For an effective B2B marketing funnel you need a well-structured digital marketing funnel to attract new customers through awareness and guide them towards retention.
- What is a B2B Marketing Funnel?
- Importance of B2B Marketing Funnel
- What does a B2B marketing funnel look like, and how do I set one up?
- Why is a B2B marketing funnel so important for businesses?
- Final Thoughts
If you can imagine visualizing your journey as a customer, from finding a website the very first time through to making your first purchase, what would that look like? As a business owner, it’s essential to consider the decision-making process that your customers go through to make a purchase. The B2B marketing funnel has some key differences from selling directly to customers, which you’ll need to consider if you operate in this way.
The goals of a B2B marketing funnel include brand awareness, attracting attention and generating leads, growth of the customer base, and increased sales. Much of this can be done by providing hugely valuable free content that drives traffic. The marketing funnel is the journey that your potential customer goes through from the day they find your business to the close of their sale. Today we’re going to take you through that journey so you can learn how to create the perfect B2B marketing funnel for your company.
What is a B2B marketing funnel?
A B2B marketing funnel is the customer’s journey through your marketing and sales process, which is broken down into various segments. As with any type of funnel, you’ll start with a larger number of customers at the start of the process, and then these numbers reduce as they get down the base. The segments in your B2B marketing funnel will vary from company to company, and these are based on your audience and the product or service you are selling. A B2B marketing funnel is used to bring your marketing and sales teams together, which can help to grow your business and move sales along more rapidly.
A B2B marketing funnel is a useful tool for businesses of any size, and it allows you and your employees to put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer. You can follow their journey, from the first interaction with your company on your website, through to them becoming a customer, and hopefully staying with your business for years to come. In the funnel, you’ll find lead generation and conversion, and the process often starts in an automated manner before converting to interactions with your sales team. A good B2B marketing funnel will guide your leads and give them the assistance they need before purchasing your product or service.
Why is a B2B marketing funnel important to companies?
B2B marketing funnels are important because they are guides for your sales prospects and leads. With content marketing, less investment is needed for paid advertising because you are organically creating meaningful and high-quality content that will drive your target audience to your business. By understanding your target audience’s troubles, you’ll get to know them and then present the ideal solution to solve their problems.
Content marketing as a standalone will in itself increase traffic organically to your website. What can increase the impact of organic traffic being driven to your site is a variety of content forms. Use your site blog, participate in guest blogs, create videos or podcasts, white papers, testimonials, and case studies to drive potential leads to your B2B marketing funnel.
What does a B2B marketing funnel look like, and how do I set one up?
There are many versions of the journey from potential customer to buyer, but the overall principles are the same. We’ll take a look at a simplified version of the content marketing funnel, which provides the basic steps for anyone considering using a B2B marketing funnel for the first time.
At the very top of your funnel is awareness. Prospective customers are still looking for information and are doing their homework in the initial research stage of their journey. In many cases, your business may not be on their radar, and they have only discovered you for the first time. Social media, advertisements, emails, and search engines are some of the ways that a potential B2B buyer might have found you. This means that you really need to cover your bases and have coherent and consistent messaging across all avenues that may generate buyer leads.
Content marketing plays a key role as an organic media source that drives buyers to the top of your funnel. Guest blogging can be an excellent way to promote the business through clever choices of relevant websites where you know your audience is already present and eager. At this stage, you should be trying to attract any potential B2B customers into your funnel by showing them the solutions to the issue they are currently experiencing. You should be aiming to reach any new clients on various platforms, and you may opt to use a combination of organic and paid promotion. This is the widest stage of your B2B marketing funnel and will be the time where your company has the most people looking at your offerings. The key now is to retain as many of them as possible as we head into the second stage.
Moving one step further down, you’ll find the consideration stage. At this stage, the customer is still reviewing everything you offer and starting to decide if they are interested or will start looking elsewhere for their solution. After you gather potential customers at the top of your B2B marketing funnel, this next stage of consideration is key. At this stage, you need to consider what you need to do as a company to make them stick around and eventually purchase your product or service. You want to keep their attention for as long as possible, to avoid them drifting off and comparing you with too many other solutions.
Sales teams are essential at this stage, and they may choose to use digital events such as webinars, online live streams, and demonstrations to attract customers and teach them more about what you have to offer. Email content is also an important tactic that has a high impact and good conversion rates, but this needs to be used with care. Try to always use relevant and high-quality content, and don’t overdo emails, as this can be a massive detractor for companies. Your sales team will have identified prospective leads at this stage. While some tactics in this section will overlap with the start of the funnel, they should begin to nurture these potential customers and push them further along the funnel towards the final stage.
