B2B eCommerce continues to grow and it’s no wonder that 57% of the B2B buyers are on the way through the buying process before they first meet with a representative.
The sales journey is defined as an orderly and consistent process but in reality, it is much more complicated. So, to nurture existing customer relationships and learn where your sales process fails, a B2B sales funnel is needed.
This will ensure that your conversion rates improve and that you’re adapting to the changing needs of your customers. Though having all the benefits, 68% of B2B businesses are unable to get an understanding of their sales funnels.
That is why in this article you will learn the core concepts of the sales funnel and how you can build a B2B sales funnel to scale up your business.
What Is a B2B Sales Funnel?
B2B sales funnel is based on three processes-
- Buying: Customers Seek the solution to a problem.
- Selling: Communicating and providing a solution according to customer’s needs.
- Marketing: Educating the potential buyers, and supporting the sellers.
These three processes intersect and engage in the B2B sales funnel. A B2B sales pipeline shows how your sales team nurtures the pool of potential customers, based on what actions were taken to win the deal. Prospects come and pass from one step to the next one. It is only in your sales reps’ hands to guide them and make the deal.
To make it more clear, let’s go through the five stages of the B2B sales funnel model.
Stages Of Sales Funnel
- Awareness- The first stage of the sales funnel is the lead generation stage that catches the attention of the target audience through content. In this people hear about the product or service you provide for the first time. For instance, a lead finds your article on the Internet, becomes aware of your existence, and wants to read more about the services you offer.
- Interest- In this, the prospect’s awareness of your existence converts into an interest. The brand will start building a deeper relationship by analyzing its goals and problems. Then a preliminary solution is provided to the customers to get more engaged.
- Decision- After gathering knowledge and information about your company, prospects do precise research. This research could be setting up discovery calls and price evaluations before making any final decision.
- Action- This is the final stage where prospects agree to purchase or decline the offer. You will have to increase your offer’s value and the downsides of not making a purchase.
Remember, all the prospects will not become your customers. Therefore, the top of the funnel is always wide whereas the bottom is narrow.
Steps To Build an Ideal B2B Sales Funnel
A sales funnel model helps in generating quality leads, modify sales processes and optimize customer journeys. A sales funnel helps you build a sustainable strategy for new and existing customers. So, let’s go through the simple strategies that will help you to avoid simple mistakes for establishing a funnel.
Understanding The Customer And Finding With Linkedin Email Finder
Customers have limitless options to choose from, so market to those who are the best fit for what you’re selling.
Whenever users see irrelevant information like ads, promotions, and articles, they get turned away. Ineffective targeting causes damage far beyond leading to waste budget and, pushing away customers.
What To Do-
Performing some research about your audience such as what site visitors do on your site, where they click, what they look at, and how much time they spend on a page. You can use GrowMeOrganic Linkedin Email Extractor for finding the customers based on the demographics you want to target.
Also, analyze requests for proposals, focus your conversion rates, mailing lists, and other ways customers interact with your business. This way you will be at a better place to market to them.
Capturing Audience Attention
It is difficult to capture customer attention based on choices and general distrust. Personalized messaging attracts the attention of clients if delivered at the right time.
However, website visitors won’t convert on the first purchase. Your prospect may take multiple visits in several months to move from the awareness stage to the consideration stage.
What To Do-
The most important step now is to direct the individuals interested in your product into the wide end of your funnel. Repeat the messages up to seven times to be effective.
Make use of digital tools in conjunction with the CRM to track leads throughout the evaluation and buying process.
Engage and Nurture relationships
Engaging too early or too late with leads, will either scare them away or they will lose interest. B2B buyers will look at five or more places before purchasing your product.
What To Do-
Always prefer to work on drip campaigns to move these cold leads through the funnel with accuracy. This helps in warming up the leads and gets you the sale.
Hence, based on their needs make your solution and make them feel like your product is the right one for them.
Your first impressions won’t finalize the deal. You will have to convince your leads to convert them to paying customers. So, combine your research data, website and communication activity, and CRM data to address your customers’ pain points.
What To Do-
Your sales professionals should be flexible and creative to engage with their prospects. So, standardizing a sales funnel won’t act as a script or a sales playbook. However, it is a guideline that you can tweak and adjust.
You can automate some of the steps that would be repeated and allow sales reps to focus on building relationships. For example, behavioral data is used to identify the customer’s pain points.
According to GrowMeOrganic, over 80% of prospects say ‘no’ four times before turning into yes. This happens because most sales reps concentrate on the top of the funnel.
By following up, your valuable prospects won’t be slipping from your fingers. You can even set notifications for calendar reminders in your email software to keep on top of follow-ups.
What To Do-
The follow-up process helps in optimizing your sales funnel by removing prospects that aren’t responding after repeated calls or asked to connect at a later time.
Then you will understand where these leads sit in the funnel and if they will close the deal or not. Also, follow up with existing customers, learn from their experiences and encourage them to share positive reviews.
Closing the Deal
Your end goal should be to make customers purchase. Your lead nurturing efforts will help you to understand what might be holding customers back.
