The B2B customer's journey begins with an internet search. And they'll spend roughly 66% of the buying journey discovering and consuming information without the help of your sales reps. So how do you ensure they're moving through the B2B funnel smoothly? It requires creating a strategy that guides prospects to the end goal (aka the conversion). But to do this, you need the right content tailored for each stage of the buyer's journey. It all begins with crafting content that builds brand awareness and interest. This is why half the content B2B marketers develop focuses on the top of the funnel (TOF). This isn't to say middle (MOF) and bottom-of-the-funnel (BOF) leads aren't essential. If you want to generate results (and meet company goals), then you need a comprehensive plan that incorporates the entire buyer's journey. Need help with creating your funnel? Then this Checklist will help.
Why You Need a B2B Funnel
Selling products and services to businesses is tough, especially now. Each day, there are millions of pieces of content published.
So how do you stand out from all the noise? This is one of the challenges a strategic B2B funnel eliminates. Here's a look at some of the other reasons to use one:
Reduce lengthy sales cycles: It takes an average of 8 touches to convert a lead — a funnel facilitates ongoing engagement.
Better position your value prop: Learn your audience and how to best position your solution so it caters to their unique needs.
Measure the ROI of campaigns: When you understand your target audience (and your goals), it's easier to track ROI.
Give indecisive buyers a nudge: Develop content around the pain points of your target customers.
Build traffic and conversions: Funnels drive the right traffic to your site, which improves the odds of conversion.
Meet the demand for personalization: Buyers today want personalized experiences with brands — including the content they produce.
Align marketing and sales: Use marketing content to generate MQLs through the funnel and into the laps of sales teams.
Now, to witness these beneﬁts, you'll need to create a thorough B2B funnel. Here's a look at how.
Build Strong Personas
Buyer personas are common among businesses. However, few are using them properly (if at all). Be sure your customer personas are realistic, detailed, and accurate to get the best results. In other words, you need qualitative and quantitative data to drive MQLs through your B2B funnel.
Ideal customers Find out who your best customers are and model your personas after them (demographic, psychographic, and ﬁrmographic data).
Interview questions Create a list of questions to ask prospects, customers, and SMEs in the organization (sales, support, tech). Learn the pain points, hurdles, objections, desires, and goals of your ideal customers.
Analytics review What does your data say about your customers and prospects? Use this to identify the best target audience and their behaviors.
Conduct interviews Select who will conduct the interviews, surveys, or focus groups to gather qualitative data about your customers.
Map Out Conversions
What are the goals for your marketing and sales campaigns? And what are the goals of your buyers? This determines what metrics to track, how to identify success, and how to align content with the buyer's journey. It begins with mapping out the types of conversions that are big "wins" for your organization.
These are your "macro" conversions that drive prospects the closest to becoming a lead (or customer). These are what propels your company towards reaching its biggest goals. This includes actions like:
Requests for sales Leads found your content insightful and inspiring and are ready to speak to someone in sales.
Phone calls to sales Leads went through your content, but need quick answers to their questions.
The sale Leads used your automated set up to make the purchase without intervention (i.e., signed up to subscription-based tool, downloaded a digital product, requested a service).
Requests for demo Leads found your content helpful and would like a test drive before committing to a purchase.
Emails to sales Leads are interested in your content and product and have questions. But they prefer written communication and don't mind waiting a day or two to get the answers.
These micro-conversions are just as essential to your overall strategy. It's what drives leads closer to completing a macro conversion. And it reveals data about why they are or aren't completing macro conversions. It's intent-rich engagement and includes actions like:
Blog/email subscriptions Visitors ﬁnd your content helpful and want more delivered to their inbox.
Interacting with chat tool Visitors need help — use this to learn what questions and concerns your audience has. Then turn FAQs into blog posts or a knowledge hub.
Downloading a lead magnet A piece of content was pretty awesome and they want more. So they choose to download the lead magnet promoted at the end (guide, eBook, checklist, etc.).
These conversions pertain to ﬁrst-time visitors and prospects and how they initially perceive your brand. If you don't pass the "sniff test" then you can forget about primary and secondary conversions. It also includes conversions that don't directly impact sales, but show interest, which you can track by looking at the following actions:
Social follows A prospect following your social account is the next best thing to getting a subscriber. They enjoy your content enough to want to see every post you create.
Reading your content Visitors are consuming the content you create (track # of views for your blogs, videos, infographics, social posts, guest articles, etc.).
Social shares Sharing is caring couldn't be any more true — when someone shares content with their network, it solidiﬁes the quality and value of your posts.
Website engagement Looking at metrics like page views per session, bounce rate, and average time on site, speaks volumes about the relevance and value of your content.
You know who your buyers are. And you know what actions you want them to perform. Now, it's time to develop content that attracts, engages, and incites conversions. To do this, focus on every stage of the buyer's journey.
Top of the Funnel
Your prospects are in the learning stage, so teach them. Do all the research for them and lay it out in a simple-to-understand format. You can do this with your blog posts and videos, which should convert visitors into leads using downloadable content. This content focuses on the why.
