Building & Deploying B2B Sales Funnels: 2023 Guide
A B2B sales funnel does more than just bring in new customers. It's also essential to maintain existing customer relationships and determine where your sales process falls short of getting the maximum number of leads. You can boost your conversion rates and respond to your clients' changing demands and desires by creating a robust sales funnel. In spite of the numerous benefits of identifying and developing your B2B sales funnel, many businesses fail to follow their buyers' journey, putting most of their leads unmanaged and unconverted.
This blog will guide you through all the B2B sales funnel stages and the easy steps to build a B2B sales funnel quickly. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about a B2B funnel.
What Is a B2B Sales Funnel?
The sales funnel is one of the most significant concepts in today's businesses. It depicts the sales process as a multi-stage process with various stages and steps within each level. The goal is to inform your potential lead of the worth of your business and convert them into a sale.
Sales funnels are an essential marketing strategy for B2B and B2C businesses. A well-designed sales funnel allows a business to steer a consumer from a low-cost product or service to a higher-cost product.
Why You Need a B2B Sales Funnel?
B2B sales funnels complete your sales and marketing strategies. Without them, you will lose out on myriad possibilities of engaging and converting your website visitors. Think of it this way; a random visitor browses your website without the wish to make a purchase. If you don't get their information and leave your website, you'll lose a selling opportunity. However, if you have an effective sales funnel, you can capture them and influence their decisions. The sales process might take weeks or months, depending on your organization. Your sales staff can divide and conquer to convert more customers if they know their leads' position in the purchasing process and pipeline. In short, B2B sales funnels are critical since they allow you to capture, nurture, and convert leads. They enable salespeople to sell to existing customers more effectively. Also, these sales funnels assist businesses in determining where they should spend their time and resources and provide information on where prospects are succeeding or failing.
5 Stages of a B2B Sales Funnel
To create a successful sales funnel, you must first comprehend the steps that your customer goes through before making a purchasing choice. Because if you begin selling too soon, you risk upsetting your consumer and losing on the opportunity of getting a sale. In contrast, if you don't use your experience to steer the sales process and show prospects how your solution addresses their problem, they won't comprehend the value proposition and leave. The goal is to establish a human connection at every touchpoint by delivering tailored information and support.
A good marketing plan should incorporate everything to reach new prospects on appropriate channels to raise awareness. You can attract all potential clients into the funnel at this stage by raising awareness of your company's products and solutions. You may use sponsored promotions on social media and search engines for rapid results. However, one should combine paid and organic marketing for the best results. PPC advertisements combined with proper SEO may help you generate visitors to your website and increase brand recognition and trust by ranking high on the search results pages.
When your prospects express an interest in your product, it's critical to provide them with tools to help them make a decision. They may want to research more about your brand at this point to see if your product is suitable for them or not. The sales representative may also initiate contact here. This involves taking the time to customize the interaction in order to establish a rapport with the potential consumer. Representatives may adopt these embryonic touchpoints to match buyers' requirements, such as addressing particular industry developments, thanks to quick access to buyers' information.
While the marketing team is responsible for the first few B2B stages, the evaluation phase is when cooperation between your product and sales teams comes into the equation. Your marketing efforts have brought your lead to the point where they are ready to try your product or service; now, it's time to start the sales process. Whether or not the lead proceeds to buy is determined by what you have to offer works well and is a good match. If you see that a large number of leads sign up for your trial but never utilize it, it's time to talk to your product team about why the customer experience isn't up to par. It's possible that a specific interface or function isn't as user-friendly as it may be and that it needs to be fixed. Likewise, if a large number of customers sign up for a live demo, your sales staff should inquire about their experience.
When your lead reaches the engagement stage, they'll start communicating with your sales team. This might involve product demos, sales pitches, and effective communication that you already know the buyer's problems and need to help them find a solution. The level of relationship and trust you establish at this point will be extremely crucial to the lead progressing to the next step.
