The B2B sales funnel concept is one of the very first concepts sales and marketing professionals learn. Although many feel that the B2B sales funnel concept is on its way to extinction, we disagree. Any sales professional aiming at making it BIG should know about ways to build and optimise a B2B sales funnel.
This article plans to give you a comprehensive overview of the concept of the B2B sales funnel along with practical strategies to optimise it. So, let’s get started!
What is a B2B Sales Funnel?
The B2B sales funnel is a concept that helps you understand the potential stages your prospective client follows before making a purchase decision in a business-to-business (B2B) setup. As a sales professional, you need to interact with the prospects at each stage to persuade them.
The structure of a B2B sales funnel involves three different aspects, namely top, middle and bottom.
The top region
The top of the B2B sales funnel is about awareness and attraction. It's when prospects typically try to look for your content. It's a vast part of the funnel and includes casual exploratory activities like reading blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, watching videos, and listening to your podcasts.
The middle region
If the prospects like your content, they’ll slide into the middle region of the sales funnel, which is about engagement. Here, interested prospects may download your resources, sign up for your webinars or share their contact details. Any details like email address, contact number, organisation’s name, etc. must go to your sales team right away, so that they can make the most of it.
The bottom region
This is the narrowest region of your B2B sales funnel. Here the prospects may sign up for a product demo or free trial. Once the demo is over, the prospects make their final purchase decision on whether or not to collaborate with you.
How to create an effective B2B sales funnel?
Any B2B sales pipeline funnel involves four stages. Let’s get a brief idea of these stages before we move on to the building part:
Stage 1: Awareness
This stage resides at the top region of a B2B sales funnel. This is when a prospect hears about your company, its products, and its services for the first time. And to explore further, they may visit your website, read your content or watch your videos.
Stage 2: Interest
The prospects who move to the next stage of the sales funnel are the ones who find your products and services interesting. They try to investigate your brand further. Also, this is the very stage where they compare your offerings with that of the competitors to learn who offers the best value at the minimum price.
Stage 3: Desire
Here the prospects have all the Desire they need, and they’re all set to make a decision. They typically engage in discovery calls or watch demos at this stage to better understand the features, negotiate pricing and so on. This is the stage where they make their final decision.
Stage 4: Action
Based on the above stages, the prospect either selects you and becomes a customer or rejects the offer.
Now that you know about the B2B sales funnel stages, let us discuss how you can build an effective one for your brand:
1. Get a detailed understanding of your customers’ demands
You can’t plan your B2B conversion funnel without knowing who the customers are and what they want. So, before building a B2B sales funnel, understand what your customers and prospects are looking for. For long-term growth, focusing on customers’ needs is the ultimate key.
Here’s what you should do to understand customers’ expectations:
- Start tracking your target audience segments on social media. Keep an eye on their recent activities, such as likes, shares, etc. to find what are they looking for.
- Perform in-depth analyses of your website on Google Analytics. Dive into your analytics like top-performing pages, how much time your audiences spend on these pages, and how they navigate your website.
- Track your email campaigns. Focus on metrics like email open rates, CTR, etc. to identify the kinds of content the target users expect.
2. Use a sales acceleration software
There’s no point in building a B2B sales funnel with less interested prospects. Instead, use sales acceleration software to populate your B2B pipeline with valuable leads. Such software helps you with the following:
- It helps you identify the convertible leads, so you don’t waste your time chasing the weak leads that are least likely to convert and instead focus on the ones with the highest potential for success.
- You can follow a data-driven approach to handle the difficult prospects and build effective strategies to convert them faster.
- With greater visibility into customers’ intent, you’ll be able to put a strong lead conversion strategy in place. As a result, customers’ rejections can easily get converted into their acceptance.
3. Ease communication with prospects in each stage of the B2B sales funnel
Ensure that there is open communication with your prospects at each stage of the B2B sales funnel. That’s the key to nurture and persuade the leads to purchase your products and services. There are three ways to structure your communication process:
- Asking your sales reps to engage in calls with prospects
- Using content marketing and social media marketing through various channels
- Asking the prospects to provide their unbiased reviews
Make sure to create a transparent communication process where all questions from your prospects get answered.
4. Follow-up with prospects regularly
Follow-ups are crucial to building a B2B sales funnel.
Did you know that 80% of sales require up to 5 follow-up calls?
Following up is the key to retain valuable leads. However, the follow-up process should not get annoying for the prospects. That may lead to missing out on strong sales opportunities.
Here’s what you should do to make the follow-up process effective:
- Set up e-meetings, update reminders on calendars
- Don’t call very frequently. Call only when it is urgent
- Remove consistently unresponsive prospects from your B2B pipeline
Also, don’t forget to follow up with your existing customers.
5. Closely align your sales and marketing teams
Make sure that your sales and marketing teams are well connected. There should be no conflict between these two teams on who will dominate the B2B sales funnel. Instead, they should collaborate to speed up your lead generation and conversion process. Both teams should have a common goal, i.e. to generate, nurture and convert leads.
3 Challenges you can face while building a B2B Sales Funnel
Building a sales funnel is not that easy. A lot of effort goes into it. Here’re some challenges that you might face in this process:
1. Standing out in extreme market competition
The B2B market is highly competitive. That makes the creation and maintenance of a B2B sales funnel challenging. If you’re not putting in data-driven inbound efforts, you may end up losing to your competitors. Additionally, buyers’ behaviours keep changing and you need to create or adjust your touchpoints based on the changing nature of buyers, which can be challenging.
2. Generating and nurturing quality leads
Lead generation is another roadblock in the way of sales funnel creation. Did you know that 61% of marketers consider lead generation the biggest challenge in building a B2B sales funnel? Many B2B industries are getting close to saturation, leaving the sales and marketing professionals with declining leads.
3. Tracking the relevant metrics
Many times, sales reps are confused about which metrics to track. They are not adequately aware of which metrics can make or break their B2B sales funnels. The result is the inability to build a proper sales strategy that can increase ROI.
Optimise your B2B Sales Funnel with SalesKen
Wondering how to optimise your SaaS sales funnel stages? SalesKen’s sales acceleration tool can help you with that. Many organizations have improved their sales funnel by 70% with the help of SalesKen. Here’s how we do it:
- In-depth sales call analysis, to identify the areas of improvement for your reps
- Build a data-driven approach and close more sales deals with a high-performance Emotion Detection Engine
- Interact and nurture valuable leads with maximum buying intent
- Build winning sales strategies with an in-built Good Call Engine
So, what are you wondering? Get started with SalesKen’s Sales Acceleration Software today and optimise the different stages of your B2B SaaS funnel.