The importance of B2B sales funnel: what, why and how?
In B2B sales funnel, many times, it is believed that when you open a company that the first process is to make a sale, which is the objective but for that sale to be fruitful and continuous, there is a whole thought process to be used.
It is said that more than 60% of prospective customers actually look up the brand before they spend their money, which is why companies should invest as much, if not more, in their brand image and what they represent.
Investigate the market you are in, figure out what is missing, what your competitors are doing wrong. Study the prospects, how can you make their lives easier, contact them. Listen to them, ask questions, propose solutions, reiterate those to be sure that both parties agree on the direction of the conversation.
And for that, the sales funnel tactic is the perfect guide, sense of direction of what or not that you are doing wrong to turn that prospect into a purchaser and loyal customer. At every step of the sales funnel, you get to see the results, the mistakes of the sales process.
What is B2B sales funnel?
B2B sales funnel represents the different stages a lead goes through before they become a customer for a company. It begins with their capture, when you first get their attention to all the processes, such as constant contact with them, to convert them into a loyal customer.
One could say that three processes are involved, which are:
- Buying: The company detects pain points as the prospect quest for solutions to a problem.
- Sales: require good communication with the customers to solve that pain point
- Marketing: Using tools in marketing to show that you’ve studied the problem and that you have somewhat found solutions.
Every one of these processes intertwine and are needed to achieve a sales funnel, it is where buying and selling meet, thanks to marketing content strategies.
Whether those marketing strategies take place on different digital channels, you want to capture the prospect wherever and however you can by educating them on what you sell.
How do you create a B2B sales funnel?
Though, there are no strict rules when it comes to a sales funnel creation, a few methods could never hurt. Let us proceed to the stages of the sales funnel, here is how it goes:
- You should understand your customer wants: Customers are exposed to so much information and endless options, so understanding them is essential. Dedicate your time to the ones whom your product fits. With analytical tools, start looking up information about them. Observe their access point, their clicks, the time they spend on the page etc.
- Seize their attention: Even though the marketing industry is a challenge, and more time and money is spent than actual gains, nothing has ever beat the value of personalized emails or messages to make a sale. Use the help of tracking tools to see the effect of your hard work and time pay off.
- Develop relationships: Despite technology advancements, for sales to happen, a company should always try to bring the human quality to a b2b sales cycle and prove that your product or service quality is the right ones for them.
For example, when visiting websites, there are chatbots that pop up to ask if the prospect needs any information and sadly, most times, many visitors close it down because they don’t trust conversing with a computer to really truly understand their needs.
Ask for feedbacks with RFP (request for a proposal), current customers are the ones to have experienced what you are offering. Therefore, it seems logical to go back to them for answers. Surveys are quite vital as well, and more. Apply whatever marketing techniques that will generate leads. Create marketing campaigns. Check out our lead conversion and lead generation in digital marketing guide to help some tips!
- Prepare for meetings: If relationships have been established, this is where every information gathered from the leads comes into play.
- Keep contact: It allows you to see the leads or prospects that are still very much interested and those have gone ghost. Furthermore, you can see the position those prospect hold on the sales funnel. Potential will not be lost.
- Then, finally, close the deal: It’s where you hope to get the customer to purchase whether it does or it does not. If it does not, go back to the beginning, what is holding the prospect back.
Reassure them of the benefits they could gain from your company. Ask them about conversations had and which part has them sceptical. It’s evident that you care about them, their hesitation and want to help.
Do not forget them: Keeping the relationship going and update your funnel as when prospects needs change, tactics equally does to. It is also valuable for your sales pipeline.
What are the stages of B2B funnel?
The purpose of a B2B funnel model is for businesses to observe the different processes and strategies that are involved to turn a customer into a lead. And for that to happen, to keep evolving, continue being professional, one must follow stages. It is the safest way to ensure that there would be no repetitive mistakes and losses on leads.
There are four stages and they are:
Stage 1: The awareness
In this stage, the prospect has an issue to solve, a need to fulfill, so they began to search the web, looking for answers. They spot a few and hope that they find themselves the necessary resources, opinions to their problem.