The B2B funnel's last stage is the action stage focusing on the bottom of the funnel. It denotes the stage at which your prospects take action and purchase your product. However, reaching this point does not imply that the B2B sales funnel has finished. To accomplish so, you must guarantee that your leads turn into recurring clients who return for more purchases. To put it another way, you must focus on client retention. To ensure a better client retention rate, you must show gratitude for opting for your services. Other than that, your team should always be available to help them and provide them personalized support.
How to Build a Sales Funnel [Easy Steps]
Now that you understand the importance and stages of a B2B sales funnel, it's time for you to learn the steps to build a B2B sales funnel.
Understand Your Audience
Customers today are flooded with information and have an infinite number of alternatives from which to choose. First and foremost, understand that you will only advertise to individuals who are the best fit for what you're selling. Before you proceed any further, do some research on your target audience. Find out what your visitors interact with your site, such as where they click, what they look at, and how long they spend on each page. These metrics will help you find numerous demographics you may target using the site monitoring and analytics tools. Aside from site data, you might want to pay attention to requests for proposals, conversion rates, mailing lists, and other ways clients connect with your business.
Capture Their Attention
Your sales funnel will only succeed if you get individuals to enter it. This entails getting your material in front of the right people. Use the organic method and publish a lot of content on all of your channels. Use infographics, videos, and other sorts of material to diversify your content. Run a few adverts if you're ready to spend a bit of money. It would be best to run the adverts on the platforms where your target demographic frequents.
Buyers of all sorts are becoming increasingly comfortable making selections without connecting with the marketers. Before making a purchase, the average B2B buyer will look go through a few pieces of content. To put it another way, prospects are unlikely to request (or anticipate) a call or an email from you. Many businesses struggle to sustain momentum after an excellent initial interaction. So it's upon you to figure out when to contact a buyer and when to leave them alone to avoid frightening them away or losing their interest.
Your ad or other material should lead your prospects to a specific destination. Try sending them to a landing page with an irresistible offer. The goal of a landing page is to direct the user to the next step. Focus on acquiring leads rather than pushing the sale because these folks are still at the bottom of the sales funnel. You'll need a solid call to action that informs people precisely what to do, whether it's to download a free e-book or watch a tutorial video. Target your market for the sale by educating them first. What is it that they wish to learn? What hurdles and objections must you overcome in order to persuade them to buy? Make a fantastic offer at the end to motivate your prospects to take action.
Your business' goal should be to figure out what worked and what didn't during your lead's buying process. Using surveys, analyzing sales, and customer reviews may provide a wealth of information. Take what you've learned so far and make adjustments to your sales funnel as needed. Customized content may also be used to ensure that your sales and marketing teams are in harmony.
A sales funnel is an essential aspect of any B2B business, and marketing and sales professionals should focus on creating one that works for them. It aids in the generation of sales and the optimization of your sales process. Using a sales funnel, you can discover where the trouble areas are at every funnel level to fully comprehend your customers' problems and demands, resulting in an in-depth customer journey. Monitoring of the process is also beneficial to the company's employees.+
Tech Sales: Global Customer Expectations in 2022
Although the term ‘Customer is King’ was coined many years ago, it is still true although the medium of interaction and sales has largely evolved since. Now, businesses are actively seeking the help of information technology companies to meet customer expectations based on the unintentional trends they are setting online. With the help of big data and artificial intelligence, organizations are making decisions that are much more informed and closer to current consumer behavior trends. The more accurate the data collection, sifting, and analysis, the more precise will be the strategies, annual plans, and campaign KPIs. In short, a clearer picture of the future is possible with the help of careful data handling with the help of new IT systems in the market.[lwptoc skipHeadingLevel="h1,h5,h6"]
Introduction - The Global Tech Market
The challenge for businesses lies in understanding how to bridge the gap between organizational goals and customer prospects. Providing a top-notch customer experience can be as simple as it can be complex, as long as you know the direction to steer your car in. For instance, your customers might be looking for something completely different from what you have in mind in terms of a new product launch. What do you do in such a case? Abandon your new product line idea? Or ignore the needs of the customer? In the former case, you might lose an opportunity to create a differentiating edge among competition while the latter will noticeably cause you a loss in sales and maybe even market share.Managers are trying to prioritize customer experience (CX) as a key metric to gauge the success of their businesses. There is no second-guessing that the best way to attract and attain customers is to sell a quality product. However, the process does not end there. The customer journey must be flawless – or low in faults – from the beginning to the end of the shopping experience. Because the main growth in sales for businesses is coming out of a customer’s wallet, it is important to make them willingly do so. A satisfied customer is likely to spend more with your brand. In fact, a study shows that happy customers will pay anywhere from 13% to an 18% premium in exchange for a great customer experience. Another study found that a good customer experience, where a business delivers on customer expectations will surpass price and product quality as key brand differentiators.
