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How to Build a B2B Marketing and Sales Funnel for Better ROI

The marketing and sales funnel is a powerful driver of revenue in businesses. It allows companies to optimally position their sales and marketing efforts to generate the most leads, drive conversion, and increase profits.

Since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the B2B marketing and sales landscape has been evolving. According to Gartner, by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between buyers and suppliers will occur via digital channels.

In another report, Gartner states that although digitisation will quickly lead businesses to the right buyers, increased competition will make choosing the right marketing and sales channel crucial in driving brand awareness, engagement, and revenue.

So, as a B2B business, you must start investing in a robust marketing and sales funnel to stay on top of the revenue chain. Let’s dive into how you can build a marketing and sales funnel that will drive ROI through the roof.

What is a B2B Marketing Funnel?

A B2B marketing funnel is different from a B2B sales funnel. A B2B marketing funnel provides the blueprint that shows a business how its customers interact with the brand from the onset. The B2B marketing funnel details the consumer’s journey and sets out marketing actions that should take place at each stage.

Despite being different, the lines are getting blurrier between a B2B marketing funnel and a B2B sales funnel. However, in general:

  • Your marketing funnel creates touchpoints and gives your prospects reasons to purchase
  • Your sales funnel provides the tangible actions you can take to convince the prospect to make a purchase.

B2B marketing and sales funnels differ sharply from B2C funnels. The primary reason is the difference in decision-making between businesses and individuals.

Companies tend to take more time, spend more money, and have more stakeholders participate in a purchasing decision than individuals in a B2C setup.

Therefore, the customer journey in a B2B marketing funnel is longer and more complex.

Why Do Companies Need a B2B Marketing Funnel?

There are many reasons a company should have a B2B marketing funnel. Some of the most compelling ones include:

  • The B2B customer journey requires more oversight since it’s more complex – With a marketing funnel, you can use the lead’s location in the funnel to establish the type and frequency of campaigns needed to maintain or heighten their interest in the company’s products and services and nurture them towards conversion.
  • Better customer experience – 45.9% of businesses put customer experience as their number one priority. The marketing funnel significantly influences the customer experience. Approaching leads at the right time reduces the chances of spamming or hard selling too early. Therefore, you have ample time to nurture them and drive towards a sale.
  • Spotting inefficiencies and optimising the company’s marketing process – Businesses implementing a robust marketing funnel often run effective marketing campaigns that generate many leads and high ROI.
  • You can easily coordinate marketing activities, and efforts – A robust marketing funnel allows businesses to establish the appropriate content, products, and services they should pitch to their prospects at any given time.
  • You can automate and maximise the efficiency of marketing tools – A well-defined marketing funnel helps brands understand their prospects better and tweak the marketing and sales funnel to improve conversions and ROI. These tweaks affect how you approach a lead, which is crucial in a B2B setup.

The Stages of a B2B Marketing Funnel

A typical B2B marketing funnel consists of three stages. A fourth stage, sometimes called customer loyalty & retention, is typically added once the business has acquired paying customers. The three stages of a simple B2B marketing funnel include:

  •  Top of the funnel (TOFU) – Prospecting
  • Middle of the funnel (MOFU) – Lead generation
  • Bottom of the funnel (BOFU) – Conversions.

Top of the Funnel

The top of the funnel stage is also known as the awareness and attention stage. According to statistics, 95% of marketers create content for the top of the funnel. At this stage, prospects discover your brand and have a question or pain points they need solving.

Someone interacting with your brand for the first time will have different needs from a regular site visitor. Therefore, they’ll have different questions and expectations.

For most businesses, the top of the funnel is characterised by SEO, brand building, content marketing, social media posts, paid advertising, video advertising, and influencer marketing.

Middle of the Funnel

This stage is also known as the interest and consideration stage. The marketer’s job at this stage is to figure out what to do with the attention they get from the top of the funnel.

B2B sales rarely happen at the first touchpoint. On average, it takes eight touchpoints to make a B2B sale. At this stage, the enormous task is to create trust and build a relationship with your prospect before going for the sale.

Therefore, you should demonstrate that you understand their problem, care about those problems, and have solutions to them.

Bottom of the Funnel

The bottom of the funnel is also known as the intent and action stage. The goal is to get a conversion. Therefore, you must be direct with a solid call to action that leads to purchase pages.

Despite still using content at this stage, the approach is slightly different. You’re more direct with your pitch, aiming to make a sale from it. At this stage, marketers rely on case studies, free trials, webinars, comparison guides, demos, social proof, and optimised landing pages to direct the prospect to their products and services and not their competitors.

Post-Funnel

Repeat customers are gold to a B2B business, statistics showing that they’re nine times more likely to convert. After the prospect gets to the bottom of the funnel and converts, your aim should be to maximise the value of this newfound relationship.

The post-funnel stage falls under post-purchase marketing.

The Differences Between B2B and B2C Marketing Funnels

Implementing a B2C marketing funnel can be catastrophic to a B2B company because of the following differences.

Motivation

B2B and B2C buyers have inherently different motivations for making a purchase. B2C buyers are looking for a solution that may improve their personal situation or that of a friend or loved one. B2B buyers are looking for a solution that will increase their organisation’s ROI or improve the bottom line.

