Understanding your B2B Sales Funnel to Optimize your Sales Pipeline
A better understanding of a B2B sales funnel can help salespeople and sales teams visualize and plan a more proactive sales strategy that can help drive prospect engagement and move them through the buying stages of their journey.
Knowing what a usual sales funnel is can help enhance effectiveness of every sales outreach and approach while also allowing sales leaders the right amount of visibility into the health of their pipeline.
Why Should Sales Teams Pay More Attention to the Sales Funnel?
A deeper understanding of your sales funnel allows teams to:
-Analyse what’s working in their sales and marketing activities
-Pull out bottlenecks and problems within their sales process
-Develop better B2B sales strategies
-Create relevant sales-ready messaging to suit each stage of the funnel based on prospect behavior
-Identify specific pain points for target customers
There are many ways for sales leaders to assess or depict their sales funnel for their business. One of the most common methods, the AIDA method (Awareness-Interest-Decision-Action) allows sales leaders to breakdown prospect journey into four stages as the acronym suggests.
Some businesses and sales teams may prefer using the Awareness-Consideration-Decision method to keep a track of their sales funnel and to further their sales impact.
Sales Funnel and Sales Pipeline
It’s common for many sales teams to feel that ‘’knowing your sales funnel’’ is similar to understanding the health of your sales pipeline. In reality though, these are two different things.
A sales funnel helps a sales team understand their buyer behavior and market and can help breakdown final conversion rates, it also helps analyse the health of a sales team’s lead qualification process.
Breaking down the health of your sales pipeline is more about focusing on future revenue opportunities and what can be done to meet revenue goals and sales targets. To understand the health of your sales pipeline, it is crucial to breakdown different elements of the sales process like results from prospecting efforts, output from proposal stages, status of negotiations and closing ratio.
Building out your Sales Funnel
Your sales funnel helps you to understand the buying behavior of your customer and it should help you track every step of your sales process and outreach to further optimize sales pipelines and eventual revenue.
Your sales funnel should help you understand your target audience and their journey, so that sales and marketing processes can be aligned to accordingly drive better customer experiences that can move them through the funnel to turn them into valuable, long-term customers.
In a competitive, dynamic sales and marketing environment, reviewing your sales funnel to eventually know the ratio of leads that moved from the top to the bottom of the funnel can strengthen core business operations and ensure longevity and consistent ROI.
A Few Guidelines for Sales Teams
- Identify what kind of sales funnel model you want to build out (do you want to use the AIDA format?). Each business and team can evaluate and strengthen their funnel analysis based on their immediate goals and problem areas.
- Once this is done, it is that much easier to fill in sales-marketing gaps and strengthen processes, with the aim of figuring out how best to analyse movement of these prospects through the funnel and the end prospect to customer win ratio.
- This is where sales and marketing leaders and teams have to align on aspects like having a through understanding (together!) of their buyer persona, their ideal customer profile (ICP), and key customer pain points.
- Work on developing sales and marketing messaging and assets that can meet these stages, behaviors and needs keeping in mind that different kind of outreach and campaigns need to run at different stages of the sales funnel to successfully move prospects through to the bottom of the funnel.
- Ensure that every outreach is run on the relevant online channels (emails, social media, etc) and that is sports the most relevant call to action based on the buying stage and funnel model.
Maintaining and Enhancing your Sales Funnel Effectiveness
Brands who focus on creating customer-centric experiences and customer focused buying journeys are known to perform well and create better market impact too.
A well planned sales funnel model can help salespeople convert leads faster and helps them identify the right buyers.
For an effective sales funnel executive and management system, using the right processes, messaging, automation and sales technologies can drive ROI and improve the ratio of leads turning to customers.
Successful sales teams use a range of salestech as part of their tech stack to boost this. Lead generation software, email marketing automation tools, business intelligence, customer review and feedback solutions, sales enablement platforms usually figure in this list.
There are a lot of factors that can impact the outcome of your sales strategy, business dynamics are ever changing and so are the capabilities in today’s salestech. Understanding what works best for your team and company, identifying red flags much earlier on in the process and finding the right process-solution mix is integral to reducing B2B sales inefficiencies and creating a consistent lead flow.