The B2B sales funnel navigates potential clients from just hearing about you to becoming loyal customers. But it’s not a straight line; people might hop around. And this guide will help you build this funnel most effectively.
You must mix marketing mojo, personalized content, and smooth sales moves in this sales pipeline. It’s the game plan for understanding, wooing, and making happy customers out of other businesses in this competitive playground.
Now, keep scrolling to learn how to do this!
What is A B2B Sales Funnel?
A B2B (business-to-business) sales funnel is a strategic framework that outlines how B2B buyers navigate before becoming customers.
These sales funnels are typically tailored to specific products/services but commonly adhere to the AIDA principle.
Understanding that B2B buyers seldom follow a linear trajectory through the sales funnel is crucial. Instead, they navigate back and forth, oscillating near a purchase decision.
This non-linear progression is part of the norm in B2B sales funnels. It necessitates a flexible and adaptive approach to effectively guide potential customers through the sales pipeline until they reach a purchasing decision.
Why is the B2B sales funnel important?
The B2B sales funnel gives your marketing campaigns a clear plan to take potential customers from just hearing about you to becoming regular buyers.
It also helps you understand what your customers want at each step in your marketing campaigns. Knowing this, you can give suitable info and support, making existing customers happier.
Besides, the sales funnel is a valuable tool for tracking and analyzing customer interactions. It allows you to identify strengths and weaknesses in your sales strategy. Then, you can refine marketing tactics and optimize resources.
Why Are The B2B Sales Funnel Not A Sales Pipeline?
There are many phrases with the same meaning as the B2B sales funnel. But, those equivalent phrases do not include the sales pipeline.
The B2B Sales Funnel focuses on the potential customer’s needs, from where the salesperson takes action to meet sales and revenue goals with sales and marketing efforts.
To better understand why the above concept isn’t a sales pipeline, let’s take a look at the following stages:
- Awareness: Your probable customers will first come across your product or service at this step. Through the media, through word of mouth, or any other method, customers will know the service’s existence and be interested in continuing to learn.
- Interests: When interest is in the above step, your probable customers may become more interested in the product or service. From there, spend more time researching your products and those of your competitors to decide which is the most favorable address.
- Decide: In this step, probable customers can delve deeper into your company and product. Not only stopping evaluation and research, but customers may also make calls to ask for advice before making a final decision.
- Action: Ultimately, depending on the outcome of the stages ahead and personal preferences and needs, your potential customer can decide to purchase or refuse to use the product, service, or service.
As can be seen, not all of your probable customers will go through all of the above steps. That is also why the marketing funnel accurately represents a B2B Sales Funnel: wide top, narrow bottom.
B2B Vs. B2C Sales Funnel
First, take a look at this brief B2B vs. B2C sales funnel table:
|B2B Sales Funnel
|B2C Sales Funnel
|Multiple decision-makers in businesses
|Often a single consumer’s decision
|Longer and more complex
|Shorter and more straightforward
|Emphasis on building professional relationships
|Focus on creating emotional connections and quick decisions
|Logic-driven, based on business needs
|Emotion-driven, based on personal desires
Let’s make this clear!
In B2B, businesses sell to other businesses. The sales process is longer and more complicated because decisions involve multiple people in a company.
Imagine a company selling project management software to other businesses. First, they make these businesses know about the software, then show how great it is, make them really want it, and finally, work with the vital people in those businesses to make a deal.
On the other hand, B2C is when businesses sell straight to individual consumers. It’s a quicker sales pipeline, all about feelings and fast decisions.
Think of a clothing store selling online. They make people know about their clothes using social media in the awareness stage. Then, they offer deals to make them want the clothes and make it easy to buy online.
Now you know the difference between these two sales funnels. Let’s move to six B2B sales funnel stages!
6 Stages Of B2B Sales Funnel
The B2B funnel has six main stages. Each requires a tailored strategy, combining sales and marketing efforts to address the specific needs and concerns of the target audience.
Stage 1: Awareness
The awareness stage is the starting point of your marketing campaign. It’s when people first hear about your company. They might not know what you have yet, but they start to know your brand.
The marketing team often handles this first stage. In some cases, the sales teams can join in, especially with the help of social media these days.
Stage 2: Interest
People begin to get curious about what you offer in the interest stage. They’re not ready to purchase, but they tend to learn more.
Marketing teams typically handle this interest stage, too. They create content to educate potential customers and spark interest. The sales team can also help by providing information.
