How to build your B2B sales funnel?
The B2B sales funnel is a concept used to illustrate and rationalise the specific steps a buyer takes to purchase a product or service. It is often represented as a funnel, wide in the early stages, and getting smaller as the prospect progresses to the point of purchase.
As we have seen in our article on the B2B purchasing journey, all leads go through a similar journey leading to their purchase decision. It is therefore essential for every company to understand how prospects progress through this funnel and to implement actions in front of each of these stages.
In order to decode together in this article the construction of a B2B sales funnel, we are going to review each stage of the purchasing process and associate it with the sales and marketing actions to be implemented.
B2B sales funnel : the unaware stage
In the unaware stage, prospects are not aware of their problem or need. This is the stage where the funnel is the widest: we are talking about contacting as many prospects as possible! At this stage, prospects are not yet aware of their need, so it’s up to the salespeople to make them aware of it and turn that need into a project.
Sales prospecting : This is the only technique that allows you to go after prospects who are in the unaware phase! Business Development Representatives call cold leads that have been previously determined to be part of your target group, with the aim of setting up a meeting with your sales staff.
To successfully turn them into potential customers, salespeople will need to educate the prospects. To create interest, you need to ask them the right questions, get them talking, and listen, to make them aware of their need. It is also essential to prove the importance of that need, and that the potential cost and risk of doing nothing is far greater than that of your solution, thus leading your prospects to the closing of the deal.
You should therefore not make the following two mistakes: presenting the solution at the first meeting, and expecting the prospect to come with a precise project, or even a clear awareness of their need.
B2B sales funnel : the problem aware stage
In the problem aware stage, the prospect begins to realise that they have a problem or a need. Often, the potential buyer at this stage has not yet heard of your company or product, but having become aware of their problem, they are actively seeking information on how to solve it.
This stage of the buying journey is called the awareness stage in the B2B sales funnel. The purpose of this step is to provide the information needed to solve the problem they are seeking and to present your product or service as a potential solution. It is therefore essential to demonstrate that your company understands the needs and pain points of prospects.
MQL follow-up : It is also at this step that your SDRs (or Sales Development Representatives) call back the qualified prospects or MQLs (= Marketing Qualified Leads) who have contacted your company via your marketing channels, in order to arrange an appointment or a next step.
The blog : Maintaining a specialised blog allows your company to publish free educational content on your area of expertise, in order to answer specific questions from your potential buyers.
Search Engine Optimization : In order to make your website appear in the first results of Google so that it is easily found by your prospects when they search, you can optimise its content using SEO techniques.
Paid Ads : Sponsored ads on Google (and on social networks) allow you to direct prospects to your product pages during their searches.
B2B sales funnel : the solution aware stage
In the consideration stage, the prospect begins to pay serious attention to the problem. In the B2B sales funnel, this step is where potential buyers evaluate the options to solve their problem. They learn more about the different solutions available and examine the fit between each solution and their organisation.
At this stage, prospects have already defined and named their problem and are preparing to make a list of all the products or services that could effectively address their problem. To capture prospects at this stage, it is important to show them why your solution is the most suitable, particularly through the way it addresses their pain points, which you have previously determined in your Buyer Persona.
Discovery calls : During the first few meetings with prospects, salespeople should carry out the discovery process. Done properly, it allows them to ask targeted questions to prospects to obtain information that can be used throughout the sales process. Find out how to conduct a proper discovery call.
Leads evaluation : As prospects move through the B2B sales funnel, lead scoring via a scoring system within your CRM will track the interest and purchase intent of your prospects.
The blog : Again, the content should be educational and informative, but at this stage it is also important that it focuses on solutions like yours and offers comparisons of relevant alternatives.
Retargeting : As far as your marketing strategy is concerned, this is where you can allocate some of your budget to retargeting ads, which will target prospects who have already visited your site.
B2B sales funnel : the product aware stage
In the product aware stage, the prospect has made a decision to solve his problem. They are looking for the most suitable solution and have a clear idea of what they want. They will therefore compile a list of existing solutions and compare them with their specifications before making a final purchase decision.
At this point, the prospect can be seen as an opportunity. However, it is necessary to continue to nurture them, for example by setting up product demos adapted to the prospect’s needs or by deepening the discovery during their exchanges. The next step is to qualify these prospects using an opportunity qualification process such as B.A.N.T. (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing) for example.
It is essential that salespeople continue to qualify throughout the B2B sales funnel, as there is no guarantee that a prospect will buy until they have signed!
B2B sales funnel : the most aware stage
In the decision phase, the prospect takes action. They have found the right solution, understand the features, benefits and price, and are ready to close the sale. This is the narrowest point of the B2B sales funnel, and only a small portion of prospects make it.
At this stage, your prospects are convinced that a solution like yours can meet their needs. However, they are still weighing up the pros and cons of your offer, those of your competitors, and the alternatives.
In B2B, this stage is often about convincing high-level decision-makers in the company or a purchasing committee (hence the interest in targeting decision-makers directly with prospecting!). You will need to address and remove any remaining barriers to purchase, and convince prospects of the business value you offer.
This is where the work on your Buyer Persona, as seen in a previous article, comes into its own. The arguments prepared for each of your BP according to the different pain points and priorities will help you to convince each decision-maker that your solution is the most suitable.
Case studies : Use cases can be very effective in demonstrating specific benefits of your solution, especially if the case study is in a similar vertical to your prospect.
Negotiating : If necessary, negotiating a discount or trial period can be a decisive factor in a prospect’s decision to buy. However, be careful to preserve your margin!
Congratulations, your client has signed! 🎉 But beware, the B2B sales funnel doesn’t end there, now is the time to prove your value and help your new customer maximise their ROI. This is also the time to offer renewals and upsells. This is the role of your Customer Success Manager !
Visit our blog to learn more on topics such as business development, sales and cold calling, and find out how to help your business grow! Make sure to check out our use cases to see what B2B technology companies have achieved through business development with Suxeed.
Any questions on the topic? Need to know more? Write to our CEO Ephraïm Bismuth to find out how to adapt the business development model to your company!
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