Have you ever wondered how top-performing B2B companies effortlessly guide their prospects through the sales process? Are you a B2B business looking to convert more businesses into leads, sales appointments and clients?
The secret lies in building and optimizing a professional B2B sales funnel.
I’ve been helping clients build successful B2B sales funnels for over a decade. In this article, I’ll share with you what I’ve learned from building high-converting sales funnels.
Want to see a real-life example of a high-converting B2B sales funnel? If so, check out my sales funnel here.
For your convenience, here is a quick summary of this article:
- A high-converting B2B sales funnel uses a video sales letter (see an example)
- Split testing a B2B sales funnel will help you improve results over time
- Following up with leads from a B2B sales funnel will maximize your conversions
- You will need to use a B2B sales funnel builder
Check out my Free Masterclass to learn how to build a B2B sales funnel that converts strangers into clients… On autopilot!
What is the importance of a B2B sales funnel?
A well-structured B2B sales funnel serves as a bridge between marketing and sales teams.
- Marketing focuses on the top of the funnel, attracting potential customers.
- Sales teams concentrate on the bottom of the funnel, converting leads into paying clients.
A B2B sales funnel allows both teams to focus on the same objectives and work in tandem to achieve them.
Aligning marketing and sales efforts also ensures a more efficient sales cycle. This helps businesses target the right markets and improve lead nurturing.
What are the key components of a B2B sales funnel?
To build a successful B2B sales funnel you will need:
1. B2B sales funnel software
There are lots of great B2B sales funnel tools to choose from. I recommend using an all-in-one B2B funnel builder for best results.
Kartra allows me:
- Host landing pages
- Track video analytics
- Manage leads in a CRM
- Send automated follow up emails
A CRM that tracks your business deals and revenue from new clients will help you measure the success of your B2B marketing campaign.
2. An opt-in page that targets other businesses
A good opt-in page will have:
- A big painful problem you solve for busineses
- Simple layout
- No distractions
- Clear call-to-action
- Free lead magnet (such as a free educational video)
Is your goal to get more sales appointments from your B2B funnel? If so, check out my article on how to build a sales appointment funnel.
3. An educational B2B video sales letter (VSL)
A B2B video sales letter is designed to build trust with your leads. You build trust by explaining how you help your potential clients. The video will motivate leads to want to speak with you to learn more about your B2B product or services.
Here is the thing: As a B2B business, it goes without saying that you will be targeting other businesses. Businesses are used to being targeted by people who promise that they can solve a problem.
Thus, it is getting harder to capture their attention!
Actions speak louder than words.
So, if you can SHOW people how to solve their problems it will build a lot more trust than words alone.
A video allows you to SHOW people how to solve this problem.
Sure, free reports and whitepapers are nice, but a video is a much more powerful way to build trust and get people excited to work with you.
Video is also a lot more engaging. This means people are more likely to consume the free educational content if it’s in a video format vs. a written format.
4. Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of an ideal customer, created from market research and real data about existing customers.
These personas enable businesses to gain insight into their target audience, allowing them to customize their marketing and sales strategies accordingly.
By researching the target audience, collecting data about existing customers, and analyzing the data to recognize patterns and trends, you can create highly effective buyer personas that help you better understand customer pain points and preferences.
5. Content Marketing
Content marketing plays a pivotal role in the B2B sales funnel, facilitating the generation of awareness of the product or service, fostering trust with prospective customers, and encouraging conversions.
Various content marketing strategies are available, such as:
- Blogging (my favorite method)
- YouTube video marketing (my second favorite)
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Content Curation
By analyzing and measuring performance, personalizing communication, and leveraging technology and automation, you can optimize your content marketing efforts to attract and engage prospects throughout the sales funnel.
6. Lead Nurturing and Scoring
Lead nurturing is the process of cultivating and preserving relationships with prospective customers at each stage of the sales funnel, providing them with pertinent information and resources to assist them in making informed decisions.
This can provide businesses with valuable insights into which leads are more likely to convert, thus helping them focus their efforts on the leads with the highest potential for becoming customers.
By customizing their messages to each lead based on their progression in the sales funnel, businesses can ensure that each lead receives the most pertinent and advantageous information, improving the overall effectiveness of their sales process.
