- B2B Sales Funnel: What Is It and How It Works?
- Stages of a High Conversion B2B Sales Funnel
- Building a B2B Marketing Funnel
- B2B Sales Funnel Templates
- Does Automation Cut It In Funnel Management (B2B Services)?
Chances are that you landed on this blog page because you are considering having a funnel, but don’t seem to grasp the idea fully. You are not alone. 80 percent of business owners we talk to know about funnels but they don’t really understand the process that goes into building a successful B2B sales funnel. In this post, we will guide you through the process, the do-s and don’t-s of lead generation and sales, as well as the design of your customer journey. Ready? Here it goes!
B2B Sales Funnel: What Is It and How It Works?
Everyone seems to be talking about funnels these days. But they are only as good as you make them. You can give a chimpanzee the latest iPhone, they will still probably play with it a while before they throw it away. The same goes with marketing funnels. If you don’t know how to use them, you can lose money, and pretty quickly, too.
What Is a B2B Sales Funnel?
A B2B sales funnel is a marketing automation technique that matches the preferred customer journey and increases the revenue and profitability of the business. It is a string of actions that the business takes to encourage its ideal clients to complete certain steps and make a purchase. However, you will always have to take into consideration the preferences of your ideal clients, and design the sales process according to them.
How a B2B Marketing Funnel Works?
A B2B funnel will work differently from a B2C one. It is more fact-based, and less reliant on emotions. The channels you will use for B2B lead generation and sales will be different, as well. You will need to build more credibility in the beginning, and reputation management and branding are a huge part of your funnel. If you don’t have social proof and case studies, you will not gain the trust of business to business customers. A B2B pipeline will be skewed towards building trust and credibility in the beginning, and delivering sales presentations much later down the line.
Simply put, a B2B funnel targets other businesses, so it has to be perfected at the top of the pipeline and potentially supported by a sales team. It also has to integrate with the company’s CRM system.
Stages of a High Conversion B2B Sales Funnel
As every marketing funnel, those designed for attracting business customers will have certain stages. They are somewhat different from the ones you are used to in B2C funnels. Here are the main steps you have to build for a high conversion campaign.
Cold Traffic Engagement – Awareness and Interest
When you target cold traffic (people who don’t know about the solutions you have to offer) or medium-cold traffic (people who know there’s a solution but don’t know what you offer), you will have to make them aware of the solutions and your company.
Depending on your ideal client persona, you will have to first find out where they are and where they are searching for solutions. If you are planning on utilising social media for B2B lead generation, you should make sure that you have an appealing LinkedIn profile and a great website. As a new service, we are now offering social media profile improvements for a one-off cost. This is where you should start before you reach out to your potential clients.
If you are looking to invest in search engine traffic (either paid or organic), you have to be aware of what people are searching for when looking for a solution.
Warming Up Leads
Once you have created awareness and interest, it is time to build the relationship with your B2B market. This is usually done by creating reciprocity. If you give them more value than what they expect, they will be more likely to come back to you and check out other things you offer. You have already shown them your talent, but they might not be convinced yet. That’s why you have to keep on providing value until they are ready to find out more.
This is something that rarely happens on LinkedIn. You know what I mean… when someone sends you a connection request and seconds later you are getting a pitch. That’s not how you handle lead generation on LinkedIn.
To warm up leads, you can take different approaches. Our favourite one is quiz funnels, as it allows us to survey the market, find out about the potential client, and qualify them. During the warming up process, you don’t sell anything; you can offer a chat, but not go for the £s.
After the relationship is established, you will have to give your market a few good reasons why they should be engaging with you. Testimonials, ratings, mentions, your blog posts, and other publications are great for gaining trust.
Would you let a doctor perform a complicated operation on you if you didn’t trust them? The same goes for clients. They consider you as the expert, but they need a lot of confirmation. Having an email or direct messaging sequence that focuses on trust and credibility building, instead of sales before you make a sale will give you not only better conversion rates, but also better customers. So don’t skip this step. With marketing automation, it’s simple to set up a trust-building sequence.
We are massive fans of Russell Brunson, the founder of ClickFunnels. He has a “secret” recipe (well, all his books include the word “secret”), called Hook-Story-Offer. It is a great formula to use when you are looking to close the sale and create a positive emotional connection with your prospect.
The hook should be something that is related to what they are experiencing and something that creates curiosity.
The story should be all about the background of the hook: what you did and how you solved the problem.
However, without actually making them an offer, you will end up entertaining your audience, but not making the sale. That’s why you have to transition from the story to the offer while they are engaged with you.
Of course, – especially if you have invested money in gaining traffic – you will need to maximise your conversions to get a great return on investment. Here are a couple of tips on how to do this:
- Sense of urgency – limited time or number of accounts
- Bonuses – offer a free consultation or complimentary service
- Follow-up emails – in case they were not ready to buy and they need a reminder
- Retargeting ads
Of course, there are more ways of maximising your landing page conversions, and we have covered many of them in this blog post.
Follow-up, Reputation Management
This is a step that many B2B marketing funnel developers forget about. When you get inundated with leads and sales, you might be making a mistake of not following up and not making sure your customers are as happy as they can. You might want to take this opportunity to send out a survey, additional resources, or just help them out. This will keep your customers happy and remind them of you.
