Post: 7 Methods To Optimize B2B Funnels

7 Methods To Optimize B2B Funnels

7 Methods To Optimize B2B Funnels

Your target prospects may know your brand, but awareness alone doesn’t create new customers. Expert marketers create content for each stage of B2B Lead Generation Funnel from a brief first visit to your website to a deep dive into whether it makes sense to engage with your company.

Notably, any B2B lead generation funnel in any industry illustrates how B2B audiences find, research, and evaluate content that impacts what they buy. Understanding this funnel and how visitors travel through it before deciding to convert or not, is key to B2B lead generation.

This guide gives seven specific ways how to optimize each of the five stages inside a B2B lead generation funnel. Also, it offers practical advice on improving the conversion rate at each stage. We’ve spent extra time on strategies for driving customers to the initial, or Discovery, stage since it can be the most difficult stage of the funnel.

What is a B2B Lead Generation Funnel?

Throughout the buying journey. Developing a lead generation funnel has never been more critical for your business.

If implemented correctly, your lead funnel enables you to get in front of and stay in front of buyers at every key stage of the buying process. This is critical because buyers are using online channels to learn the best ways to solve problems and discover companies that can help them. 

Did you know?

In the past, the primary method of generating leads as outbound marketing. The method involves pushing a sales message out to a large number of people through traditional marketing channels like radio ads, TV commercials, print ads and cold calls.

Today, lead generation has shifted to include inbound marketing. This is the process of delivering value to your target audience to create a positive brand reputation, which in turn might entice them to purchase a product or service.

Essential ingredients of a successful B2B Lead Funnel

All successful funnels must have these 3 key elements to move buyers forward:

1. Build brand awareness

How to Drive Conversions for Each Stage of the B2B Lead Generation Funnel

There are many different avenues, or funnels, for generating leads for business-to-business companies. Below, we evaluate seven of the best ways how to optimize each stage of your B2B lead generation funnel.

1. Combine Multiple Marketing Channels using Faster B2B Channels at the Discovery Stage.

The Discovery stage is where a consumer comes across your company’s name for the first time, typically while searching for a solution to a problem, or a way to alleviate a pain point in their business. 

This is the most common focus of B2B marketing for two reasons:

  • Increasing your funnel’s input naturally leads to a greater output of sales
  • Most of the lead generation sources available to marketers deliver the Discovery stage (i.e., early-stage) visitors.

Here are the five most popular channels B2B marketers use to fill the top of the B2B Lead Generation Funnel:

1. SEM (PPC)

How to Optimize:

2. SEO

How to Optimize:

3. Trade Shows

How to Optimize:

4. LinkedIn Ads

How to Optimize:

5. Public Speaking

How to Optimize:

Hence, the best approach is to combine multiple channels, using faster channels like PPC to supplement lower ROI long-term lead generation from organic channels like SEO. But Discovery is only the first step in a long process; next comes Interest.

2. Avoid Hyperbole and Sales Language to Establish Credibility in the Interest Stage.

Many people will reach the interest stage of the funnel, but only a tiny percentage will continue further down the funnel. Driving more visitors through this stage requires that your website delivers pertinent information and vital insights, and does so with minimal friction.

Identify the pages visitors land on when they first visit your site (most often done with the help of Hubspot, Salesforce, or another visitor tracking tool). Identifying what prompted them to explore your company allows you to focus on the pages that your customers see first, ensuring that each is fully conversion optimized.

In the Interest stage, this means avoiding any hyperbole or similarly sales language and instead of offering clear, concise writing that teaches visitors something of actual value. Your goal here is to establish credibility; attempting to force a pitch to make a quick sale can cause visitors to lose interest.

You’ll draw the broadest spectrum of readers near the top of the funnel. Some will arrive on the verge of making a purchase, but most will be in the early stages of gathering information and making decisions.

3. Qualify, Segment, and Score Your Leads in Interest Stage

Marketing works with the sales team to determine the right criteria to segment leads. Based on who your ideal persona is, you need to gather the right information about your customers. 

Set up automation and events workflows to categorize leads and segment them into MQL or SQL. A Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is a prospect who isn’t ready to buy your product. they need to be further nurtured with content to get them sales-ready.

Remember, a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is ready to talk to your sales representative and shouldn’t be bothered with additional informational content. The segmented list also helps you plan your future ad campaigns and retargeting campaigns.

Lead Scoring & Lead Nurturing

Set up lead scoring criteria to move leads into the various stages of your B2B sales funnel. Using automation workflows, you can move the prospect into your CRM when certain actions are triggered.

Leads accumulate points based on their actions and behaviour and after a threshold, you score an MQL into a SQL and your Sales Rep can contact the prospect to make sales. Also, apply negative scoring for behaviours that designates the prospect as a poor fit. 

Lead nurturing is the most critical part of the B2B lead generation funnel. Since B2B products have a longer sales cycle, you won’t have customers buying your product in one go.

Also, this is how you get them to travel through the sales funnel, addressing issues they have in each stage of the funnel. Apply lead scoring criteria as they consume your lead nurturing content and move them into different buying stages.

4. Engage with Positive Remarks & Update Your Profile in the Appraisal Stage.

You’ll have very little control over the Appraisal stage because this is the point when a semi-interested lead conducts independent research on your organization. You’ll be evaluated and compared to competitors, and the user will ultimately decide how much they want to engage with your business.

Consumer research makes your industry reputation—particularly as perceived on Google, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor—crucial to pushing consumers past this stage of the funnel. Ask satisfied employees and customers to leave positive remarks on review websites and ensure that your social profiles are up to date.