Brands must go the extra mile to get to know their customers if they want to get ahead of the competition. Companies are planning on greater budgets for CX and investing in other strategies to maintain long-term relationships with their audience. This new concept is called relationship management where you are expected to manage customer experience, ensuring they get their money’s worth if you want them to keep coming back. The customer journey is key to master for repeat customers to have their expectations met every time. Collecting customer data – also called Voice of Customer Data – to gain valuable insights from raw data quickly and precisely.The good news for organizations is that it does not matter the industry you are in. As long as you work to gain consumer insights, you are bound to increase retention, sales, and year-on-year revenue for the businesses. Over the coming year, brands are expected to take lessons from their failures and apply them with the help of technology-driven results to build deeper customer relationships. Customer expectations being met is a goal all brands and big organizations are working toward, and it is high time this be one of the main KPIs to measure growth as well.
Tech Sales: Global Customer Expectations in 2022
An always-online world meshed with artificial intelligence and the internet of things (IoT) have been adopted by marketing managers, applying the latest techniques to new product development, customer service, and even re-branding. These techniques have enabled businesses to improve services and meet customer expectations, increasing brand loyalty and hence, retaining consumers.
Need Help Meeting Customer Expectations?
As a business, your core clientele should be your customers, whether it be a B2B or B2C business model. One bad customer experience can seem not too big but soon enough, this might have a snowball effect. Just as when good customer experiences are advocates for the brand, so are bad customer experiences. A study found that over 91% of customers leave a brand they are unhappy with without any complaints. This really leaves managers and marketeers with no chance to gauge their true potential. Often, such brands are washed over when a slightly better business comes into the picture, washing them out, at least temporarily. There are a few reasons that result in bad customer experiences. These instances are most certainly workable and experts advise managers to ensure that any unnecessary bottlenecks are cleared the first instance they come about. Some difficulties in the excellent customer experience process include:
- Negative experiences with customer support cause customers to have a bad perception of the brand. While this may or may not be accurate, the last bite of your food can be distasteful enough to ruin the entire experience. Hence, it is important to keep in mind the customer journey when designing the customer support service bit. The people you hire and the level of training you give them will reflect in the way they handle your customers.
- When the purchasing process is difficult at any step of the way, it is likely that the customer will ricochet from the entire process. For instance, if your website loads slow, or the customer has difficulty adding a product to the cart, they are likely to abandon their shopping experience due to inconvenience, costing you an opportunity to make money.
- As a business, your priority must be the security and safety of your customer’s personal data. When you do not invest enough in security systems to protect your customer base, you are eventually bound to burnout as a business because you are compromising on the needs of the people who are fuelling your business in the first place.
- A bad customer experience can still be salvaged if your support team is efficient enough to pacify the customer when they provide feedback. More often than not, when a customer spends money with you, they will wait for as long as their patience allows for you to make adjustments for them. However, if their patience is tested for too long, they will simply give up and this can have damaging effects on the business. For instance, a bad review on an online closed group can cause thousands of people to boycott the product or service provided by your company. In an era where technology is evolving every day, it is important to keep abreast with changing customer expectations and provide them with stellar services.