Though, the process of actually converting them into purchasing, loyal customers may be low, prospects still expect some quality product or motive. There is a chance that, that curiosity may turn into interest and decision. It is crucial to get prospects onboard, so, figure them out, pay attention.
In addition, there are also tools like the creation of a persona or a client portfolio, which gives you a detailed picture of who visits your website, or available data that can be recuperated, to give your company information about the prospects.
Tips: Follow our guide to understanding cac customer acquisition cost and customer lifetime value calculation
Stage 2: The Interest stage
After looking, prospects located your company’s brand through your website or social media presence, and they begin researching your products for more information to see if what you offer is suitable for them.
As a sales representative team, this is where you get into contact with them, instil trust so that a relationship is built between your company and the prospect. You want them to become that first time buyer, so, personalize your marketing skills to fit their need and present your company as their top and only solution.
Stage 3: Consideration
If the prospect is going through a consideration phase, then your company have caught their attention, and they are primed to use what you propose. The process usually ensues with product demonstrations, sales pitches request and that could fill their needs and prove that you acknowledge their issue.
At this point, with the data and information collected, by observing the customer’s journey, as the company, it is your duty to provide products and services that fit their needs. If you can, move the sales lead towards an agreement.
And, if you feel that you can’t give them the optimal service, then inform them. It will only solidify that relationship and trust. Because who knows, but one day they might need what you offer.
Step 4: The decision
This is where the prospect now becomes the new customer and has made his or her first purchase.
Most objections from the prospect has been answered, and any further ones will be dealt with as well. The purchase does not mean that the sales funnel is finished. Engagements follow-ups with promo emails show that you are interested in their needs and that you appreciated them enough to continue working with them.
Some of B2B funnel examples
Example 1: In the awareness stage of the sales funnel, you have a target audience, and you know which channel they use the most. So, you set up direct marketing ads there to get the prospects’ attention.
At the interest stage in the sales funnel, few of them click on that ad as you have piqued their interest. They now become leads. Your sales rep uses that opportunity to get in contact with them through email if they have signed up for whatever you are offering. Your sales rep would want to use that information provided as a guide of their needs and through that sales funnel. The sales rep asks the lead the right questions and converse with them about the issues they may have, to sell the most convenient product or service to them. If all is going smoothly, the sales rep then guides the lead further down the sales funnel.
In the consideration stage of the sales funnel, the lead you have then considers their options. At this point, they most likely see you as the solution to their problem. Conversation with the lead proceed to pricing, discounts, maybe even return on investment.
In the decision stage of the sales funnel, If the lead is pleased with the deal they are getting, then they become the customer in this stage of the sales funnel.
Example 2: You offer software tools and thanks to this, you already have a lead when it comes to turning inquisitive peoples into lead.
In the awareness stage of the sales funnel, you have your ads present across all channels to attract the most visits and sales. Your marketing strategies answer what is necessary while offering the best tools that prospects seem to need.
In the interest stage of the sales funnel, there have been some clicks and the prospects become your leads. You have had a bit of an advantage because thanks to your software tool, which has collected the data, you can determine where the leads are from, who they are, their job position and what channel they chose to get in contact with you. Your sales rep start to nurture a relationship with the leads.
In the consideration stage of the sales funnel, the lead has considered working with you and chosen you as their problem solver. They will probably request marketing demos and more to see if they have made the right decision. Your job is to reassure them that they have, use customer reviews, stories, to prove that you have had success in the past with previous customers.
And then finally the decision stage of the sales funnel, if the trust is built between the lead and the sales rep in this stage of the sales funnel, then the lead now becomes a customer. The customer made their first purchase.
To conclude, a sales funnel helps generate sales and also help to optimize your sales process. At every stage of the funnel, you can see where the pain points are to fully understand your customers’ problems and needs, which result in an in-depth customer journey and a successful b2b sales lead generation. A surveillance of the process as well is a booster for the company workers.