B2B companies, big or small, often do not have a structured sales & marketing funnel which helps with prospecting, lead generation, qualifying, and building their sales pipeline. They usually approach this key step in their sales process blindly and are disappointed when they get inconsistent results.
With the correct structured sales & marketing funnel that suits their business and by incorporating proactive marketing techniques, B2B lead generation companies can gain an advantage and grow their businesses more effectively.
Let’s discuss sales & marketing funnels in detail and look at how to increase sales conversions for your B2B company.
What Is a Sales & Marketing Funnel?
As marketers already know, a typical sales & marketing funnel is an AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Decision, Action) based funnel structure that represents a prospect’s journey toward the eventual action of buying your product or service. Most modern sales & marketing funnels add and improve on this basic structure for better optimization of sales.
Building Your Sales Marketing Funnel to Increase Sales Conversions
To build an effective sales & marketing funnel that increases sales and gives consistent results, you need to have a structured process. Depending on your business, this structure may be different for your needs but the basic idea remains the same and any sales & marketing funnel can be divided into three stages.
- Top of the Funnel (TOFU)
The top of the funnel is where you focus on creating awareness and reaching large audiences. This is the stage where potential customers are getting to know your business or brand, these people are not entirely ready to purchase but you can engage them in ways that eventually lead to sales.
- Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
The middle of the funnel is where you want to develop customer interest and establish authority in order to generate leads. In this stage, you want to provide value to prospects, so they develop interest and give you their contact information. This helps build trust and loyalty by nurturing your relationship with them.
- Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)
The bottom of the funnel is all about conversions, this is where you entice prospects to take action and buy your product or service. By this stage, you should have already developed enough trust and loyalty to sell your solutions to your prospects’ problems in the form of products or services.
A plan is always necessary in order to successfully grow your business, and a sales & marketing funnel will help you plan and execute your strategy for approaching prospects.
When developing a sales & marketing funnel, you want to ask yourself the following questions.
- Do we have a process for prospecting?
- Do we have a process for lead generation?
- Do we have a process for qualifying leads?
- How can we improve our close/conversion rate?
By asking these questions, you can better optimize your sales & marketing funnel according to your business and move ahead with a clear plan.
Let’s study each of the funnel stages and see what you can do to improve engagement in each segment.
You want to create as much awareness as possible among prospects at the top of the funnel (TOFU). Creating quality B2B lead generation pieces for targeted audiences is the best approach to increase awareness. Knowing your prospects is important at this stage if you want to target them effectively.
You can engage them and cater to their needs by providing solutions. The key points of engagement at this level should be:
- Relevant – The engagement must be relevant to the concerned field.
- Create value – It must provide value to prospects and leads by solving a problem they have.
The middle of the funnel (MOFU) is where you begin to convert your prospects into leads. You want to identify the qualified leads and develop their interest in what you have to offer. You also want to gain a commitment from them through 1:1 interaction and appointment setting, to further build on your business’ value proposition.
At the bottom of the funnel (BOFU), you have already piqued interests and converted prospects into leads – now it’s time to convert them into customers. The goal now is to present your products or services as relevant solutions to their problems.
Here, the leads have a fair understanding of your products and services, so your job now is to encourage them to take action and purchase. You can eliminate any obstacles by proactively addressing their concerns in order to close deals.
If you want the best results, it is highly recommended to reevaluate your approach in each step as you move forward. This will help identify any problems/obstacles along the way so you can correct whatever is wrong.
Most B2B companies rely on referrals to generate leads, which are useful and often result in conversions, but for your company to grow consistently, you need structured sales & marketing funnels that incorporate cold calling to increase prospecting, lead generation and warm, qualified sales appointments to improve sales.
What Is Cold Calling?
Cold calling in sales & marketing is when a skilled Inside Salesperson/Business Development Rep reaches out to potential customers and solicits business by prospecting, lead generation, lead nurturing, qualifying, and/or appointment setting. Cold calling is an excellent, proactive sales & marketing technique on par with direct referrals.
Cold calling campaigns in your sales & marketing strategy and sales funnel will help boost your business tremendously by engaging prospects, generating leads, qualifying/disqualifying and creating warm sales appointments with well-qualified leads so your Sales team can focus on closing more sales.
Incorporating Cold Calling into Your Sales & Marketing Funnel
Cold calling gives you an opening to potential customers and allows you to grow your business. You can introduce your business and present your products and services through cold calling. A cold calling campaign creates awareness, qualifies leads, nurtures leads and develops interest in your product or service.
B2B businesses, in particular, find cold calling a very useful piece of their lead generation and engagement with prospects. Incorporating cold calling in your sales & marketing funnel will help you generate leads to set up appointments and sell your products/services more effectively.
Lead Generation With Cold Calling
Unlike other marketing strategies, such as email marketing and content marketing, cold calling is proactive versus reactive. It does not require your prospects to seek you out and show an interest. Instead, you take a proactive approach and reach out to them directly to generate leads.
This is an excellent way to market because it gives a personalized, human touch to your marketing that is uncommon these days. You can approach prospects and leads with a warm tone and natural conversation style. You can also answer any questions and offer assistance instantly. As the old adage says, in B2B – nothing happens until somebody sells something … but nobody is going to buy anything until somebody talks with someone!
Converting Cold Calls
In order to convert cold calls, you must first qualify leads – this is an important task after prospecting because it filters out qualifying leads that have a higher chance of conversion – and disqualifies prospects who are not valid prospects, so you do not waste your time chasing them. Once they become qualified leads, you can make follow up calls with information that generates interest and further nurtures the relationship.
It is important to do your research when you approach leads. You need to know what they want and how can help them solve challenges they may be facing. You should know the name and designation of the lead or the person in charge of the department.
You should have some idea of what information they might require from the call and always aim for a commitment, whether in the form of a sale or an appointment or simply agreeing to move to the next step and continue the engagement. It is also helpful to keep calls short and direct to avoid wasting both parties’ time and energy.
The aim at the end is to either convert leads or to set appointments, and although not every cold call will give you those results, they will keep your sales & marketing funnel filled with potential leads. Here are a few things you can do to better connect with prospects and gain commitments.
- Always have product information and any other relevant documents for referencing purposes.
- Provide each lead with a single contact name to minimize confusion.
- Make appointments setting a smooth and easy process for prospects.
- The appointment time and location should be convenient for prospects.
- Send timely reminders to prospects for appointments.
After you have a commitment for appointments, it is important to conduct your presentation in a manner that can convert your leads into sales. You should keep them interested and continue to provide solutions that solve their problems.
Another thing to keep in mind during appointment setting is to leave a good impression that will encourage prospects and lead them to conduct future business with you and your company.
Cold calling is integral to any B2B company looking to expand their business. It helps greatly with lead generation, prospecting and qualifying and keeps your sales pipeline full. It also helps to nurture relationships and to enhance engagement with one-on-one quality human interactions.
Most businesses struggle to generate high-quality leads at scale due to a lack of standard processes and limited internal bandwidth. If this is the case with you, then you should consider outsourcing.
Guest submission by Michael; a member of the editorial team at Leads At Scale.