A proper b2b marketing funnel could be the difference between a successful marketing campaign and one failing to deliver results.
B2B marketing is more expensive, time-consuming, and complex than B2C marketing.
It’s essential to have a well-defined b2b marketing funnel in place to focus your efforts on the most effective lead generation and sales activities.
Understanding what potential customers are searching for and expecting at each stage in the marketing funnel makes it possible to deliver a seamless customer experience that ultimately leads to your sales team closing more deals.
This article will examine a b2b marketing funnel, the stages involved, and how you can fill your pipeline with more leads and sales.
What is a B2B marketing funnel?
A b2b marketing funnel is a process companies use to identify and qualify potential customers, from the initial contact to becoming a paying customer.
Every funnel will vary but still focuses on fundamental principles that help you attract, engage and nurture your prospects until they are sales-ready.
Overview of B2B marketing funnel stages
Your b2b sales funnel will need to be continuously optimized to move prospects through each stage of the funnel efficiently.
Attracting visitors to your website should be the first priority for any b2b marketer.
Once you’ve attracted visitors, you need to engage them with targeted content that moves them further down the funnel.
The final stage is converting prospects into paying customers.
Here’s an overview of the typical stages involved in a b2b marketing funnel:
Stage 1: Awareness
At the top of the funnel is awareness. This is when prospects become aware of your company and develop an interest in your products or services.
Awareness can be generated using several marketing tactics and marketing channels, including search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, content marketing, and paid advertising.
Stage 2: Consideration
Once prospects are aware of your company, they will enter the middle of the funnel or consideration stage, where they compare their options and evaluate whether your products or services fit their needs.
To move prospects through to the next stage, you need to provide them with helpful information at this stage of the funnel, such as case studies, white papers, webinars, and free trials.
Stage 3: Decision
In the decision stage, prospects have decided they need a solution to their problem and are now looking for the best provider.
At this funnel stage, it’s essential to provide prospects with even more detailed information about your products or services, such as pricing plans, features, demos, and benefits.
Stage 4: Purchase
Once prospects have decided that your products or services fit their needs, they will purchase and become paying customers.
It’s essential to continue providing excellent customer service at this stage to turn one-time buyers into lifelong customers.
How to optimize each b2b marketing funnel levels
Marketing campaigns should not be confused with creating a b2b marketing funnel.
Your marketing funnel is the process prospects go through, from awareness to purchase.
On the other hand, your marketing strategy should focus on how you will attract visitors to your website and generate leads at each stage of the funnel.
Your marketing funnel equals process.
Your marketing strategy equals tactics.
At this stage in the funnel, you want to find out where your customers hang out online, what they are talking about, and their interests.
You can use this information to create content that will attract them to your website and landing pages.
The research for this level is crucial and is the foundation of your entire marketing funnel.
If you get the TOFU wrong, it will be difficult to get prospective customers to the next stage in the funnel and generate quality leads.
Your marketing team should be focused on speaking to customers and prospects, conducting market research, and analyzing data to understand your audience’s needs.
At this stage in the funnel, your goal is to nurture these prospects and turn them into qualified leads.
It is essential to escalate your prospects to the next level in the buyer’s journey by providing them with relevant, targeted content that addresses their pain points.
The sales team usually begins to get involved at this point since your target audience has shown interest and signed up for your lead magnet, made an initial purchase, or requested a demo.
You want to be sure your sales process is aligned with your marketing funnel so that leads are appropriately handed off and followed up with promptly.
It’s also recommended to focus on developing an account-based marketing process to ensure your teams are all on the same page at all sales funnel stages.
The buyer’s journey is typically longer since your sales rep will have to maneuver through multiple decision-makers making this one of the most critical sales funnel stages.
Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)
You’ve successfully moved your prospect through the middle of the funnel, and they’ve become a qualified lead.
Your goal at this stage is to close the deal and get them to sign on the dotted line.
Your team will work on creating proposals, negotiating contracts, and finalizing paperwork.
It’s essential to have a streamlined process to convert leads into customers quickly and reduce as much friction as possible.
Once they sign on the dotted line, your job still needs to be completed.
