Without a B2B sales funnel, running any business is hard work. Marketing becomes daunting when there is a disconnect between the target audience and the brand. Companies must understand that an efficient sales funnel builds a robust marketing framework. It is so because the B2B sales funnel segments the buyer’s journey into stages, making it easier to implement targeted marketing efforts.
Over the last five years, I have run an agency specializing in landing pages and marketing automation. Thankfully I made the right decision to build a sales funnel at the right time. It has helped us achieve growth without any outside investment.
In this article, I will share some B2B sales funnel strategies so you can adapt them and generate quality leads for higher business growth.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is a B2B Marketing Funnel?
A B2B (business-to-business) marketing funnel, or a sales funnel, is a conceptual framework representing a potential customer journey before purchasing or becoming a qualified lead. This framework, often guided by the implementation of targeted marketing campaigns, is used by businesses to understand and optimize the process of converting prospects into paying customers in the B2B context.
The B2B marketing funnel typically consists of several stages that reflect the progression of a potential customer's interaction with a business, from initial awareness to final conversion.
What is a B2B Sales Funnel?
A B2B sales funnel defines a step-by-step process customized according to a company’s requirements and focuses on generating leads and conversions. It breaks down the prospect’s buying journey into four different stages, which are:
- Awareness stage: This is where the marketing team attracts prospective customers through channels such as social media posts and marketing content. The sales funnel stages begin here as potential buyers start their buyer journey.
- Consideration stage: B2B buyers research and evaluate options during this stage, which aligns with educational content and targeted email communications.
- Stage of Conversion: The purchase decision occurs in this stage, often supported by B2B sales cycle efforts.
- Retention stage: After the purchase decision, efforts like nurturing email campaigns and engaging content marketing are used to retain and engage B2B customers.
Each stage within the B2B sales funnel significantly converts a prospect into a paying client. By comprehending the position of each lead within the funnel, marketers can strategically plan and execute tailored marketing strategies that capture attention and drive engagement with the brand.
An essential thing to understand about the sales funnel is how to personalize it according to an industry’s needs. Let’s discuss more of that.
Before sharing our B2B sales funnel marketing strategies, I want to share why we niched down. When starting my web agency business, I quickly realised that we had to come across as specialists to stand out.
I loved web design, but I saw hundreds of others offering the same thing, so to be different, I decided to focus on a niche, and this is where landing pages design and build service became our focal point.
Over the years, our teams grew, and we created a system for building high-converting landing pages. And after working with over 400 customers, we can say now we know a thing or two about landing pages. This focus has helped us create high-quality content for our blog and the copy on the website.
I often see agency owners struggle to differentiate themselves as they try to sell everyone everything, so the website copy is dilute and doesn’t convey a strong message. Niching down has helped us, and if you are considering specialising in certain areas, I would highly recommend doing that.
B2B Sales Funnel Marketing Best Practices
1. SEO Traffic
Organic traffic has been the most significant lead-generating system since our inception. Although you must have heard countless times that you need SEO, etc. But let me give you a run of the steps we took:
A. As I mentioned, we niched down to only offer landing pages, so our messaging on our website was very clear.
B. We started looking at low volume, low competition keywords related to landing pages,
2. SEO – Technical Checklist
We also ensured Google crawled our website frequently and ticked off all the technical SEO boxes.
E.g. Our web pages load in less than a second; we have no crawl errors, all our pages are SEO optimised and needless to say, all the pages are highly responsive. One of the key metrics Google looks at these days.
So over the years, after adding hundreds of blog posts and service pages, we started ranking for a competitive keyword like Landing Page Agency.
3. SEO – Important Things to Consider
Rank your blog posts first for long-tail keywords, link them to your service pages, and then, over time, your service pages will rank for high-intent keywords.
4. CRO – Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) increases your website’s conversion rate in simpler terms; it is the process through which you can get more leads from your existing visitors.
The idea is to make subtle changes to your website so that visitors take action. From our very early days, we concentrated on usability. We focused on creating a simple, intuitive, and easy-to-use website where visitors could easily browse through our website and contact us.
We used big, bold buttons, and our key strength has been using a multi-step form on our contact us page and in other critical areas such as the homepage. Multi-step forms are easy to use and allow visitors to answer 1 question at a time without creating a cognitive load.
Before using the LeadGen app, we were using a Hubspot CRM form, but just by switching the form, our conversions doubled.
As an agency, you know how important it is to get referrals. The best clients come through referrals. But getting referrals isn’t easy, and you can’t predict or scale them. However, you can set the stage so you can create win-win scenarios.
Here is what we did. Since we don’t offer PPC management or any paid advertising, we reached out to other niche agencies who just offered precisely that. And after building trust and relationships, we now have a trusted network of Ad agencies who refer their clients to us and vice versa. Think of what other agencies complement yours and reach out to them to create a win-win.
There are lots of ways you can use other marketplaces to generate leads. These include freelancing marketing like Upwork or B2B rating websites like Clutch.
I started our profile on Upwork back in 2012. Over the years, after working on hundreds of projects, we are now in a position where we can get invitations from high-quality projects, and these projects turn into recurring and long-term clients.
A word of caution: We strictly keep Upwork clients on Upwork as it helps us build up our financial history and social proof. I recommend picking and using one of these marketplaces to build up your presence and leads.
7. Paid Traffic
I know you must be wondering why I left paid traffic as a lead generation source at the end. The reality is that we don’t spend money on paid traffic as we are happy with our performance on organic.
However, if you are looking for high-quality MQLs right now, I recommend investing in Google Ads. We only run branded ads on Google to always show up in the top position when a potential prospect is looking for us.
These were some of the primary B2B sales funnel marketing strategies we use in our agency to generate leads. As we saw, SEO plays a crucial role in attracting organic leads, and CRO supports it by pushing the efficiency of marketing activities. By getting creative with B2B sales funnel effort through referral offers and being present at various marketplaces, brand presence, and loyalty increase.
I am sure there are plenty of other ways to generate more leads, and we continue to learn as we adapt to become better at lead generation.
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