Lead magnet This is a continuation, more in-depth, and/or complementary download that relates to the content it's attached to. And matches the intent of the visitor at this stage, which is research.
Talking about pain points In your lead magnet, focus on the major pain points of your audience. If you have more than one, then create multiple versions and segment your leads.
The six stages of the B2B customer journey includes:
Middle of the funnel
At this stage, your leads are considering your offer, but need more information. Craft content that speaks on the how (not just the why).
Positioning for solution Nurture your leads with an email campaign and content, such as solution/competitor comparisons, how-to guides for your particular product, and product/service demonstrations. The goal is to position your product or service as the solution.
Social proof Seal the deal by showing prospects how others are succeeding with your product or service (i.e., testimonials, case studies, and reviews).
Bottom of the funnel
Leads are ready to buy — make it easy for them to complete the purchase.
Price sheet Make it a no-brainer for leads to buy by creating a price list of your various products or services.
Free trials and demos Offer a freebie to get them using your solution (give just enough time/features to see the value and desire more).
Solution offerings Create content that speaks about the relevant beneﬁts of your solution and offerings.
Plan Website Funnel
When a visitor enters your website, what should they do next? It's up to you to determine the navigational ﬂow. This requires UX (user experience) design to guide visitors through your site. Consider every possible entry point (blog posts, home page, landing pages, product pages, etc.) and where you want them to end up.
Navigation What page do you want visitors to proceed to next once landing on your home, product, or blog? Include links on the page to guide them along.
Thank you pages Include thank-you pages for completing a CTA. This notiﬁes the visitor of a successful sign-up, purchase, or download. Also, use this to guide visitors to the next stage (i.e., a product page, video/blog post, newsletter subscription, or download).
Landing pages Each landing page should have a clear call to action (avoid multiple links to different pages — this will confuse and deter users from completing your CTA).
Identify the Best Channels
There are two options for generating awareness and traffic: Paid ads and organic search. Consider using a mix of the two to get the best results.
Ads continue to be an optimal way to generate traffic quickly. But monitor your budget so it doesn't surpass your limits. A/B split tests are also essential to identify what works and what doesn't. Some use paid ads as a short-term solution (i.e., product launch, promotion, sale, etc.).
SEM and Social Ads (Google, Facebook, LinkedIn) There are several platforms for paid advertising, including Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks. Use the ones your audience frequents for maximum results.
Search engine queries make up the bulk of internet traffic. So it makes sense to invest in a robust content marketing strategy. This should include a mix of:
Blog posts Regularly publishing high-quality content to your blog is key. Focus on topics your audience cares about and answering their questions in depth. Fresh, engaging, and easy-to-read content is what humans and search engines demand.
Search engine optimization Researching relevant, low-competition keywords to add to your content will help content rank and earn organic traffic.
Social media posts Share the content you create on your brand proﬁles. Remember, YouTube is the second most popular search engine, so consider repurposing blog posts into video and uploading them there.
Prepare to Analyze & Optimize
You'll need the right tools to analyze your website, blog, and social accounts. Use the data you gather to optimize your pages for better visibility, traffic, and conversions.
Analytics build Create analytics reports that identify ranking keywords, over or under-performing pages, and top traffic sources. Monitor your target audience to determine their conversion rates and look for potential opportunities (visits from groups you're not targeting).
Optimization plan Track targeted keywords, search for keyword opportunities, audit website (technical and on-page SEO), and refresh blog content.
Create Email Campaigns
Email lists are like the oil in a B2B funnel. It helps B2B marketers direct leads through the funnel (and beyond). Keep in mind: The buyer's journey doesn't end with the purchase.
Nurture lead Turning warm leads into hot buyers is what email is all about. Segment your campaigns to ensure they only receive relevant tips, information, and offers from your campaign.
Customer success Add patrons to a new email campaign that nurtures their success as newfound customers. Include tutorials, FAQs, guides, and videos so they can hit the ground running (and properly implement your product or service over the long term).
Develop a Fluid Pipeline
The B2B funnel requires a ﬂuid pipeline to be functional. This means making the transition from marketing to sales seamless. Identify the best methods and tools to simplify the process.
Sales relationship When leads come in from marketing, your sales team should focus just as much on relationship-building as they do selling. Not all leads are ready to buy immediately. Worst case, recycle leads back to marketing for nurturing.
Sales handoff How will marketing leads reach the right sales reps at the right time? Manual processes are slow — consider using tools like CRMs to ﬂag and direct leads so speed-to-lead times are optimal.
The B2B sales cycle is a tricky one. It's long — sometimes lasting four or more months. Throw in the 88% of buyers who expect content to be personalized and relevant every step of the way.
Without a deﬁned B2B funnel, it's challenging to meet these demands. And it all begins with understanding your target customers. This is critical with 68% of B2B buyers preferring to perform online research on their own.
If even a fraction of your audience is in this group, you'll need content that leads them from awareness to the ﬁnal decision (or risk losing them to competitors).
Need help putting it all together? At Orogamis, we have a highly successful funnel experience framework. We use this to deﬁne, ﬁne-tune, and optimize your sales cycle.