What is a B2B conversion funnel and what to expect from its stages?

What is a B2B conversion funnel and what to expect from its stages?

The conversion funnel is one of those terms that we hear over and over from B2B marketers. But what is a conversion funnel? It is the way that we describe the ensemble of the different stages of the buyer’s journey. When trying to sell, you guide people through the conversion funnel so they go through the different stages. For instance, converting them from leads to customers is included in the conversion funnel.

Why is it a funnel? Well, it’s called a funnel because the funnel metaphor is extremely simple to understand. You’ll always have more leads than customers, so the top is larger than the bottom, and each stage will be larger than the following one.

A common mistake is to draw conversion funnels based on a pre-existing process, or, from a product/service-centric standpoint. Every B2B marketeer should design their funnel based on how prospects will interact naturally with, and organically so they get to the buying decision. This is very closely related to the buyer’s journey and its touchpoints. It’s essential to your marketing strategy to understand how people go through your funnel, what their journey looks like, and at which touchpoints they will interact.

There are three key conversion funnel stages:

· Top of the Funnel (TOFU), or upper funnel: The awareness stage. Leads enter this stage when they engage with your brand but they’re not necessarily thinking about buying yet. At this point, a buyer is trying to solve problems, get an answer, or meet a need. They’re looking for top-level educational content to help direct them to a solution. Usually, these interactions take place on your website, in an ad, in an email, or on social media.

· Middle of the Funnel (MOFU), or mid funnel: The consideration stage. The lead already knows your brand from the previous phase and engages with you to learn more. The user now knows that there is a problem that needs to be solved and is trying to discover the best solution. They are not ready to buy just yet, but they want to establish a relationship with you. Examples of interaction in this stage could be when the lead downloads guides and templates and then subscribes to newsletters.

· Bottom of the funnel (BOFU), or bottom funnel: The conversion stage. After some interactions, the lead is ready to purchase. But he doesn’t necessarily have decided that is going to buy from you. The right offer at this stage could have a direct impact on your conversions. When you have them at this stage, try to offer demos, trials, discounts, and other purchasing-related opportunities.

Although every funnel will have these three stages, the details of each will depend on your sales cycle and the buyer’s journey. For example, think about the difference between the sales cycle for a B2B software subscription of thousands of euros, and a branded t-shirt production. The longer the sales cycle is, the more complex the funnel will be.

Here are our top 5 suggestions for you to create powerful B2B conversion funnels:

1. Select your audience: as usual, knowing your audience is your first step. You have to know very well who are you talking to, and what is expected from you. If you need help with this, you can always check out our articles about buyer personas.

2. Create specific content for each stage: As we said before, in each stage the lead has different needs and requests. Have this in mind when creating content, and try to be very specific with the material that you create for each stage.

3. Qualify your leads: Not all the leads are going to be the same, and not all will be ready to buy. Some of them will not even know that they have a problem that you can solve. Be sure that each lead has a qualification and give them what they need based on that qualification.

4. Listen to them: This is more difficult than it sounds, but try to listen and not just talk. Don’t push too hard to sell, try to be there for them. Give the leads more than what you ask for. Help them.

5. Create a nurturing strategy: When a lead is not ready to buy just yet, is good to have a nurturing strategy to guide them through the rest of the funnel. Create different content and touchpoints for them until they’re ready to buy.

Now that you know what a conversion funnel is, you can create one by analysing your buyer’s journey and your touchpoints. Once you have it created, you will be able to analyse your strategy: for example, you can understand at which stage your leads are getting stuck and create more content and touchpoints to make them move further.

One last tip: remember to always have your sales funnel up to date!