Stage 3: Evaluation
Now, potential customers are serious. They are officially qualified leads and spend time checking different solutions.
In this stage, sales and marketing departments work together to present products/services in the best light and address specific customer needs.
Successful navigation of the evaluation stage builds trust and positions the business favorably in the decision-making process. It should pave the way for the next stage, the purchase stage.
Stage 4: Decision (Engagement)
At this point, prospective buyers narrow their choices and decide what to buy. It’s when sales teams take charge, using the authority and respect they’ve earned to influence prospects. Trust-building is vital in this decision stage.
Stage 5: Purchase
This funnel stage is exciting when potential customers turn to paying customers. In B2B marketing funnels, where the buying process can be lengthy, reaching this stage is a significant achievement.
Here, sales teams play a central role, ensuring the sales cycle is as seamless and straightforward as possible. You must remove any obstacles or friction that might deter a prospective customer from completing the purchase.
Stage 6: Loyalty
The loyalty stage is the ongoing relationship-building phase after a customer has bought. It’s a critical point where you keep new customers satisfied and encourage them to continue using your products/services.
To reach this, both sales and customer support departments collaborate to ensure paying clients receive excellent post-purchase experiences.
Studies show that a small increase in customer retention can significantly boost company profits. So, this stage can maximize customer satisfaction and turn one-time buyers into loyal advocates for the business.
Top 3 Online B2B Sales Funnel Template
To better understand how sales teams can apply the above stages to your sales process, check out these B2B sales samples below:
It is the most accessible Sale Funnel to use, and it’s also ideal if you’re offering a product or service with no fixed costs.
With this marketing funnel, you don’t need to sell services to customers immediately. Instead, you will ask interested people to fill out an application form with personal information, including contact methods.
After this step, sales teams will contact the potential customer to learn more about the customer’s needs and provide information about services and product prices.
Lead Generation Funnel
As the name suggests, the success of this type of funnel will depend heavily on the ebook – a magnet that captures the interest of a potential customer.
But to attract customers, your eBook needs to be valuable enough to solve a problem that interested people have.
After your probable customers are attracted to and download the book, sales reps can send them promotional emails. It would help if you also continued to provide free helpful information via email to give your customers an impression of your products or services.
A Webinar Funnel is much more effective than the above two sales funnels.
Because all you need to do is create a webinar that attracts participants. You can then make suggestions at the end of the workshop.
The more authentic a conference is, the more it will attract audiences and people willing to follow through on the suggestions you make at the end.
How To Create A B2B Sales Funnel?
Below are seven steps to build the optimal B2B sales funnel based on my experience. They’ll definitely come in handy for your business marketing strategy!
Step 1: Define Goals
The initial step in building a robust B2B sales funnel is to clearly determine what you aim to achieve with your sales funnel.
Are you primarily focused on closing more deals, or do you have specific metrics in mind, such as enhancing conversion rate or fostering repeat sales? Any clear objective is a good starting point.
Once you’ve outlined your goals, the next step is to choose key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure and track your progress.
With well-defined goals and associated KPIs, you can optimize your team’s performance and ensure your funnel is purposeful and effective.
Step 2: Identify Your ICP
In the second step of building a B2B sales funnel, you figure out exactly who you want to sell to. Ask questions like:
- What is your target market?
- What are your target customers’ goals and pain points?
- How can your products/services help them overcome these challenges?
The goal here is to create what’s called an ICP. It helps you focus your efforts when you’re looking for prospective buyers.
To create your ICP, I recommend looking at your current buyers. Find out what they share in common. Take those traits and make a simple template.
That way, you’re targeting companies likely to get the most out of your offer based on what’s already working with your current successful customers.
Step 3: Identify Sales Channels
In step 3, you must find the best ways to reach your potential buyers. We call these ways ‘sales channels.’ How can you do this?
First things first, understand where your potential buyers hang out. Are they on social media, checking emails, or maybe attending events? My tip here is not to stick to just one channel. Instead, use a mix of online and offline options.
Whatever channels you use, make sure they work well on mobile; this is super important for reaching busy professionals who are always on the go.
Don’t forget to implement tools to track and analyze the performance of each channel. This data-driven approach helps you understand which channels are most effective and where adjustments might be needed.
