10 Steps to an Efficient B2B Sales Funnel

A well-filled and smoothly functioning B2B sales funnel is the basis for a sustainable B2B company. We show you how to turn your sales funnel into an efficient tool for marketing and sales.

Sales Funnel

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Marketing and sales must work together

For the successful expansion of existing business, it is crucial to generate interesting leads on a regular basis. In companies, the acquisition of new customers is a marketing task, while sales employees handle the conclusion of contracts. It is necessary that both departments work together in a structured way. The better the quality of your lead acquisition, the greater the prospect of a high-quality sales funnel.

What is a sales funnel?

The figurative comparison with a funnel also applies to the virtual sales funnel. Here, the journey of a customer from the first contact to the conclusion of a contract is represented in stages. The sales funnel collects the mass of initial contacts at the top end and filters out the qualified addresees with each stage, while irrelevant contacts are excluded.

The sales funnel comprises these areas:

  • Top of Funnel (TOFU)

  • Middle of Funnel (MOFU)

  • Bottom of Funnel (BOFU)

Sales Funnel

Source: Sales Funnel according to Aioma

Top of Funnel (TOFU)

This part describes the initial contact with your company. The prospects seek a solution to their problem and research topics that concern them. The task of your B2B company is to position itself in this first stage of the sales funnel and to offer answers to the user's questions.

Middle of Funnel (MOFU)

The middle part of the sales funnel deals with specific questions from the user and builds on the knowledge from the TOFU section. The goal of this phase is to find out which users are actually potential customers and which are not part of the target group and can be neglected accordingly.

Bottom of Funnel (BOFU)

Only those contacts who have expressed a clear interest in your company's solutions reach the last part of the sales funnel. It is now a matter of convincing the qualified contact that they are making the right decision when they contact you.

Optimizing the sales funnel with automation and personalization

Only when succeeding to:

  • Clearly define goals

  • Create personalized content

  • Automate processes

you will be able to optimize your sales funnel along all areas. Read here how to create an efficient sales funnel in 10 steps.

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Steps in the Top of Funnel (TOFU)

Step 1: Clear definition of the target group

The exact target group analysis is of essential importance in the B2B area. The specifications for the selection of future leads must precisely be defined by marketing and sales representatives.

The goal is for both departments to have an exact idea of which leads are to be collected so that no unsuitable prospects without added value for the business subsequently enter the sales funnel.

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Step 2: online leads as an extension of lead sources

Attending trade shows to acquire new leads is currently almost impossible. Due to this fact, as well as the changing user behavior of the next generation of decision makers, online contact points are becoming increasingly important.

Prospective customers mainly want to gather information on their own before seeking initial contact with sales. This requires comprehensive and, above all, informative online content and the ability to collect contact details from prospects in exchange for relevant information.

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Step 3: Know the Customer Journey

The four phases of the customer journey in B2B are as follows:

  • Attract

  • Engage

  • Convert

  • Delight

In each phase, a prospect has different needs that should be met with appropriate content. When creating digital content, it is therefore important to pay attention to which questions the content should answer and what prior knowledge the user has at this point. Accordingly, it is possible to attract the adequate users to the sales funnel.

Aioma Customer Journey

Source: Customer Journey according to Aioma

Step 4: Define keywords

If you know the customer journey, you already know what the target group(s) are looking for in terms of content. However, in order to appear in the highest possible position on Google search (SERP), you also need to know HOW your target group performs a search.

More specifically this means: Which search terms (keywords) are used in the individual phases of the customer journey?

Most of the time, the potential customer only knows his problem, but does not yet know the perfect solution. Often the search terms therefore deviate from the internal terms and need to be examined more closely.

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Step 5: Convert leads with Lead Magnets

In order for a contact to be willing to share their contact information, they expect something in return. In marketing, content offered to a user in exchange for their data is called a Lead Magnet.

A lead magnet is a piece of content that is relevant to the user, usually timeless, and is emailed to them after they fill out a form.

Examples of efficient B2B lead magnets are:

  • Whitepapers

  • Guides

  • Checklists

  • Case studies

  • Industry Reports

  • Videos

  • Webinars

When selecting lead magnets, keep in mind that the content provided should be both interesting to your leads and useful further down the customer journey in the sales funnel.

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Steps in the Middle of Funnel (MOFU)

Step 6: Answer open questions without personal contact

The first promising leads have now been acquired. In this step of the sales funnel, it must be possible to answer specific user questions.

In order to achieve the greatest possible reach, not only the website but also the company's own social media profiles should be used.

Social media has established itself as an ideal contact point (touchpoint) for the distribution of content.

Suitable channels for the distribution of B2B information are:

  • LinkedIn

  • Xing

  • Twitter

  • Facebook

Step 7: Automated Lead Nurturing

To ensure contacts move into the next phase of the sales funnel in a timely manner, they should regularly be provided with content that builds on their existing knowledge.

This is where personalized newsletters and automated social media posts pay off.

Hence, recurring tasks are automated and the user is actively provided with supplementary content.

Newsletter-Aioma-EN.jpg

Source: Personalized Newsletter from Aioma Software

Step 8: Lead Scoring

To know at any point in time where in their customer journey your lead is, a scoring model is required. This is where all the interactions and information that have been recorded via tracking flow in.

The result shows whether your lead's interest is high enough for a personal contact by a sales representative. With a comprehensive customer profile, your marketing and sales team always have an overview of how far along in the sales funnel a lead is.

Kontakt Product Fit

Source: Scoring from Aioma Software

Steps in the Bottom of Funnel (BOFU)

Step 9: Only contact qualified leads

If your leads have made it through the sales funnel to this stage, it's time to hand off the qualified leads to the sales team.

The big advantage for the sales team is that only potential customers who have already shown detailed interest in the company and specific products will appear.

Step 10: Suitable offer for known contact

Sales staff are aware of the customer's problems and the appropriate solutions from their own product range. Based on this information, targeted offers can be made that increase the probability of closing a deal.

Conclusion

For a long-term successful business model, new customer acquisition is an important pillar in the B2B sector.

While employees in the areas of marketing and sales often poke around in the fog in an unstructured way to generate new leads, a well-structured lead acquisition with the help of the sales funnel is the better alternative.