The sales funnel is already well known to digital marketers . If you’ve attended an event in the area this year, you’ve certainly heard the term at least a few times.
The funnel is a concept that allows you to monitor prospects, predict the company’s performance, assertively plan marketing and sales strategies , and optimize the process as a whole, but it is not the only tool on which a company should rely.
B2B sales funnel: how to use it in your business
One of the most used forms of commercial management, the sales funnel helps to visualize the process of guiding a lead through several steps until the completion of the purchase of your product or service.
In other words, it shows the customer’s journey, and helps to think about the process of creating awareness about a product, educating the customer about its solution and converting it into sales, in other words: the phases of the sales process .
The sales funnel, therefore, helps to direct investments with a focus on buyer personas and purchase stages, achieving much better results than when the actions are not well directed.
The B2B sales funnel assumes where the customer is in the purchase process, so that the company adjusts efforts by returning them to each of these steps until the sale is completed. So the funnel is the solution in conversion marketing for all organizations’ sales problems? It is not so.
5 truths about the B2B sales funnel
1- The funnel is a leaky bucket
When talking about funnels, it is assumed that everything that goes on top comes out at the end, that is, a prospect would always become a customer. If you use a sales pipeline, you know that this is not true.
The sales funnel is actually (in many cases) a leaky bucket – some prospects will get out of the process, no matter what the marketing team does, but the team’s mission is to make sure that doesn’t happen and look for ways to remedy that loss.
2- The funnel is not a lead juicer
There is no point in pushing leads at the top and thinking that they will advance through the funnel just because of that. We see companies running equal campaigns for the entire base, desperate promotions, poorly targeted content, among other actions that will not generate more sales.
And, in the case of the B2B sales funnel, this fact is even more true. The result is a frustrated sales and marketing team.
3- The funnel is not an exact science
Although the process of buying a persona may seem simple, in reality we see the opposite. Some people jump from the top of the funnel straight to the conversion, but there are those who receive dozens of content and take months to make the purchase.
Remember that your leads are people and have different motivations. Because of this, the buying journey in the B2B sales funnel needs to be assimilated by the entire marketing and sales team.
Each customer goes through a different shopping experience, which requires different actions.
4- Your product is more relevant than the sales funnel
Pipedrive is an example that an above average product is stronger than any marketing action. A company can win 10,000 customers with a great product and a very small sales structure, focusing mainly on the indications of the customers themselves. Remember: the product is a partner in the sale, not its purpose.
5- The customer is more important than the funnel
Trying to predict lead actions and qualifying them just based on their online behavior can be effective, but talking to them will provide a much more assertive and real picture of their pains and desires.
Metrics may even tell you that your leads are not converting, but a good conversation or a simple survey will show you why. And in the end, that’s why it matters.
Customer Success: a source of insights
It is important to look at sales as a whole. And that includes getting opinions from customer successes to learn more about the company, not just marketing. If you want to know what your customers think, how they act and why they buy your product, go beyond marketing.
It is the CS team that deals with its customers every day, listens to their lamentations, difficulties, needs and desires. The tip is to see the B2B sales funnel backwards, that is, monitor and understand the after-sales. The CS area has a much closer perception of customers.
It is evident that the sales funnel is a very important tool for B2B companies, but it is not the philosopher’s stone.
The B2B sales funnel helps you see the sales process, but it says almost nothing about the motivations of the leads as they walk through the funnel.
And there’s no point in seeing that out of 10,000 leads your company only managed to convert 50 into sales – you need to understand why. And, of course, working continuously to reverse negative results in more assertive and effective actions.
A sale will never be an exact science, as it deals with human beings. So be prepared to understand your customers and you will certainly be more successful in business.