What are the stages of a B2B sales funnel?
A B2B sales funnel, also known as a marketing funnel, typically consists of six stages:
These stages guide prospects from their initial discovery of your brand, product, or service, through the buying process, and ultimately to becoming loyal customers.
Understanding each stage of the sales funnel is crucial for businesses to effectively engage with their prospects and convert them into paying customers.
By breaking down the sales funnel into these stages, businesses can better understand the journey their prospects undergo and tailor their marketing and sales efforts accordingly.
This not only ensures a smoother buying process for the prospects but also enables businesses to optimize their sales funnel and achieve better results.
Stage 1: Awareness
The awareness stage is the first stage of the B2B sales funnel, where targeted marketing efforts attract potential customers and raise brand visibility. At this stage, buyers are not actively seeking a solution, but they are cognizant of a potential pain point. Marketing campaigns, content marketing, social media marketing, SEO, PPC, and other inbound marketing tactics are used to help customers become aware of a want, need, or pain point they have in the awareness stage.
By monitoring customer interactions and analyzing data, businesses can recognize potential areas for improvement and adjust their marketing and sales strategies accordingly.
Stage 2: Interest
In the interest stage, prospects actively seek information and solutions to their problems, engaging with educational content and resources. They are now aware of their pain points and are researching potential solutions to address them.
By providing valuable resources and educational content, businesses can capture the attention of their prospects and guide them to the next stage of the sales funnel.
Stage 3: Consideration
The consideration stage sees prospects entering the evaluation stage, where they assess different products and vendors, comparing features, pricing, and benefits.
During this stage, businesses should focus on demonstrating how their solution fits the buyer’s needs optimally.
Email marketing campaigns, free trials, and case studies can be employed to great success.
Sales reps should also bolster credibility during the consideration stage through strategies such as:
Optimizing their pricing page (yes, pricing pages even work for b2b!)
Showcasing case studies
Highlighting product or service features
Displaying customer testimonials
Incorporating trust badges
And featuring product reviews.
It also goes without saying that offering a free demo, free trial or free consultation can help B2B buyers to make a decision and move to the next stage of the process.
Stage 4: Decision
During the decision stage, prospects make their final choice based on the information gathered and the perceived value of the product or service. At this stage, sales reps should be prepared to address any inquiries that may arise and maintain consistent communication at the end of the funnel to remain proactive.
Emphasizing urgency and leveraging negotiations, discounts, and service-level agreements can also help businesses secure the deal.
Stage 5: Action
The action stage involves the actual purchase and the beginning of a long-term customer relationship. Timeliness and expertise remain essential. To ensure a positive relationship with customers post-deal, businesses should remain available to provide reassurance if any questions arise.
By guiding prospects through the sales funnel and addressing their pain points, businesses pave the way for long-term customer relationships and business growth.
What are the best B2B sales funnel models?
Several popular B2B sales funnel models offer unique approaches to guiding prospects through the buying process. These models include the:
- AIDA model
- Forrester B2B sales funnel model
- Heinz Bowtie model
- McKinsey’s loyalty loop
Understanding these popular models can help you choose the most suitable approach for your unique needs and goals, ensuring greater success in converting leads into customers and fostering long-term relationships.
By adopting and optimizing one of these models, you can streamline your sales funnel, enhance lead generation and conversion, and build strong customer relationships, ultimately driving business growth.
The AIDA model is a widely used B2B sales funnel model that stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. It is designed to help guide prospects through the buying process and offers a simple framework for understanding the buyer’s journey.
The AIDA model focuses on the stages of awareness, interest, decision, and action, providing a straightforward and easy-to-follow approach for businesses to structure their sales funnel.
However, a potential drawback of the AIDA model is that it may not take into account the sentiments, opinions, and actions of customers after they have exited the sales funnel.
Forrester B2B Sales Funnel Model
The Forrester B2B sales funnel model is structured similarly to the AIDA framework while taking into account the consumer’s perspective more heavily.
By combining the AIDA framework with the buyer’s journey, the Forrester model offers a more comprehensive view of the sales process, enabling businesses to better understand and address the needs and concerns of their prospects.
