Is your B2B sales funnel providing the desired results?
In fact, the Business-to-Business (B2B) sales funnel is an excellent marketing and sales tool for following up the buyer’s journey through any brand from their initial visits to being converted as lead, and to the point where they finally become the customer.
Nevertheless, the B2B sales landscape has changed a lot over the years in what that worked before or a decade ago is no longer viable, thanks to the changes that occurred in the conversion/persuasion game in the B2B marketplace.
This is because, in today’s marketplace, it is no longer the sales teams who are in control- but rather it is the buyers.
We as one of the most popular vendors of easy to use CRM solutions have often observed that today’s buyers in the B2B space prefer to do all the research with little or no interference from the salespersons, which results in leaving most B2B sellers outwitted and clueless by those who know.
Hence a B2B sales funnel that aligns well with the buyer’s journey is important to measure a successful and smooth ride in the present marketplace.
What is a sales funnel?
To understand a sales funnel imagine an actual funnel through which you can guide liquids into a container.
Now in business, this liquid represents leads and the funnel stands for the medium for marketing which is for example emails and the container is where your customers are served by your company.
Hence at the top of the funnel even though a lot of liquid can go inside at once, nevertheless as they progress into the funnel ( your email series) the funnel narrows only to include those leads that are ready to buy and eventually become your customers.
Therefore, this above-stated analogy which illustrates the buyer journey through a sales funnel can be broken down into three main stages which include:
Stage 1: Awareness
In this phase most leads in the B2B sales funnel are seeking general information that can either give an answer to their most pressing questions or effectively address their pain points.
Therefore the content that the leads look here is that provides more light on how to find aid for their specific situations, and hence is no place to sell them your offerings.
Stage 2: Consideration
In the second stage in the sales funnel, most leads, in general, have already explored different options available in the marketplace to for getting their issues solved and so are now busy to critically evaluate solutions at their disposal to decide the best fit, which is of course from their own standpoints.
Stage 3: Decision
Conditional to how effective are the above mentioned two processes, in the decision making stage in the sales funnel the lead then makes a final decision on whether to buy from your brand or not. So if the decision made by the prospective lead in this third stage of the funnel is in your favor, they become your customers. If not, they move off without completing the sales cycle and mostly goes away to the competition.
The Modern Evolution Of The B2B Sales Funnel
Thanks to disruptive technology, the B2B sales funnel is a thousand miles ahead of what it used to be ten years ago. As predominantly, the B2B buyer is a lot more informed nowadays, and hence, more sophisticated, and completely transforming their decision-making and buying behavior in the present times.
Hence in the past, whereby you would invite a targeted buyer out to lunch, or meet them up at a golf course, or have a sales team storm their office, today, according to the founder of Growth Acumen, Steven Norman, B2B buyers make 70 – 80 percent of their buying journey virtually, without ever meeting any salesperson, face to face.
In fact, with so much information at their fingertips, a B2B buyer today is able to do product research, read reviews and references, and make a decision without being influenced by a single salesperson.
And what all of this means is that, in today’s marketplace, buyers are a lot more in control.
Therefore, this major tilt in power and control from the seller to the buyer has been dramatic, to say the least, whereby today B2B sellers are finding they have to constantly up their game to stay on the B2B buyer’s radar, and so they have to adapt to the constantly evolving sales environment to have a firm grip on their marketplace.
So what happens if they fail to adapt?
The obvious answer is – they die and are quickly forgotten giving way to those who know how to act quickly and stay on top of things (as far as the changing dynamics of today’s marketplace are concerned).
Hence, as one of the best Salesforce Alternative CRM tools, we believe one of the worst things that can happen to a B2B seller is being clueless about the current customer journey, blaming low sales and poor results on a slow market or its sales force.
At first, the loss might be slow. But as more quick-to-adapt competitors get right in front of the pecking order the late or non-adopters lose out faster until they are completely dispossessed of their market share – especially if they continue in their ignorance.
How Can B2B Companies Adapt Before It Is Too Late
According to Richard Branson, “Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision, and change.”
Hence, here are 3 top ways to adapt like a pro:
1.Reposition your sales force
Granted, your B2B sales force is still critical to your sales success but you must understand the new role they play in the B2B buyer journey and position them accordingly.
Yes, today’s buyers do not want a product straight out of the shelf, but they do not want a salesperson to simply tell them about the product either.
Instead, modern buyers expect salespeople to help them distill the complex buying process and then present a concise, customized solution that addresses their pain point or situation adequately.
2.Use SEO and leverage digital marketing
The thing is 93 percent of website traffic comes from search engines and 50 percent of prospects are more likely to click on a link if they come across it more than once.
Therefore investing in SEO gives B2B sellers the upper hand over their competition.
In the past, going ‘traditional’ with your ad campaign was way-to-go for the majority of B2B sellers looking to capture the minds of buyers. But amazingly, 54 percent of present-day buyers say they do not trust traditionally branded content.
Hence, to win over this category, B2B sellers must embrace brand awareness, using digital marketing tools.
3.Leverage the power of “Big Data” tools
Take it or leave it, nevertheless, it is true that B2B sellers who replace instinct with big data are 6 percent more profitable. With the advent of AI and machine learning, companies who invest in it are now able to leverage big data to predict buyer behavior much more accurately, using previous buying history stored in their sales CRM software’s database.
This way, they are able to qualify leads by analyzing data and using the results to create targeted marketing messages that reduce cost, dramatically improves efficiency, and supercharges sales activities predictably and consistently over time.
Therefore as a B2B seller in today’s world, you cannot afford to sit on your hands and expect prospects to come and eventually buy from your brand.
Rather you must take up your ‘proactive thinking cap,’ find out the new channels prospects are on, and share content that connects, convince and convert them.
You also need to work hand in hand with your marketing arm, using the data and recommendations generated to create sales tools that can draw-in the prospects further down your B2B sales funnel. Since only by doing this activates you can create the B2B buyer-seller ‘courtship’ that engenders trust and ensures you succeed in modern-day B2B sales.