Step 4: Decentralize Sales & Marketing Teams
It’s no secret that every company talks about decentralizing their marketing and sales teams, but not all achieve it. The most successful B2B sales funnels happen when sales and marketing teams are like two peas in a pod.
Marketing is a matchmaker, bringing in the right customers and creating killer content. On the other hand, the sales department takes this content, delivers it at the perfect moment, and seals the deal.
So, to build an effective funnel, your sales and marketing departments need to sync up seamlessly. When they’re on the same page, there’s a steady flow of leads that sales can smoothly turn into satisfied customers.
Step 5: Create Supporting Content For Different Stages
Before diving into this step, you need to know your funnel inside out. Understand each stage, from when potential customers learn about you to the glorious moment they become paying customers.
Now, create content that fits each stage like a glove. Wondering about the content type to use? Mix it up! I mean, use different content types (blogs, YouTube videos, webinars, etc.) to keep things interesting.
- In the awareness stage, eye-catching content like engaging social media posts or a captivating introduction video can introduce your brand.
- Move to the interest stage with more detailed content, perhaps a blog post or infographic showcasing how your product or service solves problems.
- As they enter the evaluation stage, provide content like case studies or product demonstrations highlighting your company’s offerings in the best possible light.
- When it’s decision time, hit them with content such as customer testimonials or authoritative whitepapers to reinforce trust.
- Finally, for the purchase stage, make it super easy for them with content like a straightforward product demo or a seamless checkout guide.
When you deal with this, focus on consistency. Your content should smoothly guide prospective customers through the whole customer journey. If they see a familiar style and message at every stage, it keeps them on the path.
Then, keep an eye on how your content is performing. If something’s not clicking, tweak it. Use data to understand what works best and refine your content accordingly.
Step 6: Nurture
Nurturing involves staying engaged with leads throughout their journey, offering suitable support and information at every turn.
To handle this, tailor your communication. For example, send personalized emails, not generic blasts. If a potential customer downloaded a whitepaper on your website, follow up with related content or a webinar invitation. Make them feel like you get their needs.
In this step, timing is everything. Don’t bombard leads, but don’t disappear, either. Plan customer touchpoints strategically. Well-timed email marketing campaigns or a follow-up call after a webinar can keep your brand fresh in their minds.
Remember, nurturing takes time. Not every lead will convert immediately. Be patient, build trust, and stay top-of-mind so that your brand is the first they think of when they’re ready to make a move.
Step 7: Automate
Have you ever wished you could consistently engage with your audience without being glued to your computer? Automation makes it happen!
Scheduled emails, personalized messages based on customer actions, and timely follow-ups keep your brand in their minds; no manual effort is required. Some tools you can try are Clickfunnels, Kartra, and Systeme.io.
Also, leverage analytics tools like Google Analytics or Kissmetrics to gain intelligent insights into customer behavior.
They’ll help you make informed decisions for optimizing your funnel continuously.
Don’t forget to sync up your automation tools with your CRM system. This way, you can ensure customer data stays fresh across platforms, avoiding mix-ups.
B2B Sales Funnel Examples
The 3 typical sales funnel types and the 5 main growth steps above are pretty simple. The sales team may even question whether the above knowledge brings the desired effect.
To find the answer to the above question, let’s go to case studies – businesses that have been successful with B2B Sales Funnel:
1. Neil Patel Digital
Neil Patel is one of the most successful digital marketers. He is one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under 35 years old by the UN (United Nations) and has been awarded a Congressional Recognition from both houses for his work.
Neil Patel’s blog is one of my favorite channels to learn online marketing strategy, especially SEO. Neil is a co-founder of:
- Crazy Egg
- and NP Digital
Take a look at the NP Digital funnel. It’s an application funnel with one simple landing page.
After filling out the application form, the sales team will make a call.
Depending on the answers of potential customers, such as “Monthly Marketing Budget” and “Revenue”, you can understand more about them and create a plan that is as good for your customers as possible.
GoCardless is a platform that helps you easy to collect payments from customers around the world and is trusted by over 70.000 big and small businesses.
With GoCardless, you easily create and manage:
- Recurring payment
- International payouts
- Bank pay
Depending on your needs, they provide various plans. The best part is you can customize your volume-based pricing.
Here’s how the first page of the funnel looked like:
Like NP Digital funnel, this company also uses an application form to collect customer information. Based on the payments that you need to collect, they will provide a suitable plan for your company.