Improving Customer Experience
Although it sounds straightforward when a manager says, “To provide excellent customer service, we need to meet customer expectations of the brand,” there is a vast amount of work that goes into making the brand a go-to option for its customer base. It is not easy to get inside the consumer black box to comprehend what they are looking for, but with the help of artificial intelligence and various other information technology systems, managers and marketers are now making forecasts and projections quite accurately.Getting yourself up and digital is not as easy as it sounds if you are starting fresh. You have plenty of work to put in behind the scenes to make every effort successful and effective. Slowly, brands need to realize that as they take more and more control of the customer’s buying and spending decisions, they will be able to employ better ‘pull strategies’ of marketing where the consumer becomes utterly loyal. Once the trustworthiness is locked, your brand will have the top-of-the-mind recall and a personal brand advocate for your business. According to expert advice, investing in the right resources at the right time can make or break business deals for you. Below are a few tips for businesses looking to grow in terms of their sales and customer bases.
- Artificial intelligence is crucial for sales
No matter how good your business was doing a few years, keeping up with technology and innovation is what is going to get you forward. Today, artificial intelligence has evolved from being used by huge companies in the entertainment industry to being an integral part of IT, marketing, and even finance firms, to name a few examples. It is nearly impossible to think where we would be without the collection of real-time data, processing it into understandable chunks, and having business managers make valuable decisions for their customers. For instance, your local modern trade store would not know the stock of coffee to restock if they did not have basic, yet integral smart systems to inform them what sells well and is in demand.
You Might be Interested in: Use Cases of Artificial Intelligence – AI in Digital Marketing
Another great brainchild of AI specialists and technologists is chatbots that are present across nearly every social media platform, website, and even mobile application. They work in two ways; instant customer query settlement and cost reduction for companies. Chatbots have been highly successful as they are known to process and solve many queries at one time. Siri, voice-enabled note-taking, and automatic appointment settings are all great examples of how artificial intelligence in action.
- An increase in multi-channel servicing
Companies are everywhere because their customers are everywhere. The Facebook network, the Google network, and many other various apps all run ads for brands where their customers most likely visit, ensuring a repeated sense of interaction with the brand. The fact that brands even know what websites their audience is visiting is artificial intelligence in play. Experts suggest businesses invest in many different channels, so they can make the most out of their sales and campaigns. Although customers are open to different service levels through different online channels, they expect the quality of communication and customer support to stay the same.A good example to consider is the standard of Ikea across the world. No matter what country or part of the world you go to, if you see an Ikea, you know what you will see there. The point is much more than coming across perfect furniture items that instantly look different when you take them home. It is about how the brand understands what its audience wants, and the edge they have over competitors is understanding customer expectations. Although lifestyle and standard of living differ everywhere in the world, the standard Ikea has set is such that everyone takes away with some sort of inspiration by the time they have made their way to the end of the store. In a nutshell, when your customer identifies with you, you gain the privilege to tell them what they need. Similarly, experts are advising companies to brace themselves for 2022 and focus on providing an omnichannel experience so customers do not miss a second of their favorite brand.
- Go Mobile!
In a study carried out to understand the need to perfect mobile websites and interfaces, over 50% of the audience agreed that they would be disappointed by the company for providing poor channel interaction even if they like the brand. 57% reportedly said that they would not recommend such a brand to their friends, considering a poorly designed mobile interface. When managers cheap out to save up on a few dollars, they are really costing themselves a couple thousand in the future for when customers do not come back to digitally interact with the brand. On average, over half the website traffic for most companies comes through mobile devices, especially since desktop usage is declining. Currently, most global industries still have to fully exploit this aspect of marketing, and hence, experts encourage managers to focus on developing and implementing a stellar system through which customers can connect with the brand that they love so much!There is still a huge gap in the market that needs to be considered seriously and instantly. When customers find it difficult to navigate between web pages, you can be sure that they will abandon the website and you will lose potential sales and clients, maybe even for long periods. Once again, the customer is still king, and keeping them happy is up to the company interacting with them.
