In marketing, understanding how your sales funnel works and how the funnel places your business in a positive light is crucial. Both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C) work to help you achieve this.
In this article, our focus is on B2B sales – what it is and how it maximizes the sales process intending to have a successful lead generation and lead conversion.
What Is a B2B Sales and Marketing Funnel and Why to Use It?
A sales funnel is a way to gain critical insight into the target market and existing consumers. Marketers cull these insights from every stage of the sales process.
Be careful not to confuse sales and marketing funnels. While they share only one funnel, positioning the teams that run the funnel makes a difference.
The sales funnel team focuses on the bottom of the funnel – the part where consumers already take action towards what’s deals. People focus on the top – the beginning stages where they build interest (marketing) in the marketing funnel.
Difference Between B2B and B2C Funnels
The main difference between these two types of funnels lies in the intent. While both work on getting insights regarding consumers’ awareness, interest, and eventual purchases, B2C focuses on buyers that purchase items for their families, friends, or themselves.
On the other hand, B2B buyers represent their companies and buy services and products for their company or different business needs.
B2B sales funnels tend to be narrower given the varying purposes and intent. It is more tricky to study the patterns for B2B given the need to target audiences with much accuracy, while B2C has a shorter sales cycle.
The Stages of a B2B Sales Funnel
A B2B sales funnel six stages. One must secure proper implementation, monitoring, and maintenance of this funnel to ensure leads.
Awareness is the first step in the sales funnel when marketers first attract customers – before customers know they need a particular service or product.
So that marketers attract the right people, the assumption is one has done the proper market research, which includes analyzing patterns of interaction with a website, for example.
In this stage, the importance is building trust. Prospective clients must understand that they can seek clarification or ask questions anytime, especially if they encounter a problem.
After building brand awareness and establishing trust, the next step is to sustain a client’s interest in a service or product. What helps is linking a service or product to a client’s existing set of needs.
As such, this stage is all about providing more relevant information. Content marketers need to find ways to send data to prospective clients, information that will highlight a service or product and make it valuable for them.
The intent is the step when marketers continue to pick up from the momentum of making a great impression on a client. In this stage, demos and other sales pitches will make a difference, solidifying the product or service's value to the customer.
While it is easy to assume that this stage is very close to conversion, marketers must be on the cautious side and still provide the needed guidance and encouragement. The service or product that one offers must target the clients’ needs, even problems.
In this particular evaluation stage, the marketers wait for the buyer to do something. Clients, by this stage, already have all the information they need.
As such, evaluation is the part when they just need to check whether the product is the right fit. To ensure that clients pick your product, it is essential that prior work – especially on highlighting your product or service’s advantages over a competitor’s – transpired.
Action is the last stage in the funnel – the part when there is successful lead conversion. Despite the success in sales, part of a marketer’s job is maintaining a good relationship with clients through regular check-ins.
One can argue that part of this stage is getting more leads from the clients’ contacts. Marketers can also consider following up and getting testimonials they can feature for others.
What are The Benefits of a Sales Funnel to B2B Business
As seen through the detailed stages above, these funnels provide a system in place, both for lead generation and lead nurturing before the conversion happens.
On top of that, sales funnels ensure that marketers get the right leads, use the right engagement tactics, and interpret sales data more accurately. Of course, all these help achieve better revenues and improve push-and-pull marketing.
5 Tips on How to Create a B2B Sales Funnel
Beyond knowing the stages in a B2B sales funnel, marketers must understand how to strengthen them. Below are some tips.
Build an Established Sales Process
As teams continue to work on their sales process, the time will come when an established one comes out. Secure this tried and tested approach and just make adjustments based on clientele profile.
Specialize Your Sales Team
Businesses must have both marketing and sales teams. The sales teams need specialization and strengthened training, especially in lead conversion. Doing this helps secure more chances of getting leads and purchases.
Communication Throughout the Process
As in any transaction, communication is critical. Marketing leads must have regular contact with the teams on the ground to note important insights and craft personalized strategies when needed.
Monitor Your Team
Part of communicating with a team is monitoring their progress. Trackers for lead generation and conversion help any team sees whether there is movement in their marketing efforts.
Follow Up With Customers
Lastly, the need to be visible and present among customers is a must. Continue to find ways to strengthen visibility through social media or traditional marketing means.
With the stages detailed above regarding B2B sales and marketing funnel, we hope that marketers and even start-ups have learned a thing or two from our article.
Get that funnel working, and with the B2B funnel stages, there is only one way to go: Conversion and sales. Good luck!