Wednesday, 15 July 2020

A simple guide on: understanding the b2b sales funnel

Since the time the classic B2B sales funnel was developed in the late 19th century, over many decades it has gone through a lot of changes. Today due to the digitalization of world B2B sales funnel has a different approach in its 5 stage model. But the basis of the B2B sales funnel remains the same. It is a great way to analyze at which point you are losing your customers and figure out the best way to grab those lost customers back into your business. According to this model, the value of the potential customers or leads keeps increasing the further they go into the funnel.
Before we go on how to adapt to new changes in the B2B sales funnel, we need to understand the classic B2B sales funnel. There are 5 stages in classic B2B sale funnel:
  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Evaluation
  4. Engagement
  5. Purchase
In this stage, the potential buyer is looking for solutions for their problems. Generally, they are looking to educate themselves about the problems and trying to find the right resources, information, and tools to solve their problems. At this stage, the value of the potential buyer or lead is at its minimum. To push this lead down the B2B sales funnel it is important to understand their problem and provide them enough data on probable solutions to their problems. This will get the potential buyer interested in your product/services.
Here the lead will examine the products/services you are offering them as a potential solution to their problems. These problems can be simple or complex, but providing multiple probable solutions will give the potential buyers the options to choose from, this will improve the trust between the lead and the business. As trust builds, the value of the lead increases as well. Also when you provide multiple solutions to the problems of the potential customer, it increases the brand image of your business. And we all can agree on the fact that brand image plays a major role in generating new leads to your business without any much extra work.
The evaluation stage is where complete honesty pays off. In this stage it is important to completely grab the attention of the potential customers or leads to the solutions you are providing them and why is your solution a right choice for the leads to solving their problems. In case all your solutions aren't advisable for the problems of the lead, then this is the stage to let them know that your solution isn't the right fit to solve their problems. Being honest in this stage will further build the trust of the lead. Though this honest might lose you a potential buyer or lead, it will pay off in the future as you don't have to start to build trust from the scratch and this will also help you build a better brand image.
Once you successfully push the lead down to the engagement stage of the funnel, it is time for the sales force to take up from here. In this stage, you need to pitch in different solutions to the lead and show them that you understand their problem and are here to find a solution for their problems. It's very important to show the lead that you understand their problem as it communicates to them that you are working in their best interest. This will create much better trust. If you fail to create trust in this stage then you will fail in sending the lead into the final stage.
This is the final stage where the entire transaction is approved and the final purchase is made by the lead, who is your customer now. This is where the traditional or classical B2B sales funnel ends, but in today's world CRM plays a huge role in feeding new potential customers to the funnel. Your Post-purchase service doesn't only increase customer satisfaction but also builds trust with your customers which will convert a customer into a regular customer. For instance, if a business owner facing an issue with the installation of the billing software that he has purchased from you, you need to be in a position to solve his issue without any extra charges. Retaining a customer is much hard than finding a new customer. In B2B sales more than 80% of the leads come from mouth to mouth marketing. So, post-purchase services become an essential method to generate new leads.
The major change that has occurred in the B2B sales funnel is the digitalization of the entire process. Starting from the Awareness stage where you need to find your leads through the internet as most of your potential buyers are looking for solutions for their problems online. So, having a digital presence is a must now. Due to digitalization, to create awareness regarding your business you need to conduct webinars, digital marketing campaigns and follow new digital trends to be visible to leads.
The process of creating trust is also much harder through the internet. So, brand image plays a huge role in creating trust in this digitalized world. You need to collect the data on the problems of your potential buyers through the internet. This can be done by survey methods. Examples of some of the survey methods are Google surveys, YouTube Ad surveys, Email surveys, etc.
Email Survey is generally more accurate as you can create a personalized questionnaire to understand the problem of each potential lead. Whereas Google surveys and YouTube Ad surveys are good to get data on larger groups with similar problems.
No matter if it was classical 19th century B2B sales funnel or modernized & digitalized 21st century B2B sales funnel, marketing, sales and CRM has to go hand in hand to form a successful B2B sales funnel. The advantage of digitalized B2B sales funnel is that the barrier of miscommunication between marketing, sales, and CRM has reduced due to the internet. This makes the entire process more effective, efficient, and frictionless for everyone. AverickMedia provides B2B database service which will help you improve your lead generation process.