The Purchaser

An individual typically makes B2C purchase decisions. They can also be influenced by friends, family, influencers, or personal research.

B2B purchase decisions are made by a group of individuals or stakeholders who often go through many layers of hierarchy to get approval for the decision.

The Decision-Making Process

A B2C buyer typically makes decisions quickly, often influenced by emotion or impulse. B2B buyers use greater logic and reasoning and conduct lengthy research before purchasing.

These differences greatly influence the approach to B2B marketing funnels vs. B2C marketing funnels.

What is a B2B Sales Funnel?

A B2B sales funnel visually represents how leads are captured and moved through the sales process. The B2B sales funnel is more concerned with the actions that drive a prospect closer to converting.

For instance, instead of writing educational content that’s part of the marketing funnel, a sales rep in a B2B sales funnel may show the prospect a live demo of their software in action.

The B2B marketing and sales funnels work together to give the prospect everything they need to know about the brand, trust it, and do business with it.

 Why Do Businesses Need a B2B Sales Funnel?

A B2B sales funnel helps B2B businesses keep customers within the marketing funnel and purchase the company’s products or services at the bottom of it. It allows you to understand who your prospects are and what they’re thinking, doing or looking for at each stage of their consumer journey.
 

The insights from a B2B sales funnel allow marketers to send more relevant and engaging messaging to prospects at each stage, turning them into paying customers.

Generally, a sales funnel will allow a B2B company to:

  • Attract B2B buyers to the company
  • Engage prospects and understand their needs better
  • Educate prospects and lead them to make a purchase
  • Identify leads about to drop out and keep them in the funnel.
 

The Stages of a B2B Sales Funnel

B2B sales funnels can vary dramatically, given each business’s unique needs and demographic. For instance, the sales funnel for the affiliate marketing niche is stark different from the one used in social media marketing.

However, they’re still based on similar general principles such as AIDA, the Conversion Funnel, and Forrester’s Model

A simple B2B sales funnel can be broken down into the following six stages:

Awareness

This stage focuses on the techniques used to create brand awareness and drive demands for its products or services. You’ll test different marketing techniques at this stage and choose which performs best.

Interest

The objective at this stage is to build interest and a relationship between the prospect and the brand. The goal is to let them establish interest in your B2B services and products, which will cause them to reach out for business.

Consideration

Things get a bit more “salesy” at this stage. The prospects already know their pain points and believe your product or services can offer the right solution.

According to research, 60% of prospects want to chat with the sales manager at this stage. 

Intent

This stage aims to refine leads and persuade them to convert. They might have already shown intent by adding the item or product to their online shopping cart.

Evaluation and Decision

Your objective at this stage should be to drive the sale home since the prospect has already shown intent. The stakeholders in the buying business complete their research and make a purchase decision at this stage.

Purchase

The customer completes the transaction at this stage. The objective is to make the purchase process as smooth as possible to avoid poor conversion rates.

How to Build a B2B Marketing and Sales Funnel

You can’t simply copy another business’s marketing and sales funnel and make it practical for your B2B business. Here’s how you can structure one powerful and unique to your company and its niche.

Set Your Objectives and Goals

Before creating any business process, you must define your goals and objectives. Your goals may be focused on improving sales, conversion rate, average sale value, customer satisfaction, or percentage of repeat sales.

You’re not limited to one funnel. Therefore, you can create multiple developed for particular goals and objectives. You can use key performance indicators to assess your progress as you implement the funnel.

Understand the Target Audience

Understanding your audience is the bread and butter of digital marketing. If you get it wrong, you’re headed for poor results. Marketing and sales funnels focus on the consumer journey, meaning you should have an intimate understanding of their needs, wants, and pain points.

Organise Your Marketing and Sales Team

A comprehensive B2B marketing and sales funnel contains different elements. Therefore, you need to draw from a vast pool of talent and knowledge to get the best results, ensuring that the sales and marketing teams work together.

Choose the Right Sales and Marketing Channels

If you know your target audience, you should know the channel they spend most of their time on. Targeting your audience in the right channel improves your chances of winning more leads, converting more prospects, and returning higher ROI.

Create High-Quality Content

High-quality content should be consistent throughout your B2B sales and marketing funnel. You should also have the right assets for each stage, such as demos, case studies, and blog articles.

According to research, high-quality content and relevant assets significantly influence the success of sales and marketing funnels, that two-thirds of marketers have increased their spending on content and assets.

Track Your Progress

Your B2B sales and marketing funnel should evolve over the years. Your team should constantly monitor and improve the funnel based on key performance indicators and the business’s objectives. KPIs are just one of many parts of the more extensive process to help you keep track of your funnel’s performance and provide improvements

Get the Help of a Professional to Build a Robust Funnel

A robust sales and marketing funnel will transform your B2B business and yield higher ROI. Given the complexity of a B2B buyer’s consumer journey, getting a professional’s help to build your marketing and sales funnel is the most practical option.

Contact a digital marketing professional today to transform how you’re doing B2B business.

Over to You…

Do you agree with How to Build a B2B Marketing and Sales Funnel for Better ROI? Or is there something missing, or you would like to add?? Would love to hear from you in the comments – any feedback is greatly appreciated.

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