- Focus on strength in numbers
When customers are upset, they will make more noise than they will when they are satisfied. This is not really shocking, because we all do the same, do we not? A study showed that out of the total number of satisfied customers, only 72% of them will spread the word and only to about six close people they know. However, a bad experience is more likely to be reported to about 15 people 13% of the time. The same study also highlights that the problem is not only a bad experience but also the fact that only 1 in 26 unhappy customers will come forward to address the issue they are facing.Customer expectations and experience enhancement are at an all-time high, making it crucial to cater to customers. Even though sometimes bad experiences are inevitable, companies can salvage their reputation and stand in the market by employing damage control because each bad experience with a brand will lead to 1 in 3 people quitting the brand. Certainly not a favorable outcome, a brand must keep their eyes on the prize and work their strategies backward sometimes.
No matter the era we live in, it is crucial to stay abreast of what is going on around you to succeed in a highly competitive, shark tank market. Nearly all businesses out there are competing on attracting and retaining consumers by meeting customer expectations in a world that is full of ads, content, and purchase requests. The ‘push marketing’ strategy is one that never works, at least in the long term, and that is probably why brands are unable to focus on long-term strategies. Experts suggest that knowing your customer’s wants, needs, background, likes and dislikes, socioeconomic class, age group, and even geographical location, can sometimes help brands highlight and design strategies that will hit the nail right in the coffin in terms of identifying the wavering customer black box.Focusing on excellent customer experience, putting the client’s needs first, ensuring their queries are answered, and acknowledging their individuality as people is extremely important for brands to thrive in an increasingly saturated market. Ensuring a positive, smooth interaction with customers, positively delivering 100/% satisfaction at each customer touchpoint, and creating consumer profiles are all important ways in which companies can understand what way to head in for marketing strategy and future prospects of the brand to function fully.The power that the customers hold today is much more than that was explored many years ago. The typical consumer is well-informed, put together, and even conscious about the choices they want to make. A clear understanding of the brand, smooth interaction through multiple social media outlets, and a pleasant experience with the brand are all ways in which you can have loyal customers that will stick with you through the long haul!
Why is Digital Transformation not a Choice Anymore
In recent history, businesses have always had to face changes in customers' demands. But, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the norms that prevail in modern society have changed, and the impact will likely be in effect even after the end of the pandemic. While some changes in routine due to strict lockdowns and other containment measures may end as soon as people start getting vaccinated, other aspects such as the way people depend upon digital technologies will endure.
Businesses can only survive in the post-pandemic environment is to reforming an organization's digital makeup. Companies will have to reform and revise their operations through the entire lifecycle, from customer acquisition and operations to post-sales service and customer care.
In the contemporary scenario, if an organization hesitates to transform itself to address the business landscape's demands digitally, its survival would be questionable and uncertain. Adapting rapidly to the evolving challenges and conditions is also mandatory for the successful and timely delivery of products and services to customers.There are many blockages for the conventional global supply chains due to containment measures in different countries, and people are getting used to adapting technologies in different ways. An agile response to transforming business processes hit by the pandemic is vital for the survival and growth of the organization. We must first accept that the new normal of the post-pandemic world will not be the same as the old one.
Digital Transformation in a Nutshell
Digital transformation denotes a reimagining of how an organization integrates technology, people, and operations to pursue modern business infrastructure and enhanced revenue streams, fueled by changes in customer expectations concerning the products and services. For many businesses that produce conventional goods, digital transformation means building digital products, such as mobile applications or an eCommerce platform. In order to do so, they must follow the operational model of software companies, most of which operate on product-based models. Ideally led by the CEO in partnership with CIOs, CHROs, and other senior leadership, digital transformation needs cross-departmental collaboration in integrating business-oriented philosophies with instant application development methodologies.
Digital Transformation - A Strategy or Solution?
In the recent decade, companies have embarked on digital transformation drives to eliminate the potential for disruption from incumbents and startups, but the sledding has been slow — until the pandemic. Top retail store chains like Walmart and Bed Bath & Beyond shook up store operations by switching to shipment-based delivery and other contactless options to assist consumers in safely having their hands on desired products or items. Meanwhile, IT leaders reprioritized strategic IT solutions, with many acquiring cloud infrastructure for video collaboration and deploying machine learning (ML) models that can help organizations to manage how products want through lengthy supply chain processes.
