engagement with leads in order to nurture and build trust in your company
  • Understand all the data you have collected and create curated content
  • Increase the conversion rates by optimizing the sales process
  • You will be able to understand the customer experience
  • Maximize your company’s revenue
  • Track every aspect of the sales funnel in order to understand which products or services sell best and why
  • Enhance productivity and predictability for results
If you are a B2B marketer you know how hard it is to find the right strategies and tips to propel your marketing efforts.
Don’t worry! DataCaptive is here to provide you with the latest trends, tips and strategies that will help increase your ROI. All you have to do is...

Difference between B2B and B2C sales funnel

B2B sales funnel
B2C sales funnel
B2B sales funnel

The cost of products or services tends to be higher.

B2C sales funnel
Product and services costs are not as high as B2B products.
B2B sales funnel
B2B clients buy products and services on behalf of their company.
B2C sales funnel
B2C customers purchase products for themselves, friends, or family.
B2B sales funnel
B2B buyers take longer to decide as it should solve a particular business need or problem.
B2C sales funnel

B2C customers purchase the products for personal use and may make impulsive decisions.

B2B sales funnel
You need to study B2B sales funnel metrics to accurately target audiences.
B2C sales funnel
While B2C marketing is much more broad-based.
B2B sales funnel
B2B clients tend to compare reviews and different products and services.
B2C sales funnel
B2C consumers research the products that they are interested in after gaining awareness.
B2B sales funnel
B2B clients expect you to provide them with a product demo to check how the product performs.
B2C sales funnel
B2C clients just need to check some positive reviews and those that seem to fit their purposes best.

Five stages of B2B Sales Funnel 

The first B2B sales funnel stages was said to be devised in 1898. It usually starts with the awareness stage, where people become aware of a brand, product, or service. The chance of capturing the attention of leads is minimal as an average person only spends 37 seconds looking at an article.

All the B2C sales funnels contain only four stages, usually called AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action, whereas the B2B sales funnel has additional stages such as evaluation and engagement. B2B funnel model is for B2B businesses to observe the different strategies involved in converting a lead into a customer. And for that to happen, keep evolving and follow stages.

Five stages of a B2B sales funnel are

Five stages of a B2B sales funnel are

1. Awareness Stage

This is the B2B marketing funnel stage where people are introduced to your brand or its products for the first time. Here B2B customers are looking for answers, and you can provide them with resources, educational content, opinions, and insights to solve their problems. The value of the awareness stage is low since they are not guaranteed leads at this point, as most are seeking out products or services to solve a problem.

But you can convert them into high-priority leads by nurturing them further down the sales funnel by providing them engaging content with valuable and informative content. The client’s problem may be simple or complicated, like finding a lead list to generate more sales or software that integrates their front-end and back-end operations. You should be ready with relevant high-level information to win them over and get them interested in your company’s offerings.

The content you provide must be targeted to your audience and offer them a solution to the problem they are facing in the form of blog posts, ebooks, checklists, infographics, etc. An example of this stage is when a prospect finds your blog, gets introduced to a brand or its products, and then reads more about the products or services the brand offers.

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2. Interest Stage

At this stage, the leads will usually get interested in your company’s products or services since they are now aware of your brand. They will try to find more information on them or even research about the brand on multiple platforms. The leads may also check out your competitors to determine who offers the best deals.

This is why you must ensure that your products or services stand out from the crowd and solve clients problems better than your competitors. This is the first stage in the buying process where trust is formed between the clients and the brand. Make sure that the content you provide is unique and includes discounts, exclusive offers, and a number of calls to action.

Another way to nurture leads in this stage is by scheduling meetings with a sales representative for an introduction. If you want faster conversions, then you must personalize your marketing skills to fit their needs and expectations.

3. Evaluation Stage

In the evaluation stage, your marketing should capture your prospect’s attention while the B2B buyer reviews all they have learned about you. As they are evaluating your products, you have to make sure that the solution you are providing is optimal for their needs. Your company must display honesty and integrity, which will pay off in the later stages of the B2B sales funnel.

Here a company must know what its competitors are offering and then present a better offer or features to your leads. At this stage most B2B clients will do precise research, setting up discovery calls and price evaluations to make the final decision on whether they want to purchase your products or services.

So, make sure to be active and provide the right information on multiple channels at this stage. Content marketing will play a significant role at this stage while the sales representatives work towards closing the deal by following up with the leads and providing them with the right content.