Despite its advantages, the Forrester model has been criticized for being too similar to the buyer’s journey and not necessarily taking into account the buyer’s perspective.
Heinz Bowtie Model
The Heinz Bowtie model is a customer-centric approach that emphasizes customer success and lifetime value, encouraging businesses to foster long-term relationships with satisfied customers.
This model promotes a focus on customer success and lifetime value (CLV) for sales organizations, helping them to nurture long-term relationships with their customers and maximize their overall revenue.
The Heinz Bowtie model seeks to illustrate the connection between buyer and brand that occurs following the purchase, emphasizing the importance of maintaining strong customer relationships beyond the initial sale.
McKinsey’s Loyalty Loop
McKinsey’s Loyalty Loop emphasizes loyalty as a fundamental element of the sales funnel, underscoring the significance of retaining and delighting customers.
The Loyalty Loop adds loyalty as a key component to the sales funnel, highlighting the importance of retaining and delighting customers, ultimately driving business growth.
By focusing on customer loyalty, businesses can ensure a more sustainable and profitable revenue stream, as loyal customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and refer new customers to the business.
However, the framework does not provide a solution for addressing the issue of an unsatisfied customer.
Tips for Optimizing Your B2B Sales Funnel
Optimizing your B2B sales funnel is essential for maximizing your marketing and sales efforts, turning more leads into customers, and driving business growth.
You can do this by:
Analyzing and measuring performance
Leveraging technology and automation
When you do this, you can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales funnel, ensuring a smoother and more successful buying process for prospects.
Implementing these tips can help you optimize your B2B sales funnel, resulting in:
- Higher conversion rates
- Improved customer relationships
- Increased revenue
By continually monitoring and adjusting your business-to-business sales funnel, you can stay ahead of your competitors and ensure long-term success in today’s competitive marketplace.
Analyze and Measure Performance
Regularly analyzing and measuring the performance of your sales funnel is crucial for identifying areas for improvement and making data-driven decisions.
By evaluating key performance indicators (KPIs) such as:
- New leads by source
- Estimated revenue by lead source
- Conversion rates
Businesses can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of their sales funnel and make informed decisions to optimize it.
Monitoring customer interactions and analyzing data can also help businesses identify potential areas for improvement and adjust their marketing and sales strategies accordingly, ensuring a more effective and efficient sales process.
Personalizing communication with prospects and customers is essential for building trust, addressing their needs, and guiding them through the sales funnel.
More than 70% of purchasers anticipate personalization as part of the sales process, and personalized emails have a 14% higher click-through rate and convert at a rate of 10%.
By utilizing personalized email marketing, social media engagement, and other communication channels, businesses can create a more tailored experience for individual buyers, resulting in higher conversion rates and improved customer satisfaction.
Leverage Technology and Automation
Utilizing technology and AI automation lead generation tools can streamline processes, enhance lead nurturing, and optimize the overall sales funnel experience.
Marketing automation software like HubSpot, Reamaze, and Endear can help businesses manage leads, opportunities, and customers more efficiently.
By automating the sales funnel, businesses can align marketing and sales efforts, carry out market research, and advertise through content to attract potential leads, all while reducing manual workload and increasing overall efficiency.
Mastering the art of building and optimizing a B2B sales funnel is crucial for driving business growth and staying ahead of the competition.
By understanding the importance of a B2B sales funnel, its key components and stages, and popular models, businesses can tailor their sales and marketing efforts to better serve their target audience and convert leads into loyal customers.
By regularly analyzing performance, personalizing communication, and leveraging technology and automation, businesses can optimize their B2B sales funnel for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
With a well-structured sales funnel in place, you can enjoy higher conversion rates, improved customer relationships, and increased revenue, ensuring long-term success in today’s very competitive marketplace.
For more on effective lead generation, be sure to check out my Free Masterclass. Along with learning cutting-edge lead generation tactics, you will also discover the digital marketing must-know for any business in this day and age!
Ashley Davis (or ‘Ash’ for short) is the CEO & Founder of Skyline Social. For over 15 years, he has been helping business owners with lead generation. Ash specializes in helping businesses get high-quality leads, appointments and clients each month in an automated, scalable and profitable way. You can watch his free Masterclass training to learn more.