Your B2B sales funnel is one of the most important pieces of your online presence! Optimizing your sales funnels and fixing any problems is the key to seamlessly moving your prospects towards converting into clients. 

Whether you currently have a B2B sales funnel in place and you want to see better results, or you’re brand new to creating a sales funnel, the right optimization tips will make a HUGE difference! 

How To Fix and Optimize Your B2B Sales Funnel For The Best Results | Wind Water Marketing

What Does A B2B Sales Funnel Actually Mean?

Let’s back up for a second. What does it actually mean to build a B2B sales funnel? This concept has been around for literally hundreds of years (since 1898, actually!). 

Basically, the idea is that new leads enter the “top” of your funnel to become aware of your business, and then move through the funnel step-by-step and eventually convert to become clients. That ‘act’ of conversion can be making a purchase, booking services, or even scheduling a discovery call. 

But in the last few years, with technology and social media showing people so much content every single day, you have to be strategic with your sales funnels. You have a limited chance to capture someone’s interest! 

There are actually five stages in a modern B2B sales funnel. Let’s dive in and explore each one a little deeper. 

Stage 1: Awareness

This is the very top of your sales funnel. In the awareness stage, someone is looking for answers and solutions to a problem. That’s where your business comes in! 

At the top of your funnel, you’ll want to attract, connect with, and educate as much of your target audience as possible. You’ll need to share free, simple, and more general content about your niche. Start introducing the idea of pain points and solutions…but don’t be salesy! Think short, catchy, and shareable content. 

Although the top of your funnel is just the beginning of a clients’ journey with your business, this stage is still super valuable. It’s going to give you vital information about what your leads are looking for, their problems, and how they discover your business. 

By providing information and value, you’ll have brought your business to the potential client’s attention — yay! From here you need to offer something to keep their interest and to learn about who they are—cue the next stage.

Stage 2: Engagement

In this next stage, a potential client starts doing some research and trying to learn more information about your business and services. You can start to form trust, which is why this is a key part of your B2B sales funnel! 

Engagement and building rapport are the keys to this lead funnel stage. It’s all about having your prospects learn about how knowledgeable and helpful you are and how you understand their unique pain. 

This is also where you dig deeper into your ideal audience persona and use messaging that resonates to encourage content opt-ins. Building your email list is huge during this stage of your B2B sales funnel. 

Once someone opts into something you’re offering (which happens in the engagement stage!) they’re considered a lead. But although this is a great step, you still have a lot of work to do in order to achieve a conversion. 

At this point in your B2B sales funnel, a lead has indicated clear interest by engaging with your business in some way. That means it’s time for you to really hit home the point that you fully understand their pain points…and that you want to (and can!) help them reach a solution. 

In the content you share during this stage, add CTAs that encourage potential clients to reach out. This could be through a reply to an email, participation in a poll, leaving a comment, or sharing. 

Stage 3: Nurture

Now, you have the lead’s attention…so it’s time to nurture them and really educate them about why your services are the solution for them. 

Most B2B sales are made from relationships, as it’s a longer cycle and will require a certain level of trust between you and the prospect. Building relationships with prospects is the hardest part of your B2B sales funnel, but it’s also the most important. 

To nurture your audience towards a sale, you will need to do two things: show that you know their pain/frustration AND show that you can solve it. 

In this stage, you will weed out those that are not genuinely interested in purchasing (but non-buyers can still be good referrers or social engagers, so don’t dismiss them!).

Focus on building trust. The best way to do this? Show people who your services wouldn’t be great for. I know, I know—it sounds counterintuitive…but people will trust you so much more if you’re specific in who you serve! 

Stage 4: Convert

Next, your leads enter the sales stage. You’ll book calls, schedule demos, and use CTAs like “click to purchase.” 

Whatever your sales process is, this is where it happens! Content here should be sent as a follow-up to confirm or prove your sales pitch.

Here’s the kicker…you can easily offer this stage earlier for those that want to move faster through the funnel. The “book a call” or “book a demo” CTAs can be added as a P.S. at the bottom of any email. 

There’s no official rule that all prospects must take the same course. In fact, if you force someone who is ready to purchase to slow down, you may lose the sale to a competitor willing to sell faster. 

Remember: Once an inbound inquiry has been made, it is imperative that you follow up within 24 hours. 

This is where marketing and sales need to work together so that this handoff is smooth and so that an MQL (marketing qualified lead) is as close as possible to a SQL (sales qualified lead). 