You also want to ensure you provide top-notch customer service since they can provide valuable referrals, and due to customer loyalty, they continue to do business with you for years to come.
Difference between B2B and B2C funnels
There are similarities but clear differences between B2B and B2C marketing funnel.
They both have an awareness stage, consideration stage, and decision stage.
However, the B2B marketing funnel is more complex since there are usually multiple decision-makers involved in the process, long-term contracts, and higher budgets.
The B2C marketing funnel is typically shorter since customers can make a purchase quickly without having to go through a lengthy approval process, lower costs, and are more susceptible to impulse purchases.
While both marketing funnels are essential, your team should focus on the one most relevant to your business.
If you try to create a customer journey for your b2b business using b2c marketing funnel stages, you will quickly realize that it’s not an effective use of your time or resources.
Understanding the nuances between the two types of marketing funnels is essential to create content, strategies, and processes tailored to your specific business.
Here are some nuances you need to be aware of:
- If you are trying to take customers from social media to a sales page, you are likely using a b2c funnels and should change your strategy.
- If your strategy is focused on a sale instead of a lead, you are likely using a b2c marketing funnel.
- If your sales cycle doesn’t include a human element, such as a consultation or demo, you are likely using a b2c marketing funnel.
If any of these sounds like something you are doing with your b2b marketing funnels, you need to change your strategy.
Your marketing activities must align with the b2b sales process to succeed in b2b marketing.
Creating a b2b marketing funnel that aligns with your sales process will help you close more deals and increase customer lifetime value.
How to Build a B2B Marketing Funnel?
Now that you understand what a b2b marketing funnel is let’s look at how you can build one for your business.
Create customer personas
The first step is to create buyer personas or customer personas.
This will help you understand what type of content to create, what problems to solve, and where your ideal customers are hanging out online.
Once you have created your buyer personas, you need to determine what stage of the funnel they are in.
At that point, you can better align your unique value proposition (UVP) to the stage they are currently in.
If you haven’t already, now is also an excellent time to determine your UVP.
Your UVP makes you different from your competition and should be tailored to each stage of the marketing funnel.
➡️ If you need ideas to create a unique value proposition, we’ve created an article you should read called “The 9 Hottest B2B Value Proposition Examples Of The Digital Age.”
Choosing your tactics
Developing your marketing process by focusing on one or two key strategies is best.
With digital marketing, all the platforms, tools, and tactics can be overwhelming.
Here are some tactics and the best stage to utilize them:
Social media platforms
With high volume and quality content, social media is one of the most valuable strategies in the awareness stage.
All buyers spend time on social and with consistency, quality call to action, and middle-of-the-funnel offers, you can get a number of social leads.
LinkedIn is an excellent platform for b2b businesses since it’s full of professionals looking to network and learn about new products or services.
Facebook and Instagram can also be effective, but they are typically better for the bottom of the funnel when leads are already familiar with your brand.
Search engine optimization
SEO still needs to be more utilized by many b2b businesses.
Over 82% of b2b buyers begin their search on Google search, meaning that you need SEO and relevant content to be found by your target customers.
Organic search traffic has some of the highest conversion rates since the traffic is already interested in what you offer.
If you are not ranking for relevant keywords, you are missing out on valuable leads ready to be converted.
SEO is beneficial for the top-of-funnel and middle-of-funnel stages.
For b2b businesses, PPC can be a great way to generate quality leads quickly.
Google ads can get costly if you don’t fully understand your buyers.
In many cases, this is better utilized for the middle of the funnel stage after you better understand your customer or if they have already shown interest in your business and what you offer.
Retargeting can significantly cut costs and increase conversions.
Email is one of the most effective ways to nurture leads and build customer relationships.
With b2b buyers, you need to take a different approach than b2c.
Your emails should be focused on providing value and educational content to help the buyer move further down the funnel.
You can use email at any stage of the b2b marketing funnel, but it is most effective in the middle and bottom of the funnel.
Visitors will likely never return to your website regardless of how good your marketing campaigns are.
Capturing their email will open the door for you to optimize lead nurturing sequences and eventually convert them into paying clients.
Quality content is the bread and butter of every business gaining marketing qualified leads.
Content can be used at any funnel stage to attract, educate, and convert leads into customers.
