Building your B2B sales funnel

A sales funnel is a term used in sales and marketing that outlines the journey that leads and potential customers go through on the way to becoming a customer. Companies whose sales and marketing teams build a funnel accomplish several things:

  1. Close more deals
  2. Build synergy between marketing & sales
  3. Simplify the marketing plan
  4. Keep the sales process and leads organized
  5. Improve the rate in which leads get followed up on
  6. Speed up the sales process

A sales funnel starts at the top with potential customers and takes them through a process until they become a customer. Along the way, potential customers will drop out but the sales and marketing teams’ job is to keep the interested leads engaged.

The role of the marketing team is to generate leads and fill the top of the sales funnel. As potential customers work their way down the sales funnel, it starts to become the role of the sales team to close the deal. A journey through the sales funnel starts with awareness. Leads in the awareness stage have only heard or known of your brand through vehicles like advertising, social media, and word of mouth.

As leads express interest in your brand by visiting your website, engaging with you on social media, or calling the sales team for a quote, they move down the sales funnel. Once they purchase something, they are now at the bottom of the funnel.

Can you start to see why every marketing and sales team should build a funnel?

Capturing leads and keeping them

A very clear sales process will keep leads in the sales funnel engaged and prevent them from leaking out along the way. Generally, a B2B sales process flows like this:

  1. Marketing generates leads
  2. Sales makes an initial pitch for an opportunity to schedule a more in-depth presentation
  3. A formal sales presentation is made
  4. A price or agreement is made
  5. The lead becomes a customer

Building a sales funnel

There are no two-like sales funnels. Every product is unique. Every sales process will be different. Therefore, every sales funnel will be unique. As you can see from the example sales funnel here, there are several opportunities for any marketing and sales team to capture and nurture leads. As you start to build your sales funnel, here are a few things for the sales and marketing teams to be thinking about along the way:

  • Identify bottlenecks in the current sales process.
  • Agree where the company tends to lose track of potential customers.
  • Identify the specific actions that typically result in a sale.
  • Map out what follow-up success looks like for the sales team:
    • 100% follow up with prospects.
    • Each prospect gets three contacts/touchpoints.
    • Convert 80% of prospects into leads.
  • Identify CRM (customer management software) that will help track lead progress in the sales funnel. Our favorite CRM is Pipedrive.
  • Make sure that you’re delivering the right message, at the right moment, in the sales process. Reflecting on regular objections and questions is a great place to start.
  • To get this process started, get your marketing and sales team in a room with a dry erase board and start to map out your current process, then fill in the gaps.

Good luck and best selling!