Fun fact: Most B2B buyers are already 57% of the way through the buying process before they make contact with a representative.
The takeaway: If your B2B marketing funnel isn’t set up correctly, you’ll lose a lot of would-be customers.
Get the top of the funnel wrong, and they’ll never see your marketing. Get the bottom of the funnel wrong, and they’ll hit your marketing and bounce out before you even get a chance to make contact.
But if you build a B2B marketing funnel that works well, you can send a steady stream of qualified leads to your sales team.
In this article, we’ll cover how to set up an effective B2B marketing funnel. Each piece of this funnel will be explained, and we’ll make some relevant recommendations. Acting on them will be up to you.
But before we head into the basics, let’s review a few things to keep in mind as you build your B2B marketing funnel—the points you need to have down pat before funnel construction.
Before B2B Marketing Funnel: What You Need to Know
It’s easy to jump to executing on your marketing funnel.
After all, that is the exciting part. It’s the part about content creation, deal size, and, most importantly, growth. But strategy is just as important. It drives all those other things.
At this stage, you’re understanding your company’s goals so you can plan better for ways to build awareness and, later, to drive interest in your products and services. There are so many components to consider, and we’ve covered some of the essentials before.
But today, we’re just going to highlight three components. You need to identify your target audience, your goals/KPIs, and your marketing channels.
B2B companies often make the mistake of thinking that their product or service is very obviously unique to everyone and that any businesses in their target market would be interested.
But this is not always the case.
It’s important to take the time to understand what sets your product or service apart from the competition and then match it to a target market that would be interested in it.
This can be done by firmographics, demographics, psychographics, and more. We also recommend creating buyer personas, identifying buying groups, and market research during your audience targeting.
By taking the time to understand your target audience, you’ll be able to sell them on the benefits and solutions that your product or service provides.
Your funnel can now be directed towards the right group of people.
B2B marketers have a lot to consider when choosing their marketing channels. (Some of these channels may also be considered marketing tactics.)
After identifying their target audience and assessing what type of messaging will resonate with them, they need to define their marketing goals and determine which channels will be most effective in helping them meet those goals.
They need to consider their budget and choose channels that fit within their means.
The good news and bad news are that there are a variety of B2B marketing channels to choose from. Some channels simply don’t make sense for B2B companies—particularly those companies that serve niche industries.
A channel that aligns well with your marketing is critical to your B2B marketing.
A poor choice of a channel can cost you.
Valve+Meter Performance marketing lists over a dozen popular channels, but here are the top channels with which we have the most experience and success:
- Email Marketing
- Paid Seach/PPC
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
– Peter Drucker
We like that saying around here, and we’ve spilled a lot of ink on the subject of tracking (here and here) and what it should like look in B2B. Like marketing channels, what you choose to track can depend on your business and goals. But here are a few high-level key metrics that most B2B companies should keep in mind:
(Note: These are averages, so in certain industries and with certain variables, these can change dramatically)
Open and click-through rates. You should shoot to have more than 30% of your emails opened and more than 3% of your contacts click a link in your email.
Average contact value. To get this stat, you need to know how deals close. For instance, if 100 contacts led to $10,000 in sales last month, your average contact is worth $100.
Cost Per Lead (CPL). CPL measures how much it costs to capture a potential customer’s (lead’s) information. (We wrote an article that tells you the formula you need to be calculating your CPL properly). Even agreeing on what a ‘lead’ is can be more complex than you might think, but the payoff here is an accurate budget and a profitable campaign.
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). For this metric, you measure how much you spent to acquire a customer from your campaign. As a simple example, if your product or service is selling for $10,000 and you can afford a CPA of 25% of that price, you can spend $2,500 on acquiring that new customer.
Now let’s move on to building the B2B marketing funnel!
Building the B2B marketing funnel
To get started, there are four core stages you need to include to make your funnel work well:
There are many different approaches that can be used to segment the funnel, but AIDA is one of the most popular.
We’ll unpack each of these pieces and provide metrics to track so you can optimize your funnel.
Hint: for a more specific look at value adds for each stage, check out our post here.
The first stage of the B2B marketing funnel is Awareness. This is when your potential customer becomes aware that they have a problem that needs to be solved.
For example, let’s say you sell software that helps businesses track their inventory.
A business owner might become aware they need your help if they’re constantly running out of stock of popular items or if they’re losing money because they’re overstocked on items that aren’t selling.
Your job in the Awareness stage is to reach potential customers with marketing that will make them aware of their problems. You can do this through the channels we marked above.
Metrics to track in the B2B marketing funnel awareness phase:
– Website traffic
– Social media engagement
– Email subscribers
Once you’ve reached potential customers and made them aware of their problem, it’s time to move them to the Interest stage.
In this stage, you’ll pique their interest in your product or service as a possible solution to their problem.
You can do this by creating content that educates potential customers about their problems and how your product can help them solve them.
For example, you might write a blog post or a lead magnet about the benefits of inventory tracking software, or produce a webinar that teaches business owners how to use your software to save time and money.
Metrics to track in the B2B marketing funnel interest phase:
– Content downloads (e.g., PDFs, e-books)
– Webinar signups
– Free trial signups
Now that you’ve moved potential customers through the Awareness and Interest stages, it’s time to get them to the Decision stage.
This stage is critical because you’ll help them decide whether or not your product is the right solution for their needs.
You can do this by creating comparison content, like side-by-side product comparisons or reviews of your product.
You can also create pricing pages that help potential customers understand the value they’ll get from your product.
Metrics to track in the B2B marketing funnel decision phase:
– Product comparisons
– Pricing pages
– Customer reviews
The final stage of the B2B marketing funnel is Action.
In this stage, you’ll persuade potential customers to take the action you want them to take, whether that’s signing up for a free trial of your product, subscribing to your email list, or making a purchase.
You can do this by creating compelling calls to action (CTAs) that lead potential customers to the next step you want them to take.
For example, you might create a CTA that leads potential customers to a pricing page or include an email opt-in form that leads potential customers to a free trial signup page.
Metrics to track in the B2B marketing funnel action phase:
– CTA clicks
– Free trial signups
– Email opt-ins
And there you have it—the AIDA funnel!
Want help setting up your B2B marketing funnel?
The framework above should give you a solid start. But the truth is that even though the structure we’ve discussed is simple, there’s a lot of strategy in making it run well.
At New North, we’ve been helping B2B companies generate leads for over a decade. Schedule a free consultation, and we can review your B2B marketing funnel from top to bottom to identify areas for improvement. Often, there are major clogs or places where would-be leads are falling through the cracks.
Don’t worry – your funnel can be fixed. If you’re ready to be on the path toward consistent lead generation, let’s talk.