Integrate CRM with Automation

B2B lead funnels have longer sales cycles, and hence you need a funnel to be more efficient. As a part of your alignment process, you need to get a general agreement on what tools you’ll be using to capture and manage leads. The tools you choose should be easy to integrate with your current system.

Employ automation to get your leads automatically updated in the CRM. This way your sales reps do not miss any important leads. Marketing automation can also help you set up emails, list segmentation, lead scoring, and lead management workflows.

5. Demonstrate Transparency and Honesty in the Confirmation Stage.

At the Confirmation stage, you have your potential customer’s attention, they’ve done their homework on you, and now they’re just looking for the last piece of information before they commit. This is the stage at which more sales-oriented material is appropriate, along with case studies that demonstrate how your products perform in real-world applications.

The most important factors in this stage are transparency and honesty in setting customer expectations. This is where you can capitalize on the trust you’ve built throughout the rest of the funnel.

Use Better Blogging and High-Quality Content Marketing

Valuable content can be awesome for B2B lead generation. Additionally, good quality content arguably requires an order of magnitude more planning, resources, and just hard work than, say email.

High-quality case studies, infographics, eBooks and white papers can sometimes take months to put together if you include the time it takes to gather data, analyze it then package all your findings into something useful. Not to mention webinars or podcasts!

To create a better blogging strategy, stop regurgitating other peoples’ opinions and start sharing your own experience. Write posts as a person, to be read by other people.

Great content doesn’t happen overnight, but with persistence, it really can be the pillar of your B2B lead generation efforts. Have a plan, and execute it well. 

A well thought out content marketing plan featuring an SEO-optimized blog will bring you the traffic and help them towards the bottom of the funnel at the conversion rates you like. Just don’t forget to plug in some CTAs to help convert visitors into leads. 

Social Listening

Social listening is a comparatively new but extremely relevant concept that immensely helps generate leads. It is essentially the process of analyzing relevant social media networks, and gaining insights on customer behaviour as well as industry and competitor insights to identify market gaps.

Ensure to keep track of community conversations surrounding your product and be proactive in your social media game. Furthermore, social listening allows you to be more creative and agile with social media marketing and creates opportunities to help customers, produce new content, and gain more followers.

In terms of competitors, it gives you useful information like what content of theirs gets more traction, what features of their product are not liked by customers, what features are customers looking for, etc. In a nutshell, it gives you the inside knowledge to take appropriate action and reap more leads.

6. Make the CTA Content Accessible in the Conversion Stage.

The potential customer has reached the finish line and is at the bottom of the B2B lead generation funnel. The most important aspect of this stage is ensuring that the conversion is quick and straightforward. 

Your contact page should be easily accessible from your website’s top-level menu, along with sidebar contact forms that allow a visitor to convert without moving to another page. Then, your reader will likely still read your content regularly if they’ve reached this stage, meaning your work with this customer is not finished. Don’t let up on regularly producing high-quality content. 

To maintain client confidence and build interest in your other products, consider the following post-conversion strategies:

7. Use Analytics Tools at the Bottom of the Funnel.

You can never improve your B2B lead generation funnel if you don’t analyze your performance. You need to set up analytics at each step to know where you are losing maximum prospects and then take measures to fix that step. Each team must know how to generate high-quality reports which allow higher management to assess performance and allocate resources. 

Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager

If you want to know how people are finding you, what they’re looking at on your site, when and where they’re converting and everything in between—Google Analytics is the answer.

Then, we recommend using Google Tag Manager to do this as well. It’s a lot easier to manage and you don’t have to worry about jumping into the code on your website when you need to make adjustments.

Tracking what works and what doesn’t is the last step toward making your B2B lead generation funnel efficient and repeatable. Performance tracking may probably sound not new to you, but you might not realize how effective it can be for tracking your lead generation efforts.

Google Data Studio

To tie your Google Analytics data even further, Google also offers a tool called Data Studio that lets you visualize pretty much anything in pretty much any way you’d like. You can set up dashboards to track your most important KPIs, build lead generation reports to send to clients, track a specific campaign’s performance, etc.

And you can connect all those data sources from your Google Sheet into one polished report as well. This way you can visualize all your advertising and marketing channels side by side to make data-driven decisions on budgets and next steps.

Try to do these steps to see if your current strategy works or if you need to update it:
  • Dedicated support team First, open up Google Analytics and find your top three traffic-driving blog posts.
  • Second, pick one post and come up with an idea for a template, checklist or short worksheet you can offer visitors.
  • Third, add it to your project management tool and set a deadline for the end of next week to have your new resource created and live.

Drive Better Conversions for Your B2B Lead Generation Funnel Today!

B2B companies that pay attention to each of these steps create successful B2B lead generation funnels with high conversion rates. However, the process isn’t simple and takes trial and error to get it right. Thus, the inexperienced team may implement these steps in bits and pieces and end up getting sub-standard results.

Alternatively, you might think about hiring a partner who knows how to generate content at each stage of the funnel, connect them all into ideal click paths, and measure the results. The right solution and the right strategy should be decided after conducting due research, establishing goals, and carefully examining the requirements of your unique business model.

Cam Roberts

Cam Roberts

CEO & Founder at BubbleGum Marketing

As CEO & Founder of BubbleGum Marketing, Cam leads a world-class Marketing team, that serves businesses all over the world to achieve their marketing objectives. In his spare time, you'll find him chilling with his family, paddling his SUP, riding his mountain bike, or walking his golden retriever dog, "Summer"

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