The Importance of the B2B Sales Funnel

By RafterOne

Whether you are a sales rep, marketer, or even the CEO of your company – you know well enough that the true sign of success is an ever growing list of prospects. You can never say that we have X number of customers and we should stop looking for more. The company’s survival and growth are dependent on consistent customer onboarding. 

In the B2B space, a sales funnel is what can help you strategize this initiative. In this blog, we talk about what is a B2B sales funnel, the importance of the B2B sales funnel and why you should pay attention to it. 

What is a B2B Sales Funnel? 

A B2B sales funnel is a representation of your prospective customer’s journey with your company. This starts from their first interaction until they officially become your customer. 

The B2B sales funnel differs from a typical B2C sales funnel. The B2B sales cycle is usually much more long drawn and complicated as it has a lot of stakeholders, processes, evaluation, and assessment. Whereas B2C is usually based on an immediate or impulsive demand and can be an emotionally motivated decision. 

Additionally, since B2B sales processes involve several steps and initiatives, they can also be time-consuming. Marketing and sales teams have to actively work toward converting a prospect into a customer systematically with a streamlined process. This is why B2B sales funnel is irreplaceable in this process. 

B2B Sales Funnel Stages 

Now that we know the B2B sales funnel is essential to the customer journey, let us understand what it is all about. 

The sales funnel for B2B companies has 4 components: 

1. Awareness 

The awareness stage is your initial connection with the customer. This is the first touch point with the customer and the intent here is to ensure customers know your name and/or are aware of what you offer. 

2. Interest 

Now that your customer is made aware of your brand, their interest develops in doing business with you. They start their research to understand who you are. This is where you make it to the top 3 or 5 list of businesses they are considering. Based on your efforts in this stage and how your brand is prepared to handle customers, they will move to the next stage. 

3. Decision 

Here the decision is almost made. The customers know you well, and have spoken to your people enough times to know what you offer. They are looking at competition as well and need a final nudge like a special offer to sign the deal. 

4. Action 

In the most favorable and awaited stage, the prospect finally makes the decision to be your customer. 

Steps for Each Stage – B2B Sales Funnel Examples

Ideally, there are four stages in the B2B sales funnel. However, the process to go from one stage to the other can itself consist of many sub-stages. This depends on each company and how they define their sales processes. 

Regardless of how a business may define the stages, it is necessary to pay attention to customers in every stage. 96% of visitors to your website, who might be in the first stage of the funnel may not even be ready to buy anything yet. But does that mean they never will? 

You must also curate your resources and website in a way that ensures every stage of the funnel has potential customers at any given time. This means curating content for every stage mindfully. 

Top of the funnel (TOFU) 

This is the awareness stage. You have a lot of work to do to get them to convert into customers but getting the initial traction and attention is essential. 

This means creating the right messages for your cold emails that are in line with your brand. Having a consistent message across your website that conveys the authenticity and importance of your services well. You could create this in the form of blog posts, e-books, whitepapers, industry reports, infographics, social media channels, case studies, videos, and more! 

However you choose to reach your customers, you have to understand that it is going to be an ever-evolving process. From drip campaigns to A/B testing landing pages, you need to study the data you receive from each initiative and make informed decisions from there on. 

As you create these resources, remember to place importance on quality. It isn’t about producing 15 blog posts that talk about your product. It is about creating a few meaningful blog posts that speak to your customers, show them how you can solve a potential problem, and convey your messages consistently. This is crucial as 63% of potential customers will believe your claims only if they have consistently come across them 3-5 times. 

Middle of the funnel (MOFU) 

This is where a lot of direct interaction happens between you and your customers. The interest and decision stages are in this part of the funnel. Here is when your sales and marketing teams work in tandem to curate content and messaging to push your customers towards closing the deal. They ensure that the customer can trust your brand and that you truly offer what the customer is looking for. 

Bridget Kendrick, CMO of ICIS once said, “We think customers buy based on price, features and functions. In reality, it’s emotions, cognitive biases, and engagement experience. We need to use the latter first.”  

In today’s competitive and data-driven world, you need to convince your customers that you value their emotions, concerns, and problems. Sales teams do this through discovery calls, demos, free trials, case studies, and more. 

Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)

The favorite part of every deal! This is where the action takes place and the sales team closes the deal. From here on, it is all about how you take care of the customer and offer them everything you promised. 

The customer success teams take over and customer retention becomes part of the next stage. 

Take Charge of Your Sales Funnel the Right Way

We spoke about the different stages of the B2B sales funnel and what you should be doing to ensure your customers flow through each stage seamlessly. Innovative ways like subscription models might help too. However, managing data and people to see results in the action stage of the funnel can get complicated if you don’t have the right tools to support you. 

In our upcoming post, we will talk about how Salesforce can help you through this process! Stay tuned. You can also get in touch with our team to know more