Stage 5: Retention

In a typical sales funnel, conversion is the last step. But in a B2B sales funnel, this isn’t the case!

Instead, you need to also focus on post-purchase fulfillment. How do you onboard your new clients, keep them happy, deliver on your promises, and prompt them to refer your services? 

This is so important, and figuring out your bottom-of-funnel optimization is essential for growing your business over time. 

Once you have landed the sale or converted them from prospect to client, you then need to focus on keeping them happy and supporting their use of your service. It’s also the perfect time to collect testimonials, case studies, and referrals. Building out a referral campaign or asking for the referral can go a long way. 

Consider Client Advocates

Happy, loyal clients also make excellent advocates. Now, you may be thinking, “what would I need an advocate for?” Here’s the thing: you cannot be in all places at once. There is also strong research to support the fact that third-party recommendations are excellent at converting sales! 

Having advocates comment on threads and posts to recommend you and your services or products can be valuable. For example, you come across a thread online, but commenting on it as the company seems a bit self-serving. You reach out to a couple of your advocates and ask them to chime in on the thread with their thoughts, which seems more genuine! 

Don’t forget to thank any advocates (or those who give you referrals) and make notes in your CRM so you can remember it when they renew or around the holidays when you’re thinking about gifts. 

You want to delight, encourage renewals and extend sales, gain referrals, and nurture advocates for your business. 

This stage is really one of the most important (and often overlooked). It makes a HUGE impact on your business long-term. 

How To Create An Optimized B2B Sales Funnel

Now that you understand the B2B sales funnel process, how do you optimize your funnel? 

Building a sales funnel doesn’t have to be overwhelming (and if you need support, book a discovery call with me now!). 

Focus On Client Wants and Needs (and Tie To Different Stages Of The B2B Sales Funnel)

One of the most foundational (and important) parts of building a B2B sales funnel is to focus on client wants and needs. Even more important? You need to tie those wants and needs to what you offer. 

When you do this, you’ll know exactly how to optimize your funnel based on what your client wants at each stage! 

Research is important here. If you already have a funnel, look at your analytics and try to understand what your leads are searching for and how they interact with your business. What are they clicking on? What are they saying about your content?

Try To Capture Your Ideal Audience’s Attention

Once you know what your audience is looking for, you should make sure you align with what they want. Online, people are constantly bombarded with information, posts, and ads. That’s why resonating with them matters! 

The more you can align your messaging to their own thoughts, the better your sales funnel will perform. Nurture those initial relationships and work to move people through your funnel by offering valued content that proves you understand their pain and desires.

Prioritize Nurturing Your Relationships From Top to Bottom In Your B2B Sales Funnel

Speaking of nurturing your relationships, how do you actually do that? It’s important to focus on top-to-bottom nurturing. 

A drip campaign is a great way to move cold leads further into your B2B sales funnel! With this type of campaign, you’ll regularly “drip” out valued content that addresses your audience’s pain points and provides value. This builds trust and helps “warm-up” your audience, leading you to gain commitments  – and clients. 

Make Sure You’re Prepared To Educate Your Leads

Most of us don’t meet someone and immediately fall in love. Likewise, most of us don’t see a new brand and immediately pull out our wallets! This may happen with extremely low cost or low-risk offers…but high ticket offers will take time to create buy-in, and continuous contact with insightful information is the key.

Think about what you want your clients to know before working with you. Educate prospects about the pain they’re experiencing and how your solution is the key to pain relief! Offer opportunities to get to know you or your solution. Deliver this information in different ways e.g. Case study, infographic, social share, etc. Always make sure your call-to-action is clear and easy to take action on! 

Be Consistent In Showing Up For Your Audience and Leads

It’s important to set consistent cadence in your communication. Maybe that’s a weekly email or a bi-weekly LIVE video they can attend. Regardless, make sure that your offers are consistent and that your messaging doesn’t change. 

Believe it or not, it will take several connections to move the prospect along your funnel, and not every attempt will land (or be seen). By repeating the message it will gain familiarity and they are more likely to listen to more of it. Don’t give up!

Building an incredible B2B sales funnel isn’t so hard when you remember to focus on your audience and their needs! 
If you need extra support in building your sales funnel, I’m here for you. Learn more about my expertise and how I can support you as you work to grow your business!

How To Fix and Optimize Your B2B Sales Funnel For The Best Results | Wind Water Marketing

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