There’s a huge difference between a sieve and a funnel. One is built to strain out liquid, while the other is designed to efficiently transfer liquid from a larger container into a smaller opening.
Many B2B companies struggle with the reality that their sales funnel is more like a sieve than a funnel. More B2B prospects are choosing to exit the sales funnel process than those entering it.
MarketingSherpa reports that 65% of B2B marketers have not established lead nurturing. This is a staggering number to consider as a B2B business building your online sales funnel.
“All inbound leads left unclaimed will be released back into the wild… and to your competitors.”
Your B2B company faces unique challenges when it comes to creating an online sales funnel. B2B buyers are more aware than ever of B2B sales efforts. The key to building a highly effective online sales funnel starts with identifying and understanding each aspect of online sales funnels and how to best connect them.
Top of the Funnel – Attraction
At the top of the sales funnel, or TOFU (Top of Funnel), is where prospect attention is first captured. This is the Attraction stage of the sales process. This is where your free content is put to best use: blog posts, web content, social media sharing, webinars, etc. You want to attract visitors, engage readers, and add value from the first experience. Treat your top of the funnel like it’s a gift to your visitors. You’re not asking them for anything yet, but the preparation for that moment is critical when creating your free content.
Middle of the Funnel – Consideration
The middle of the online sales funnel is the nurture sequence of your online sales funnel. This is the Consideration phase of the sales process. It’s only when a visitor chooses to exchange their information for your premium content when they should be considered a marketing lead. It’s not enough for them to be simply a lead; you owe it to your sales team to ensure your marketing leads are qualified leads. An average nurtured lead make 47% larger purchases than a non-nurtured lead.
Informing visitors, removing barriers, and answering questions should be the three points of emphasis for the middle of your online sales funnel. What do you want your potential lead to consider about your brand?
5 Examples of Premium Content for Lead Nurturing
- Email marketing – An automated email sequence, or “drip sequence” as it’s often called, is a prime way of communicating your company’s value and features for each lead to consider.
- eBooks – Longer forms of content that boast huge potential for the nurture sequence.
- Case Studies
- White Papers
- Buying Guides
It’s important to remember the keyword is “nurture”, not spam to death! You need to carefully move your leads through the sequence over a period of time. If possible as well segment the list based on what content your leads are downloading. This is more accurately and easily done when you have identified a several buyer personas and have segmented your content to serve certain persona’s needs.
Bottom of the Funnel – Decision
Forrester Research reports that companies with excellent lead nurturing sequences generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost. If your nurture sequence has done its job, then it’s up you to close the deal. This is the bottom of your sales funnel, the tipping point between nurtured marketing lead to fully interested sales lead. They know they want your services and now it’s all about the final decision.
The transition between the middle of the funnel and the bottom is an open door of sorts. Create CTAs and purchase forms throughout your premium content to gently direct leads towards buying opportunities. The bottom of your sales funnel (BOFU) is where you introduce pricing and purchase opportunities. Be specific in explaining the details, value, and features of your products or services. The key is overcoming any final objections or moments of second-guessing.
The Most Important Part of Your Online Sales Funnel – Deliver
Your new online sales funnel is set up to seamlessly convert prospects into leads into full-fledged clients. Now, it’s your job to keep delivering the goods through a variety of ways.
- Follow-up conversations, surveys, and welcome feedback
- Exclusive discounts
- Beta features and services
- Continued email touch-points through a newsletter
The goal is keeping your satisfied customers delighted with you. Many companies ignore this part of the sales funnel, but this might be the most important part of the online sales funnel. Delighted customers can quickly turn into brand evangelists for other B2B prospects who might be interested in what your brand has to offer.
This process is tough work, but imagine the realization as you dig into the analytics and the process as a whole knowing that for every 100 unique visitors your bring to the site that you convert a certain percentage of them to qualified leads.The better you get at this, the more predictably you can scale.