In the awareness stage, blog posts, infographics, ebooks, and guides are a great way to attract new website visitors.
In the middle of the funnel, webinars, templates, and checklists help educate interested leads in your products or services.
At the bottom of the funnel, case studies and free trials work well to convert leads into customers.
Whether it’s short-form video or long-form, your marketing efforts should include video.
81% of senior marketing executives believe that video increases ROI.
With the popularity of platforms like YouTube and TikTok, video is one of the best ways to reach your target audience.
Video can be used at any funnel stage, but it’s especially effective in the awareness stage.
An explainer video is a great way to introduce your products or services to new visitors quickly.
It’s also great to show off your brand personality and build trust with potential customers.
Webinars are another great way to use video in the middle of the funnel.
They provide an opportunity to dive deeper into your product or service and answer any leads’ questions.
Customer testimonials are videos that work well at the bottom of the funnel.
Hearing from other customers that have had success with your product or service can be the push that business prospects need to convert into paying customers.
Why you should implement a B2B sales funnel
To detail the significance of a b2b marketing funnel and how it can scale your business.
Higher return on investment
A b2b funnel can take your business from an annual gain of 5% to 30% or more.
A well-optimized funnel will keep a steady stream of leads in the pipeline so that your sales team can close more deals and your marketing team can focus on creating content that moves the needle.
Improved customer lifetime value
A b2b marketing funnel will also help you increase the lifetime value of your customers.
With a higher quality lead at the top of the funnel and a more efficient process to nurture leads, you’ll be able to increase the average customer lifetime value.
More efficient marketing spend
By tracking the performance of your marketing campaigns and effectiveness at each stage, you’ll be able to see which ones are driving the most results.
You can then double down on those campaigns and cut back on the ones that aren’t performing as well.
This will help you get the most out of your marketing budget and ensure that your campaigns are as effective as possible.
Increased brand awareness
Your brand will become more well-known as you generate more leads and close more deals.
This increased brand awareness can lead to even more deals, as potential customers will be more likely to do business with a company they’re familiar with.
Better understand your target audience
Your audience and their behaviors will continue to evolve.
By tracking the performance of your marketing campaigns, you’ll better understand the needs and expectations as they change.
This will help you adjust your campaign, landing page, and messaging accordingly to continue generating leads and closing deals.
A b2b marketing funnel can help take the guesswork and inefficiency out of your marketing and sales process.
It’s a pivotal component to scaling your business and achieving consistent growth.
How to measure the success of your marketing funnel
There are a few key metrics you can use to measure the success of your marketing funnel.
Focus on your conversion rate
The first metric is conversion rate, which measures the number of people who take a desired action divided by the total number of people who see your offer.
For example, if you’re running a webinar campaign and 100 people register, your objective is to get demos, and 7 people book a demo, your conversion rate would be 7%.
This metric will help you understand how well your offer is performing at each stage of the funnel.
This is helpful because if all things remain equal but you make a few fundamental changes to increase your conversion rate, you can significantly increase your company revenue.
Tracking your conversion rate will also help you identify areas of improvement in your marketing and sales process.
Focus on your cost per lead
Your cost per lead measures how much it costs to generate a single lead.
This metric is important because it will help you understand the ROI of your marketing campaigns.
If you’re generating leads for $100 and each lead turns into a $1,000 deal, you’re getting a good return on your investment.
However, if it costs you $200 to generate a lead that turns into a $100 deal, you need to get a better return on your investment and reduce your cost per lead.
To calculate your cost per lead, divide your total marketing spend by the number of leads generated.
Track your funnel velocity
Your funnel velocity measures the speed at which leads move through your marketing and sales process.
This metric is important because it will help you understand how efficient your marketing and sales process is.
You’re losing out on potential revenue if it takes too long to generate leads or convert them into customers.
To calculate your funnel velocity, divide the number of leads by the number of days it takes to generate them.
Start building your B2B marketing funnel
A b2b marketing funnel can help take the guesswork and inefficiency out of your marketing and sales process.
As long as you continue optimizing each stage of the funnel and focusing on one element at a time to create a holistic strategy, you’ll be successful in building a quality marketing funnel that works for your business.