A Business-to-Business (B2B) sales funnel does not just capture new business, but it is also a most essential key for nurturing your existing customer relationship using an easy to use CRM software and understand where your process in sales is failing to address the pain points of your leads.
Therefore, by developing a watertight sales-funnel, you can ensure your sales teams to improve their conversion rate and also make sure that you are helping your business to adapt to necessary changes and requirements of your customer base.
Now, in spite of a plethora of reasons to develop and identify your sales-funnel, 68 percent of companies do not keep a track of their buyer’s journey, not to mention of 79 percent of leads are left undeveloped and unconverted according to data shared by a major cloud based CRM vendor of global repute.
Hence, in this article we have illustrated the basic fundamentals of creating a sales funnel that caters to the modern needs of the present customer base in your CRM database by following five easy steps that are outlined below:
How To Build The Ideal B2B Sales Funnel
Chances are there if you know what is CRM software and your sales and marketing reps are conversant with the philosophy of B2B sales-funnel: recognize and thereafter breakdown the main steps in a buyer’s journey to better understand where the real actions are taking place and where the golden opportunities lie for easy conversion of your prospective leads.
The classical version of the five-stage model in B2B sales has been prevailing in business for longer than 1898, however, this model is absolutely outdated as of date.
This is because of the simple reason- the B2B customer base has altered over time.
Today customers go through a multi-tiered and complex journey when it is required to decide who their business should go to.
This is because the modern decision-making process in B2B sales (unlike the generations before) can fetch through thousands of reviews, results, and websites in seconds before finalizing on a deal.
According to a study published by Google, 89 percent of B2B researchers use the Internet to know more about their customers, and more than 81 percent of customers use the Web to scope out businesses in return.
So, why would you still use a B2B sales-funnel that does not work with the requirements of modern business, in this digital age?
The plain and simple answer to this question is: You should not!
This is why CEB (a provider of business research and analysis bought over by the IT research firm Gartner) in 2012 bemoaning the death of the classical model, empathized on the growth of the new B2B sales-funnel models, a few of which are mentioned below:
• Forrester Model
An amalgamation of peer reviews, alternatives in the competitive markets, recommendations received from friends, and user-generated contents that help to push leads through the discover-explore-engage-buy stage.
• McKinsey Loyalty Loop
A combination of consumers considering brands, narrowing down options, selecting a brand, and thereafter make use of that experience to build future buying decisions.
• Heinz Model
A combination of community-awareness-consideration-action-value realization-loyalty and finally evangelism.
Although there are many more sales-funnel models that are available today, all of them share some common wisdom.
Hence let us explore below what we learned from these new models and the old classical model to engage with leads that boost closing rate and support new
businesses after the initial purchase.
1. Attract Customer Attention
Today customers have limited time and near-countless options to explore them all. However, if you wait until they are ready to purchase, you will definitely be late, since they will be on their next opinion by then.
Therefore, it is best to remain focused on building awareness even before your consumers even know that they need your offerings so that when the pain-point arises they are already aware of the right knowledge as to whom they should turn.
Hence create contents for your buyer personas that you want to convert and never share any information or data that is redundant to your customer’s needs.
But how do you understand what your customers want and present that information in a captivating way?
Well, by learning from your existing prospective leads, analyzing conversion rates and the resources your customers most use you can easily track where your existing buyers take their actions in your sales funnel. So that once you know this you can create contents that your leads love to consume, offer downloadable contents, and other additional marketing incentives to inspire your leads to provide you with their email addresses.
After which, you can continue building awareness for your prospective leads with the help of email drip marketing campaigns using your easy to use CRM that helps to showcase your expertise on your products and services.
2. Nurture your relationships
Consistency is the most important aspect to ensure that your leads stick with you through each stage of your B2B sales funnel.
According to studies, most B2B customers want their vendors to demonstrate their knowledge and relevancy in their subject at least 3-5 times before the lead starts believing in their claims.
Hence, if you are not consistently putting your offerings in front of them, and remain on top of their mind, it is most likely they will not consider you as a valid option when it is time for making their purchase.
