In a broad sense, B2B stands for a sales model that involves buying and selling processes between small or large businesses.
This sales model has no objective of ultimately reaching the consumer, instead, it is intended to address the sales processes between businesses.
Businesses manufacture products or develop solutions designed to be used by other businesses and perform the sales of these products within the scope of the B2B sales process.
It is important for businesses to monitor all these B2B sales processes in order to improve their sales methods.
At this point, the B2B sales funnel helps to monitor this process and convert prospects into customers who will purchase the product.
Introducing the B2B Sales Funnel
The B2B sales funnel represents the interaction between seller and customer in the business-to-business sales process, the entire journey to a successful purchase.
It is a journey that takes the customer from becoming aware of the product, to deciding to buy it, to becoming a regular customer.
As the name suggests, the sales funnel acts as a “funnel”, converting “leads” who have only shown interest in your product into “prospects” who become potential customers.
Throughout this process, there are certain steps that lead the customer to make the final decision to buy.
By discovering the potential of these steps and adapting them to their marketing operations, sellers can adopt the right strategies and increase their chance to convince potential customers of the product.
The B2B sales funnel covers 6 steps in general terms:
There are also simpler or more extensive models of the B2B sales funnel. It is possible for each business to choose the model according to their own preferences.
However, in this article, we will address these 6 steps:
The awareness stage is the first step of the B2B sales funnel. As the name suggests, this is the stage where the B2B prospect “becomes aware” of your product or service and gets acquainted with it.
This introduction can be on a website, on a social media channel or through advertising content as part of a marketing strategy.
The main purpose of this step is to collect leads by attracting the attention of the potential customer. This step is very important for B2B lead generation.
In this second stage, interest of the potential customer has been attracted but there is no action or decision yet. Further information has been required.
These potential customers need to be informed about the product or service in order to convince them that this is the solution they have been looking for for a long time.
Content sharing about the product such as webinars, ebooks and guides may contribute to this process.
Thereby, it can be ensured that the potential customer realizes that this product or service will provide the solution to their problem.
Consideration is where the potential customer turns into a prospect who has decided to buy the product.
Following the previous step, this is the part where the prospect is convinced that this product or service is the resolution to the problem they are facing or the solution they are in need of.
Prospects are now in a position where they actively think that the product or service being sold is the right choice for them.
On the other hand, the sales and marketing strategies of businesses are now more product-oriented. Utilizing tools such as free trials, demos or case studies, they aim to take the process one step further.
At this stage, prospects make it clear that they “intend” to buy the product. They often take actions in line with this goal.
They still need to get more detailed information about the product. Perhaps, this could be in the form of accepting the demo meeting offered by the business or contacting the product sales department of the businesses.
The product support team has a big part to play in this step.
They should build a trusting relationship with the prospects and let them know that they are standing behind the product. This will convert already highly motivated prospects into buying customers.
The evaluation step is where prospects examine and evaluate the details of the product or service. The prospects have tried the demo, talked to the product support team and then reviewed it.
At this point, businesses aim is to facilitate the customer’s decision-making process. Hence, this step is the part where prospects are converted into customers who are going to buy the product.
In this context, it is also the part where product pricing details are obtained, offers are presented, budgets are discussed, and contract terms are explained.
It is the part where contracts are signed and the relationship is built. It has been assured that the customer will buy the product, the purchase will be completely finalized.
At this point, it is essential to ensure that the customer has the most favorable first experience with the product and to support them in this journey.
Providing customer support services and training resources will strengthen and improve the seller-customer dynamics.
This, in turn, will affect the customer’s future purchasing decisions and enable them to do long-term with the same business again. Thus, it will contribute to the process of the customer turning into a loyal customer.
In general terms, the steps of the B2B sales funnel can be summarized in these 6 steps.
However, it should not be forgotten that there may be some variations in this process, and that the business decisions and services may have an impact on the sales process.
Converting Prospects into Customers
We have discussed what the B2B sales funnel is and what this process involves. In this process, we have seen the stages of converting leads, prospects and these potential customers into long-term customers.
So how will businesses turn prospects into buying customers in this process? Here’s a couple of answers:
Create Personalized Offerings
Identify your potential customers, try to understand and recognize your prospects. Observe and analyze their specific needs and problems that need to be solved. This way, you can create a personalized offering that is a perfect fit for them.
Show Your Difference
Demonstrate to your customers why you are the most appropriate choice for their problems and needs, and why you are the one they should prefer instead of others.
What is it that your product has that others lack, or what makes your product or service exceptional? Emphasize your outstanding features and selling points that other businesses do not have.
Build a Trusting Relationship
Build a trusting relationship with your customer to turn them into a loyal one in the long term. Open and direct communication is essential at this point.
The customer should be given the assurance that they can get support in case of any problem and that they can find a solution to it.
Ensure Effective Communication
Ensure that your customers have access to your company’s product support team, and that support is fast and accessible.
Instant communication with your customers can be achieved through email, voice calls, and video conference meetings.
Through video conferencing applications, your support team can meet with your customers and resolve their problems.
One of the leading video conferencing applications; OctaMeet, allows you to hold effective customer meetings.
Offering video conferencing solutions for large and small businesses, OctaMeet is now available for a free 7-day trial. Click here to try it now.
In the context of the B2B sales funnel, we have discussed how to convert prospects into customers.
To summarize, customer satisfaction should be the focus and long-term relationships should be promoted. The needs of the potential customer should be prioritized and the best quality service should continue to be provided after the first sale.
However, we must understand that this is not limited to one sale, these assets grow deeper and stronger with each sales process.