Maximize your B2B sales success with our expert guide to B2B sales funnels. Learn how to optimize strategies for effective sales performance.
Whether you’re a sales professional, salesforce administrator, or business owner, knowing the basics of the sales funnel helps you optimize the sales process and convert more sales.
Understanding your B2B sales strategy and effectiveness gives you a competitive advantage.
In addition, looking at the latest statistical reports will give you insight into building a fantastic sales funnel and deriving results from sales funnel efforts.
In this post, I’ll explain the meaning of a sales funnel and different B2B sales funnel stages and offer you a step-by-step guide to creating an effective sales funnel.
What Do B2B Sales Mean?
Business to Business (B2B) sales is a sales model that entails a business selling products and services to another business, meaning two businesses deal with one another.
B2B sales are contrasted to B2C(Business to Consumer)sales which involve selling to individual consumers.
Such sales are more complex and are characterized by substantial transaction amounts, a multi-stakeholder approval process, and a longer sales cycle.
5 B2B Sales Funnel Stages
Depending on the B2B sales strategy, B2B sales funnel stages vary from one business to another. However, as a rule of thumb, the basic structure of a B2B sales funnel follows five key stages: awareness, interest, evaluation, engagement, and purchase. Let’s go further and explore these stages.
Stage 1: The Awareness Stage of the Sales Funnel
This is the very first stage of the sales funnel where your leads become aware of your brand due to a relatable pain point that your brand can solve. When the customers can see that your brand can meet their requirements, they take interest in your brand and you can initiate a relationship with them.
In B2B transactions, such relationships are built through cold calling, emailing, or simply by the word of mouth.
Stage 2: The Interest Stage of the Sales Funnel
Once your prospects get to know about you and you’ve striked their pain point by offering possible solutions, they will instantly get interested in your brand. They will become more curious about the solutions that you’re offering and will start researching about them to gather more information.
At this stage, you build trust and nurture the prospects to the next stage through activities like guest posting and webinars.
Stage 3: The Evaluation Stage of the Sales Funnel
This is a stage where the prospects will come in contact with you to evaluate your products and solutions. So, you’ve been successful at getting prospects attention. After that is the time to increase their interest and move them towards the further stages. You need to be ready with a sales pitch and impress the customer by supporting your product and telling the prospects as to why they must invest their time and money in it. You need to give them reasons to believe that your solution is the best fit.
Some of the ways and strategies used to bring success at this stage of sales funnel are presenting pricing pages, landing pages, customer reviews and testimonials to the prospects.
Stage 4: The Engagement Stage of the Sales Funnel
This is the stage where the interactions go deeper, and you talk more to the prospects and get a deeper understanding of what exactly they’re looking for in the product. Moreover, with that understanding, you show them the solutions that your product offers by giving live demos or product walkthrough. This stage also involves email marketing campaigns for further engaging the prospects.
Stage 5: The Purchase Stage of the Sales Funnel
This is the final stage of the sales funnel where your prospects will make their decision. Your focus must be on making them take a positive buying decision so that your weeks and months of hard work converts and makes the prospects a paying client.
Pro tip: Post-purchase engagement is critical to keep your customers happy and return for more purchases. So, once you convert a prospect, keep your focus on nurturing them.
7 Steps to Create an Effective B2B Sales Funnel
While there is no perfect sequence for creating a 100% effective sales funnel, there are simple steps through which you can ensure establishing a sales funnel fit for your business. A well-designed B2B sales funnel will help you generate quality leads and make informed decisions about your business. The following are actionable steps to creating an effective B2B sales funnel.
1. Understand What Your Customers Want
Understanding customer behaviour is imperative to building a good sales funnel. You can start planning your products only after you analyze what your customers want. Research and analytics are the most essential tools here.
Study your customer behaviour by focusing on how they use your site and for how long. You must get insights into what your customers are doing on your site, what they’re looking at, where they’re clicking, etc., All of this information will help you strategize what to market to the customers.
2. Capture Your Audience’s Attention
Your audience has several options and limited time to explore them all. So, you have to be unique and innovative and present yourself in a manner that instantly gets their attention. Plan your content well and ensure that it is engaging and something that your audience wants to read. Additionally, offer your audience downloadable lead magnets to entice them and make them more interested in your products.
3. Nurture relationships
Once you’ve got the attention of your audience, you need to focus on making a strong relationship with them. So, you must work on nurturing the relationship you have established at this stage by constantly maintaining their interest and attention.
You can do it through a well-planned drip email marketing campaign with relevant content. It will keep your prospects engaged and they’ll healthily interact with your website. You can also use the Customer Relationship Management(CRM) tool to track what your prospects are mainly engaging with.
4. Prepare for the Meeting
Your first impression counts. When your qualified leads are ready to move down the sales funnel, it’s crucial to show you understand their unique problems. This is where customer surveys, RFP information, and other metrics come in handy. This information helps you prepare adequately for your first meeting and make a better impression.
5. Follow-up Regularly
The follow-up process helps you get closer to closing the deal and optimizes your sales funnel. You can set calendar reminders or notifications to make regular follow-ups to understand where your prospects fall on the sales funnel.
6. Close the Deal
Convincing the potential customer to make a purchase is not a walk in the park. You need to have understood their pain points, answer their questions and keep the relationship alive even if they don’t buy right away. So, keep working consistently on building and maintaining the relationship and you’ll eventually close the deal.
7. Optimize Your Funnel
Optimizing your sales can drive revenue growth by moving a high percentage of prospects through the B2B sales funnel stages. Ensure your prospects are engaged and interested irrespective of which stage of the funnel they are in.
5 Strategies To Improve B2B Sales Performance
Improving your sales performance does not require expensive software or fancy tactics. It all comes down to the basics.
Here are five key strategies to help you improve your B2B sales performance.
Imagery and video content are great ways to capture attention and keep your site visitors engaged. Create relevant, compelling, and straightforward explainer videos to convey your messages. Most businesses use this type of video to promote their products or services effectively. It is recommended to invest in an explainer video production company to help you produce professional and high-quality videos.
Social media offers unparalleled opportunities to learn more about your prospects before contacting them. Social media lets you identify key decision-makers and join meaningful conversations to generate warm leads.
Embrace Content Marketing
Having great and valuable content helps you establish a strong brand identity and online presence.
Do Your Research
Conduct research on what your prospects are interested in to avoid wasting time on companies you have no chance with. Listen to the latest podcasts, read or watch industry news, and constantly go through various sites to keep up with the latest trends.
Have a Lead Nurturing System
As discussed above, a high percentage of leads require nurturing before they make a purchase. Therefore, encourage your leads throughout the sales funnel stages.
Are You Ready to Engage Your Prospects With An Effective B2B Sales Funnel?
The selling process is an essential and complex part of many businesses. For a successful B2B sales strategy, you’ll need to build trust and a healthy relationship with your potential customers.
Almost every business can build a sales funnel; however, not every business understands the process of making prospects reach the final stages without overselling.
While one business can have various B2B2 sales funnels, the general user journey remains the same. By understanding the above stages and implementing the sales funnel steps and strategies, we hope you’ll create a powerful and effective sales funnel to grow your business.