Suppose if people filled the form but didn’t make a purchase, Gocardless could re-target them on Facebook or Google ads, send email follow-up, or even make a sales call.
3. Rob Cuesta
Rob Cuesta is the owner of a publishing company for business professionals. He uses a simple lead funnel to collect leads and generate sales online.
On the first page of the Rob Cuesta b2b sales funnel, he gives away an ebook for free to exchange email addresses.
After clicking on the button, potential customers would be shown a pop-up asking for their contact information.
The thank-you page is a great way to build engagement with potential customers.
Rob gives them an ebook and shows how they can download it and participate in his video webinar about getting more leads and deals from their books!
And then, he offered a free 30-minute consultation call.
As a result, Rob Cuesta has access to a wide range of business professionals while attracting quite a few to become his customers.
Sales Funnel For B2B Tips
To build a Sales Funnel and compete with many existing competitors, in addition to the basic knowledge, you also need to equip yourself with the following tips:
Understand your ideal customer
With B2B, your audience is not a single buyer but two entities: the business and the decision-maker. And if you want to sell, you have to convince the decision-maker.
There are two possible scenarios here:
- First, if the person making the decision is also the company’s owner, the company’s and owner’s goals will align.
- If it is the other way around, the two dreams may differ. In this case, you have to address both the company’s and the decision-maker’s goals.
Make sure the rewards you offer are valuable.
For potential customers to be interested and leave contact information, the sales team must give them precious information and rewards, primarily when pursuing the Ebook Funnel Sales model.
The books you provide must be attractive enough so that customers can not help but download and implement your offers.
In addition, you should also note that your target audience is people with highly specialized knowledge, not beginners. Therefore, the rewards sales and marketing teams give need to be helpful and valuable.
Offer free consultation in 30 minutes
Communication is always the best way for you to exchange information and learn about your potential customers’ needs effectively.
Therefore, once a sales rep has a method of contacting customers, you should invite them to a free consultation. Remember, you need to schedule in advance and make the offer tactfully.
The best time to make an offer is after a customer has experienced your rewards and truly appreciates the value the bonus offers.
Optimize B2B Sales Funnel
To make your funnel give the best results, you must constantly tweak and improve it. Here’s how you can do that without getting too complicated:
Analyze Performance And Adjust Continuously
Use analytics tools (Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, etc.) to gather data at each stage of your funnel, including metrics like conversion rates, customer drop-offs, and time spent at each stage.
I recommend experimenting with different approaches using A/B testing. Change your emails, your website landing page, or buttons and see what works best. Learn from it and keep making your funnel better.
Also, regularly sketch out your customer journey on paper. See where things might be slowing down or where people might be getting stuck. Make changes to make it smoother.
Improve Content Marketing And Experience
One thing to remember throughout your content marketing is to create content that speaks directly to your customers at each stage. Talk about their problems and how your products/services can solve them. Make it personal and relevant.
Regarding user experience, ensure your website and pages are easy to use. If it’s confusing, people might leave. A straightforward and clean design keeps people interested and engaged.
Optimize Marketing Channels And Sales Cycle
Regularly assess the performance of your digital marketing channels. Identify which channels generate the most qualified leads and focus your efforts on those that provide the best return on investment.
Also, work closely with your sales team. Understand where they might be struggling or where people often say no.
Develop Relationships With Customers
The best way to check the results of your marketing funnel is to get feedback from people who bought from you. Ask them how their journey was, what issues they faced, and why they chose you.
And don’t vanish after they buy. Send follow-up emails, ask for their thoughts, and maybe give them special deals. Remember, keeping in touch makes them want to come back.
You now know how to rock a successful B2B sales funnel in seven steps. Once you build one, it’ll be your secret weapon for navigating the twists and turns of the business landscape.
Don’t forget to continuously optimize and adapt to evolving market trends. This way, you establish a foundation for long-term partnerships, fostering growth and profitability.
Wish you success in building your sales funnel!
How Much Does It Cost To Create A B2B Sales Funnel?
The cost of creating a B2B sales funnel varies widely based on complexity, tools, and resources. It can range from a few hundred dollars for basic setups to several thousand for more sophisticated, custom-built funnels.
Where Can I Create A B2B Sales Funnel For Free?
Do I Really Need A B2B Sales Funnel?
Yes. A B2B sales funnel is crucial for guiding potential customers through the buying journey. It streamlines the buying process, helps in understanding paying customer behavior, and increases the likelihood of conversions.
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