Always align your priorities by referring to the previous communication. This will assure the buyer you understand their pain points and will help in resolving their needs.
Secure commitment by identifying possible issues and their solutions down the road. Keep the relationship going before they sign on the dotted line.
Last but not the least, always remain available to assure the customer if they have any questions after the deal is done.
Optimize your sales funnel
As a B2B entrepreneur, you need to reach your audience at every stage of your sales funnel. Therefore, to address their needs offer them a diverse set of solutions.
Initially, the customer will be exposed to a large variety of content like blog posts, social media, and video clips. This may seem unrelated even not targeted to a specific persona in the funnel.
Also perform A/B tests between content types such as if one type of CTA or tagline doesn’t work, change it to see what will work better. At the lower part of the funnel, your lead needs more specific information such as guides, case studies, whitepapers, and webinars.
Facts To Consider For Building a B2B Sales Funnel
Always remember that no action or model ensures a 100% result for building a B2B sales funnel.
Create a strong pipeline to strengthen the Sales process
To create a strong sales process, arrange your team’s actions in three dimensions such as when (Phase), who (Position), what (Task). Though the sales funnel stages will provide you with the indicator for each aspect.
But for the real-time visualization of the B2B sales pipeline collect all the necessary data about the prospects, opportunities, and clients you currently work with.
It analyzes your sales team’s activities and makes projections on the revenue that your company will make.
For instance, your sales team will know exactly what steps they should take next if they have a simple spreadsheet of contacts, sorted by name or date of the last communication.
So, build a good B2B sales pipeline to grow your revenues and close enough deals to meet the quota.
Improving team’s sales specialization
Doing tasks at the top of the funnel will require different skills as compared to those at the bottom. One person won’t be equally efficient at fulfilling all the tasks. Hence, a sales team with sales specialization is required that focus on each detail of the B2B sales funnel stages.
Sales managers work in the middle and late stages. If your sales funnel goes beyond the purchase stage then hire a project manager for fulfilling the needs of your existing clients. So, hire the right people, and equip them with strong sales knowledge and skills.
Relevant Communication with the Prospect In Every Stage
Every potential client wants to seek and obtain relevant information that strengthens their buying decision and helps in moving to the next stage. They have three main sources for this- sales team, content provided by the organization, and review of previous clients.
For example, if your sales reps include pricing information instead of mentioning the qualifying questions in the first email outreach, then they won’t get many replies.
There should be well-defined B2B sales process guidelines that ensure what information to deliver to the prospect at a certain stage.
Calculate the Conversion Rates Constantly
You should work on strengthening the weaker sides of your business. This will help your potential buyers choose you among other providers.
Moreover, it is important to analyze your B2B sales funnel for monitoring the number of buyers at each stage. You should calculate the conversion rate to see where your teams have done brilliant work.
Conversion rate = Number of potential buyers at the stage N+1 (remaining) / Number of potential buyers at the stage N
For instance, on May 5th, 2021, you reached out to 100 leads. And by March 2, 2021, you set appointments with 10 of them.
Your conversion rate = 10/100 = 10%
Follow the Process and Relate to It
Sales teams often forget about finding the balance between following a process and relating to it.
For instance, it can be annoying to a client if a mobile/Internet provider is trying to upsell some new home Internet solution and not even asking if you own a workplace or need this type of service.
So, sellers should not act like bots and ask questions to find out more information about your prospect. You can even do surveys among your existing clients to analyze your conversion rates at each stage. This will help in tracking the reactions of your buyers.
Marketing and Sales Teams Alignment
B2B buyers research independently online before purchasing anything. Nowadays, buyers have more control over the buying process of any product. As a result, it has become longer and harder for decision-makers and vendors to make the sale.
But, who creates this value for your products and services? Well, the marketing team studies the market, competitors, buyer personas, and unique selling position (USP).
Then the sales team delivers value to the prospects by leveraging every communication channel with your potential customers.
Your company will succeed if your sales and marketing teams communicate and cooperate to drive value in the first place.
Content Customization and Other Activities
Your sales process should be based on customers’ needs. A sales model working for the financial sector might fail in the automobile industry.
For instance, demonstrations are good for tangible products such as software. On the other hand, case studies are better for service providers.
So, customize the activities at each stage to provide the best buying experience to your customers. Study the behaviors of your buyers regularly and cater to their needs accordingly.
As the selling process is flexible, hence strategic or tactical changes in your sales funnel will require fewer resources. These resources could be time, money, and effort.
Provide knowledge to the buyers that they can’t find elsewhere. This helps in building trust between you and your potential customer and eventually influencing the purchasing decision.
Organize the B2B sales funnel
Create a database or spreadsheet that covers the following aspects:
- Purchase funnel stages, describing substages relevant to your industry.
- Sales activities at each stage such as tasks, sales staff responsibilities, software, and tools needed at this stage,
- Marketing activities such as tasks, marketing staff responsible, software and tools
- Outsourcing options requirement.
- Conversion rates every month.
- Activities for staying in touch with the prospects.
- Analysis of your key strengths and weaknesses.
- Forecasts Projections.
- Suggestions on adjusting each funnel stage to address the buyer’s needs.