4. Engagement Stage

At this stage, your B2B lead will be interacting with the sales team. This part gives the sales team a clear understanding of the buyer’s pain points and helps them reach a solution. Here the process usually ensues with product demonstrations or sales pitches requests that could fill their needs. The main motive behind this part of the funnel is to move the B2B prospect towards an agreement.

The sales representatives will try to build a relationship with clients by offering free trials or exclusive promotions. In this stage, the sales representative must be ready for a quick response to all the customer queries.  Relationships build at this stage is crucial as it moves leads into the final stage of purchasing your product.

5. Action Stage

This is the final stage of B2B sales funnel as the leads make the final decision on whether or not they want to invest in the products or services you offer. After all, the hard work that your sales team has done in the previous stages will show its results at this stage. If anything has gone wrong in negotiating in this last stage, your leads will most likely buy from a competitor.

So, remember to build a lasting relationship during this stage. At this stage, the purchase order is either written or approved. You also need to have a post-purchase engagement that keeps the customer happy and even makes them repeat customers in the future. The sales funnel conversion rate increase in this stage so if you have done well, your customers will also recommend your products to other prospects.

Tips for creating a B2B sales funnel

  • Understand the needs of your clients
So, remember to build a lasting relationship during this stage. At this stage, the purchase order is either written or approved. You also have to have a post-purchase engagement that keeps the customer happy and even makes them repeat customers in the future. If you have done well at this stage, your customers will also recommend your products to other prospects.
  • Provide relevant communication at different stages

When a B2B client goes through the different sales funnel stages they will expect to obtain certain information to facilitate their buying decision to move into the next stage. You can do
these two ways: by content marketing and providing them reviews of the products or services. You must try to develop person-to-person communication between the sales team and the buyer.

  • Seize the attention of your B2B target audience

You need to grab the attention of B2B clients by providing them with personalized content which is to be sent at the right time. You can also offer them exclusive or limited period offer to attract them towards your offerings. A sale or free shipping can also be offered to motivate the clients in making the purchase. You can also gain more attention by improving your B2B customers experience, and remember to use tracking tools to check if your hard work is paying off.

  • Nurture relationships and build trust
Since B2B clients consider a lot of things before making a purchase, you have to win their trust so that they invest in your brand. Nurture your leads by sending them an email and building a relationship with them. You can also be in constant touch with them and answer their queries quickly. Demonstrating a keen understanding of their needs and the solutions you offer will prove that your product or service quality is the right one for them.
  • Follow up with your leads regularly

You can optimize your B2B sales funnel by following up with your leads, especially in the early stages. You can remove prospects that have gone silent after repeated calls or those who want to connect with you later. You can set notifications or calendar reminders in your email software to make this process consistent. A B2B sales funnel metric study done by Hubspot, suggests that over 80% of sales require five follow-up calls, whereas over 44% of salespeople give up just after confronting the first no.

  • Optimize your B2B sales funnel
You have to constantly check how your B2B sale funnel is performing and then make changes based on its results. Your sales funnel must be up to date and must function smoothly. You can do this by organizing your sales funnel at every stage. Perform marketing activities at every stage and check what works the best for you. Adjust each funnel stage in a way that it addresses the needs of the buyer’s.
  • Improve your team specialization
Make sure to hire sales representatives that understand the true value of a well-built sales funnel. Data enrichment specialists must focus on the early stages of the B2B sales funnel, after which the sales managers take over the middle and late stages. The project managers then take over, making sure to nurture established client relationships.
  • Track your conversion rates

Monitoring your conversion rates will help you work on strengthening the weaker sides of your business. It also can provide you with a valuable answer and help you identify the problems to prioritize them. Once you fix the weak spots, you can convert more leads.

Final Thoughts

The B2B sales funnel represents a lead’s journey and the stages they usually pass through before making their purchase. A sales funnel helps its marketing and sales teams provide the right content at the right time, understand the buyer’s needs, and guide them into creating personalized interactions. Build a B2B sales funnel that builds a solid relationship with your potential customers and shows them that they can trust you to keep their data secure.
You can use the tips mentioned above to increase your chances of getting prospects to move into the last stages of your sales funnel. These strategies will help you increase sales, streamline processes and optimize your sales process. Remember to check and update your sales funnel regularly, as it will provide your clients with the best customer journey. Surveillance of the process will also act as a booster for the company employees.

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