As we head further down the B2B marketing funnel, we get to one of the most important stages for your company, the purchasing stage. If you have successfully targeted your customers at the top two stages of the marketing funnel, then everything should hopefully come together nicely by now. However, as the funnel narrows by this point, you’ll find many customers have dropped off and turned elsewhere for their solution or product. One of the top reasons for failing to convert is a poor website. Make sure you are making a good impression with your site, as this is probably the number one tool for buyers nowadays. If there’s no relevant and informative content or nothing to continue attracting their attention, they’ll soon turn elsewhere to a company that offers them that.
Frustration or a lack of information at this stage means lost revenue that could have been avoided with a well-designed website that meets all of your potential customer’s needs. Another area that works hand in hand with your website is your sales team’s response time. In the instant age we live in, people don’t wait around and expect an immediate answer to their query. Companies that don’t have teams set up around the clock to assist with customer queries are really setting themselves back at this stage.
Also, you’ll find online influencers can be impactful at this stage, even more than during the initial interaction with a company. These influencers may be the final push that makes a business go for your product or service as opposed to someone else, so it’s something you’ll want to use wisely. Of course, this could go the opposite way, and it may completely turn someone away from potentially purchasing from your company.
To close the sale, your sales team will play the biggest part in this stage, and they need to be well equipped to overcome any objections from B2B customers. If your team doesn’t have patience and persistence, this is where you’ll quickly lose people. The sales process is extremely drawn out in our current time, and even though we expect instant online communication, people take longer to shop around and to ensure they make the right decision for their company.
Finally, the bottom of the B2B marketing funnel triangle is retention. Once a company has purchased from you, it’s essential to retain them for repeat business. The long time it’s taken to get a customer to this stage needs to be worth the time and effort, and so you’ll want to make the most of having made it this far and try and retain your customer for years to come.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy that will not only increase profit but it will establish a healthy process for long-term growth. It begins by building the relationship at the very start, at the top of the funnel. You should ensure that buyers are dealt with quickly, professionally, and individually and that you offer them excellent customer service throughout the process. The more bespoke your CRM can be, the higher the likelihood of repeat business. The amount of time and effort it’s taken for a customer to get this far should be your drive for focusing on retention. B2B marketing funnels are generally very drawn-out processes with a high cost associated with each sale, so you’ll want to retain customers to reduce the impact of the long funnel on your company’s bottom line.
Why is a B2B marketing funnel so important for businesses?
After the challenging year we’ve all been through, many companies are looking for new ways to rebuild after the pandemic. A B2B marketing funnel is a critical tool for any B2B companies looking to rebuild their business and relationships. With so many businesses still operating from home, customers are doing more research online and purchasing online only. Video calls are now a standard part of the B2B sales process, and you’ll want to ensure you are adapting to the ever-changing world and customer expectations.
You need to have more detailed content now than ever before for your potential customers. By answering every question they could have and becoming an authority in your industry online, you’ll make a connection and build trust with potential customers. Embracing and utilizing a wide variety of content formats makes meeting the audience’s needs easier as you cover media choices with a wider net. With budgets being stretched and businesses spending less during this economic crisis, it’s imperative that you make the most of content marketing which by its nature makes savings for any company’s marketing expenditure.
As with anything in marketing and sales, it’s the way you execute the B2B marketing funnel that will determine whether your customers join you and then stay with you on your journey. Invest the time, energy, and resources into making the highest value, quality content to make your business an authority. From there, you’ll watch with satisfaction as your funnel maximizes the leads that come your way. You’ll find that by utilizing the various recommended marketing methods in each stage of the funnel, you’ll slowly filter out the weak leads and focus on those potential customers you can easily convert.
The B2B marketing funnel is a slow and drawn-out process, and that’s something that companies often forget to account for. By training your sales team about their role at various stages of the process, you’ll be able to push customers through the journey. Once they’ve made a purchase, retention is key for any successful company and will help your business to grow and become more profitable each year.
Would you like to know more about the B2B marketing funnel?
According to world renowned experts Les Binet and Peter Field, marketers need to follow five key principles in order to maximize the effectiveness of their B2B advertising campaigns. Tune in for an exclusive readout of the report including which marketing strategies lead to the most business growth.