When it comes to B2B selling, the purchasing process can be both long and complex. Prospects are likely to engage in extensive research, carefully evaluating their options prior to making a buying decision. If your current B2B sales strategy doesn’t take this into account, you may be losing valuable leads that become ‘stuck’ in funnel bottlenecks. Luckily, depending on your unique requirements, there are various tactics you can implement to improve sales processes and boost conversions.
68% of organisations are yet to clearly define their sales funnel, missing out on the significant benefits that could otherwise be achieved. By creating a systematic, thoughtful sales funnel that targets bottlenecks you have the opportunity to distinguish your business from competitors and offer real value to potential customers.
Before looking for funnel bottlenecks, it’s important to establish a sound understanding of the different buyer journeys your potential customers are following. By developing a thorough comprehension of your distinct sales funnel, you’ll be well equipped to accurately identify any pain points.
Understanding Your Sales Funnel
Your sales funnel represents the unique buying process prospects follow when interacting with your brand. It looks at how exactly a potential customer’s initial interest is transformed into a valuable conversion and meaningful, ongoing relationship.
A typical B2B sales funnel involves three key stages, which are as follows:
- Top-Of-Funnel: lead generation
- Middle-Of-Funnel: lead nurturing
- Bottom-Of-Funnel: customer acquisition and retention
By establishing a clear, precise sales funnel you can ensure that the unique needs of your leads are being adequately satisfied at each point of the buyer journey. Without a well-defined purchasing process, you’ll likely experience great difficulty when trying to remove bottlenecks.
Once having determined the core stages of your sales funnel, it is crucial that you work proactively to discover and address any funnel bottlenecks that may disengage prospects.
Identifying Common Funnel Bottlenecks
So, where exactly in your sales funnel are potential customers stalling? To effectively pinpoint any bottlenecks, this is what you need to establish.
While there may be certain bottlenecks that are specific to your organisation’s unique context, often, other companies will be experiencing similar issues. Because of this, analysing your competitors could provide some valuable insights into what other businesses in your industry are trying to combat. This is a great starting point, but it’s also essential to delve deeper into your own company processes and identify where consumers are getting stuck.
Here are some common funnel bottlenecks you can look out for as well as practical, actionable tactics you can employ to overcome them.
1. You’re Attracting Very Few Prospects (TOFU)
If your business is receiving only a small number of enquiries, or none at all, then it’s likely potential consumers haven’t moved past the top of your sales funnel.
What does this mean for your organisation? You need to build greater interest in your brand and offering, boosting awareness among members of your target audience.
Finding the source of this bottleneck is crucial, you’ll need to ask yourself:
- Are you targeting the right audience?
- Do you have a strong B2B value proposition that differentiates your brand from competitors and is clearly communicated with prospects?
- Does the content you’re sharing with potential customers offer them real value?
- Is your B2B branding consistent and engaging?
- Are you reaching your target audience directly and in a relevant, memorable way?
Once you’ve determined why prospects aren’t converting into leads, you can start developing a strategy that addresses these funnel bottlenecks. This may involve researching and refining your customer persona, brainstorming innovative ways to further distinguish your brand from competitors, creating new exciting content or, potentially, rebranding.
2. Your Leads Aren’t Converting (MOFU)
Do you have a high number of leads, but they aren’t converting into customers? In such cases, it’s important to focus on improving the middle of your funnel through lead nurturing.
At this point of the sales funnel, understanding your target audience and capturing their ongoing interest is crucial. Investing in great content such as case studies, informative videos and blog posts can help your business offer prospects continued value. By creating such resources, you have the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise, build credibility and keep leads engaged. You’re able to maintain relevance, staying in contact with potential customers in a meaningful way.
Lead scoring can also be particularly useful at this stage of the sales funnel. By scoring your leads, you can determine the level of interest different prospects have in your brand and the content you’re sharing. This means that you can identify your most promising leads and target them directly, encouraging them to convert. For instance, after noticing that a prospect is especially engaged, sending them a personal message with an exclusive offer may be all it takes for them to take action.
3. You’re Experiencing Difficulty Retaining Customers (BOFU)
You’re acquiring new customers but, for some reason, they’re not sticking around. If this is the case, consumers are getting stuck at the bottom of your sales funnel.
But what does this actually mean for your business? You’ve likely dedicated time, resources and money into converting prospects so it’s crucial that, once they’ve made their first purchase, you don’t stop offering them value.
“53% of customers have switched companies because they felt unappreciated.”
Often, it’s cheaper and easier to sell to an existing customer than a new lead. If you want to do this, however, your business needs to give them a reason to stay. Luckily, there are numerous marketing strategies you can apply to overcome bottlenecks at the bottom of your funnel. These include:
- Creating customer loyalty programs that encourage and reward repeat purchase;
- Sending a thank you email after a customer makes a purchase;
- Giving your customers the opportunity to share any feedback from their buying experience;
- Sending customers exclusive offers for special events, such as their birthday;
- Providing readily accessible, reliable and proactive customer service;
- Acknowledging any issues your consumers encounter and acting promptly to offer them an appropriate solution.
By successfully addressing any bottlenecks at the bottom of your sales funnel you can improve the customer experience and boost retention. This can, in turn, help your business upsell, cross-sell and gain a greater number of referrals from satisfied customers.
Want to find out more about removing funnel bottlenecks? Get in touch with our B2B digital marketing specialists at the Lead Agency today. We can get your business up-to-date on B2B marketing 2020 trends, so you can proactively plan for future success.