Even though it is hard to convince your sales team to generate relevant and customized contents for your leads at an early stage (as it does not guarantee a return of their investments), nevertheless this is also true that even less than 4 percent of visitors who visits your website are ready to buy, while the rest 96 percent needs nurturing to reach the next stage in your sales funnel.
In fact, according to studies it has been observed that on an average minimum of 84 days is required for the leads to go from the awareness phase to the consideration stage in the sales funnel.
Using an easy to use CRM which helps to nurture a relationship with the leads through an automated drip email marketing, investing in this crucial stage of the customer journey, can help companies to generate 50 percent more sales-ready leads and make them achieve 9.3 percent higher sales quotas.
Moreover, easy to use CRM also aids marketers to measure contents that achieve the best click-through rates, metrics that can help your sales reps reach out to the prospects in the right time when they are ready to explore other buying options after your lead nurturing strategies has successfully piqued their curiosity.
3. Make the first impression count
This above stated old adage could not be truer than with B2B sales-funnel, where the first impressions are the last impression to the purchasers of your offerings.
Therefore, when your qualified leads are ready to progress down your sales pipeline, it is critical that your sales reps demonstrate that they do understand the unique pain-points of your leads individually.
Remember those customer survey metrics that you analyzed during the awareness stage? Use those lessons learned now about the challenges that your leads face the most to establish trust with your prospective leads.
Reports illustrate that brands whose sales reps focus on just solving 3-4 problems their customers faced during their initial calls to them when they were prospects saw an 81-85 percent success rate of those prospects moving down the sales funnel.
Therefore, apart from responding to your leads quickly and positively once they are sales-ready, spend time with them during the awareness stage and identify a handful of their pain-points that your products or services can help to overcome their challenges.
Next, create a script of the unique way your offerings can overcome these challenges and make sure that those contents are easily available to the sales reps that make the initial contacts as 30-50 percent of sales are closed by the initial vendor that respond to the leads.
Hence, initial calls should quickly point out your value to your prospects, how you can address their requirements and thereafter leave time for them to question you regarding your offerings.
4. Drive home your value
It is easy to let your foot slips off the gas when your customers are prepared to convert since you found promising emails and calls that seemed like your leads will get converted on their own.
Nevertheless, this approach costs businesses to lose easy-to-reach and valuable business.
This is because 47 percent of all large purchases in the B2B industry is created by nurturing leads- those that find support all the way to the close- than leads those that are left to fend for their own.
Therefore, always help your leads to overcome the last few yards of your sales-funnel by implementing the ASK procedure which includes:
A- Aligning priorities
S- Securing commitments
K- Keeping the relation alive
Since, even if your leads do not ultimately become your customers, they can provide you with valuable insights on finding new techniques for improving your sales funnel.
Therefore, by engaging consistently with your customers from their very first contact to closure of the deals through follow-up calls and emails, you can definitely boost the chances of conversion and create a positive relationship with the customers that outlasts even after the purchase.
5. Continue to build the relationship after the close
This is where the present B2B sales funnels are at variance from the age-old classic five-stage sales-funnel models in modern business.
In the past years, brands focused mainly on getting their purchases done and thereafter abandoned their marketing and sales efforts past this stage in the funnel.
However, doing this ignores the potential of repeat business and customer referrals.
It has been seen that most customers in B2B sales convert since they were referred by a colleague or a friend as those prospects who come to buy your offerings through an existing customer’s referral are six times more likely to convert than those who do not.
Therefore, it is important to check in with your new customers with follow-up emails and surveys from your sales teams, so that you can find an idea of what they loved the most about your offerings, help your company to collect valuable customer testimonials, or even encourage your new customers to share their valuable experience with your brand with their acquaintances on social media websites.
You may even offer your customers rewards and awards for these actions like providing a discount on their future purchase and services.
Hence to conclude, the main element of ensuring that your B2B sales-funnel truly resonates with your customers remains in guiding them seamlessly through your purchase process that lies in understanding the data in your sales pipeline.