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  • Writer's pictureSsemujju Lewis E

Understanding the B2B Sales Funnel And Optimization

The classic B2B sales funnel concept was developed in 1898 and has since seen numerous revisions but the baseline remains the same. At its core, the sales funnel is a way to help businesses visualize and easily understand the key steps involved in turning a total stranger into a paying customer.

Losing out on a sale is very hurtful to any business that is why many businesses make sure to convert their websites’ visitors into purchasing customers by using a sieve kind of funnel with top, middle, and bottom-funnel stages to understand the purchasing stages of the said customers.

By understanding what your sales funnel looks like, your business can identify the key stages where you’re losing customers and devise the best means to move a prospect into the next stage of the sales funnel. The end result is an optimized, efficient sales process.

The B2B sales funnel is a great sales and marketing tool for following up on the buyer’s journey from the initial visit, to converting as lead, and finally, to the point where they become a customer.

However, there has been a switch in today’s marketplace, it’s no longer your sales team who’s in control –the buyer is! The buyer does the research on the product.

A B2B sales funnel that aligns well with the buyer’s journey is critical to ensuring a smooth and successful ride in today’s marketplace.

The basic modus operandi of the sales funnel is that lots of leads go in at the top and as they proceed down the funnel, they are sieved into finally those willing to make a purchase and be your customer.

With that in consideration, the B2B Sales Funnel is plitt into:

1. Awareness

Here, potential customers are most probably searching for a solution to a problem and land on your information which is intended to help them address said problem. So, the kind of content they’re looking for here is one that throws more light on how to find help for their specific situation.  The value of the lead is low because there is no guarantee they are going to pursue a solution from your company.

2. Interest

If the information is valuable, chances are high they are going to be hooked. The prospect has come to your site and is now searching for solutions – inadvertently expressing interest in your service or products. They are going to keep glued to your social media, subscribe to your mailing list for updates.

3. Decision

This religiously depends on the above two. If they are both successful, they are going to commit to buying.

4. Action

In a traditional funnel, the Purchase stage is the last stage. The Purchase Order is written or the commitment to the purchase is approved.

Just because money and product change hands, this doesn’t mean that you’ve reached the end of the B2b sales funnel.

Post-purchase engagement not only keeps the customer happy; it further feeds the funnel and is key to building a B2B sales pipeline. That’s because 84% of B2B sales begin with a referral by a friend or colleague and these referral leads convert 30% better.

Marketing Tactics In The B2B Sales Funnel

In the first two stages i.e Awareness and Interest, potential buyers may not know you exist. They also may not know what exactly they are looking for until they see what you are offering. Your  SEO tactics, lead generation, and content marketing must all be laser-focused on your persona.

  • eBooks with detailed information,

  • Instructional videos help buyers begin to see possible solutions to their problems and raise awareness of your company at the same time.

  • Pay-per-click ad campaigns may be appropriate for lead generation.

  • FaceBook Chatbot Messenger Ads is proving highly effective in engaging leads.

However, once your lead has opted in, you have access to Facebook data about the lead that you wouldn’t otherwise have. This is important as you begin your personalization efforts. The key to effective Chatbot Messenger marketing is to end each interaction with a prompt for further action.

According to a Google study, 89% of B2B researchers use the internet to research their customers, and 81% of their customers use the web to scope out businesses in return.

After the first two, you can truly educate your lead. It is up to you to drive the decision of the leads. It’s time to share case studies showing how you’ve helped others in similar situations. Personalized drip email marketing campaigns are easy to automate.  In fact, 75% of companies report that they currently use automated marketing tools. Webinars with time set aside for Q & A may be another effective way to engage leads at this stage in the process.

Once your lead has landed on the Buying stage, it’s time to close the deal or lose the lead. Marketing and Sales must work together to navigate the lead to conversion.

Adapt To The Revolving B2B Sales Funnel

According to Richard Branson,

“Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision, and change.”

So, here are 3 top ways to adapt like a pro:

1. Reposition your salesforce:

Today’s buyer longs for a product that will be customized to provide the rightt solution to their problem. That is what your salespersons must focus on, address needs particular to a customer.

2. Use SEO and leverage disruptive digital marketing tools:

93% of website traffic comes from search engines and 50% of prospects are more likely to click on a link if they come across it more than once. Investing in SEO gives B2B sellers the upper hand over their competition.

In the past, going ‘traditional’ with your ad campaign was way-to-go for the majority of B2B sellers looking to capture the minds of buyers. But amazingly, 54% of present-day buyers say they don’t trust traditionally branded content. To win over this category, B2B sellers must embrace brand awareness, using digital tools.

Numbers don’t lie.

3. Data is King

Take it or leave it – B2B sellers who replace instinct with big data are 6% more profitable. With the advent of AI and machine learning, companies who invest in it are now able to leverage big data to predict buyer behavior much more accurately, using previous buying history.

This way, they’re able to qualify leads by analyzing data and using the results to create targeted marketing messages that reduce cost, dramatically improves on efficiency, and supercharges sales –predictably and consistently.

Data now also plays a role in how those interactions are approached, and there are a variety of techniques salespeople can use. The sales process will differ for every company one way or another. Some companies sell their products right in the store, while others need to sit potential clients out of the stores to make the sales. The sales process works best when it is assimilated into the model of the company.

Most organizations have begun to invest in AI to guide their sales representatives as it helps organizations stay adaptable to changing customer needs and evolving markets. Technology is the future of the evolution of sales.

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