Reputation management is something we introduce in every B2B sales funnel we create. You have to build a strong case for yourself if you want to close deals easily. Following up and asking for recommendations is the easiest (and cheapest) way of building your reputation. You will also be able to convince new prospects that you are offering a great product or service, and even get recommendations which are pretty much the cheapest leads you can ever find.
Building a B2B Marketing Funnel
To build a marketing funnel for B2B markets, you have to do two main things: start with the end result in mind and do your research. Without completing these steps, you will never be able to make your funnel get you a positive return on your investment. No matter how good the software and the look of the landing pages is; you have to plan for success.
We have had loads of customers who signed up for ClickFunnels, LeadPages, GrooveFunnels, and other platforms and didn’t succeed. They didn’t have a solid plan and didn’t know how to target the people who are most likely to buy. For that reason, we have recently launched the Fix My Funnel service, offering to pinpoint the development areas of your funnel design, targeting, and offers. If you or anyone you know could benefit from this service, here’s the link to the Fix My Funnel offer which is limited to 100 businesses.
At this stage, you will set goals and define your KPIs. You will also research similar businesses’ funnels (funnel hacking) and get to know your ideal clients. If you are not familiar with this process, here is a guide on funnel hacking. You will visit forums and groups, check questions they are asking, and develop a service or product offer that provides a solution for their most urgent needs. You will also draw the funnel map, design the landing pages, write the copy (variations for AB testing), and choose your traffic sources.
So in a way you have to go “back to the future”.
Start with where you want to end up, and you will be just fine building a B2B sales funnel.
Rolling Out and Testing Phase
Once the planning is complete, it’s time to roll out the funnel and get some traction. You can choose to send cold traffic to the landing page (if you don’t have traffic you own yet). If you already have an audience and an email list, you can send warm traffic to the offer, and will see a higher conversion rate.
The testing phase of the B2B sales funnel will give you information on what works for your market; anything that cannot be predicted during the planning phase. You evaluate the results of the AB testing, and – as we often say – lose the losers and keep the winners. This way, you will have a winning combination of landing pages, follow-up messages, images, and call-to-actions.
Converting Visitors Into Sales Using Relationship Building Techniques
Instead of going for a quick win, you might want to implement relationship selling techniques to improve your conversions and make people very happy about their purchase. This way, you can avoid buyers’ remorse, and have something meaningful to talk about as well when you follow up and finally ask for a sale.
ROI Optimisation Phase
The final phase is the return-on-investment optimisation stage. No matter how good your conversion rates are, they can always be improved. That’s why you will need to look for development areas. This can potentially cut your ad spend into half and double your profitability. That’s why we offer this service after the launch of the funnel to existing clients as an add-on. More conversions means more money, so it makes sense to do your best to increase your profits once the funnel is complete. You might add or take away steps, offer upsells, or create special offers to increase your revenue.
B2B Sales Funnel Templates
If you read this far, it is clear that you are seriously considering getting a sales funnel built. No matter if you work with a sales funnel coach, do it yourself, or trust a sales funnel agency to get it done, you might want to know what the current best practices are, and how other businesses are making money. That’s why we have created a few examples of B2B marketing funnels for you to review and choose from.
High Conversion Cold Traffic B2B Sales Funnel Template
This template is designed to help you understand the basic principles of B2B lead generation and the different steps you have to take. We “dumbed down” the design and only showed the main steps, but I am sure you get the picture!
This high conversion funnel includes one landing page for lead generation, a sales page, and lead segmentation through your CRM or autoresponder. It also takes care of reputation management. It’s up to you how many more steps you add and how many emails you send before asking for the sale.
LinkedIn B2B Sales Funnel Template
When you reach out to contacts on Linkedin, you will need to build a relationship and find a shared interest first. You will have to check for buying signals and – just like with other B2B sales funnels, you will have to segment the audience. Those who are not considered “hot leads” will go on the list that includes useful content and free offers. The people who showed interest can be offered a free consultation, presentation video, or pitch deck. The end of the funnel always includes an irresistible offer and reputation management.
Niche-Specific B2B Marketing Funnel Template Diagrams for Coaching – Educational
This funnel is designed for a business coach who was looking to engage with the right clients before they would work with them. If you are like them, you would want to qualify your leads before agreeing to work with them. We do that at LMNts Marketing, too. You simply can’t work with anyone and everyone: a great percentage of cold leads can turn out to be nightmare clients, making your life a misery.
In this funnel, we started with a quiz, created a “bucket” for each segment based on the answers, and created personalised email sequences for the three groups to personalise their experiences. We also led them to lead magnets and implemented reputation management and feedback to understand the main barriers of entry and engagement.
Does Automation Cut It In Funnel Management (B2B Services)?
If you are selling services or products up to £1,000, marketing automation will help you make more sales. However, if you have a high-ticket item, you might want to integrate personal interaction as well. You will have to take people out of their usual environment (behind the screen) and draw them into a conversation that you control. No matter if you make these calls, use application funnels and employ a sales team, manual interaction is often essential to sell high ticket products or services.
Would you like to find out whether a sales funnel can get you a positive return on investment? Use our quick sales funnel calculator.
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