On a point-by-point basis, such methodologies and solutions don't impact in such a way as to be called transformations. In fact, how these methodologies and other solutions are integrated throughout an enterprise presents a transparent view of a company's digital supremacy and reflects its business priorities. In the contemporary scenario, When trade shows were stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the most prominent companies took their interactive experiences onboard to ensure interactive customer engagement. They also trained their sales department to use these tools in one-on-one virtual meetings, and they are now able to showcase their competitive edge effectively. Digital transformation solutions are intended to overhaul the overall business operations, interactions, and service delivery mechanism. Therefore, Digital transformation is more of a strategy than just a solution. Understanding digital transformation bounds you to have deep insights into the reasons why the sudden upsurge in digital transformation and the need to adapt it is becoming crucial like never before. Let's discuss this in detail.
The Raising Concern for Handling Data
Businesses are becoming more data-driven than ever, and dealing with the overwhelming amounts of data has been the biggest challenge. In specific, the need to place intelligent mechanisms to manage data inflow and storage is growing exponentially to manage and store it in a secure and streamlined manner. In this race for digital supremacy that centered around data to keep businesses beyond their potential rivals, the only solution is to adopt digital transformation. It involves deploying effective tools and methodologies to conduct secure data transactions, place data strategies and develop data analytics.
In this context, the primary approaches in digital transformation are big data, agile analytics, and AI concepts (More specifically, Machine Learning and Deep Learning). These mythologies and approaches are helping businesses to extract more profound insights into the market dynamics and consumer response, which are vital in driving rational and informed decision-making processes. In this way, digital transformation can make businesses more effective in handling data and retrieving fruitful insights from it.
Service Delivery Efficiencies
Generally, companies value workplace services the least compared to client/consumer service delivery. Despite having numerous digital applications to streamline the processes, companies are using many manual methods to deliver services within the organization. One such case can be noted easily in HR-related functions, where both parties must write numerous back and forth emails, wasting their time for simple queries, like PTO balance, etc. HR departments waste around 70% of their time performing such routine and iterative tasks even if they could be streamlined.
Digital transformation in such service delivery processes can be attained by having intelligent HR automation software utilities. These solutions have an immense potential to boost operational efficiencies of the business while ensuring intuitive experiences in workplace service delivery. Further integrating AI-driven chatbots or voice assistants with service delivery platforms is a big plus for the overall process.
Getting Freed from Legacy Systems
Legacy systems are among the top hurdles for mighty organizations that abstain from meeting the modern market's dynamics. As legacy systems are based on conventional technologies, acquiring a resource person and updating it to digital technologies is complex. It was acknowledged by the majority of IT decision-makers linked with research work. Apart from this, most organizations are conscious of security concerns involved in performing legacy migration. For instance, in conventional legacy systems, such as air trafficking control ATC-systems, carrying out legacy migration can be risky as it possesses a variety of risk factors and intellectual data.
In such a scenario, ensuring digital transformation clearly requires a precise statement of scope, and the objectives of digitalization must be clear. The best solution ever introduced is the Application Programmable Interface (API) to modernize such systems. This integration solution allows businesses to bridge their existing legacy systems with digital efficiencies. By doing so, the API provides a gateway for businesses with legacy systems to enjoy the perks of digitally transformed solutions.
Consumer Digital Trends are Driving Transformation
According to the research:
- Around 60% of the global population are internet users
- Around 2.5 billion smartphone users
- 75% of internet usage is driven by smartphones
- 2.5 billion are social media users
- Global eCommerce sales climbed to $4.921 trillion by the end of 2021.
These statistics clearly showcase the sudden upsurge in the use and dependence on consumers' digital platforms, devices, and applications. The need for businesses to revise their efforts to meet the contemporary market challenges to win the digital audience by promoting their services and products digitally is not a choice anymore. Meanwhile, companies are putting efforts into mobile apps, responsive websites, social media channels, etc.
Another aspect of the context is that most businesses are failing to achieve total digital transformation. This is because businesses are neglecting that digital transformation is more of a strategy than just a solution or a tool. Businesses need to have clearly outlined and defined objectives and scope before gearing up for digital transformation.