How Does a Sales Funnel Help With Sales and B2B Appointment Setting?
It would be a costly mistake to think that a sales funnel is a thing from the B2C world. Why is it a mistake? Because B2B prospects and leads move through similar sales stages as business-to-consumer prospective customers do, which can be used in a company’s marketing and sales strategy. Why is it costly? Because B2B companies let over 60% of their potential buyers slip through their fingers if they fail to account for the nuances of their customers’ journey. It is true that B2B customers are less moved by their emotions and rely more on rationality, proof of efficiency, and numbers. However, their behavior still goes through the standard stages of a sales funnel:
What is a Sales Funnel?
You don’t need to know the definition of a sales funnel to sell. However, the knowledge of nuances and peculiarities of the sales process helps sales teams to adjust their tactics and speed up those leads that are ready to buy, leaving colder leads to mature.
A sales funnel is a graphic representation of the journey through sales stages a customer takes. Because the number of leads decreases with each stage, the diagram usually resembles a funnel, with the widest part at the top and the narrowest part at the tip.
Normally, first comes the Awareness stage where users learn about a company or a product for the first time. Most marketing activities are directed at this stage. It can happen online through social media engagement, podcasts, and webinars. Or it happens offline at trade fairs and promotional events. Basically the stage of Awareness is the bulk of lead generation outreach.
The second stage is Interest and it is the sphere of lead nurturing. Sales reps or appointment setting companies hired to qualify leads research and engage with prospects through email campaigns. At this stage many automation tools can be used to guide prospects down the sales funnel to the next sales stage.
Next comes the Decision stage where prospects are turned into leads as their pain points are discovered and solutions are offered. For example, sales appointment setters can offer leads a free tool or a trial signup.
At the stage of Deal Closing the b2b appointment setting teams hand over leads to sales reps. After leads tried a free webinar, demo, or trial, sales reps can secure a sale by creating a time-limited offer (with a significant discount or bonus).
The sales funnel stages can change. Your sales funnel examples can range from the most simple ones (Attention – Interest – Desire – Action) to more complex ones (Awareness – Interest – Consideration – Intent – Evaluation – Remarketing). If a company has a range of products and services to offer their new customers, sales reps will follow up with a new offer. A number of email drip campaigns can be tailored specifically for each new customer.
What is a Sales Funnel in Reality?
But is a real-life sales funnel as linear and straightforward as all diagrams show? No. Theory is always nicer and cleaner on paper (or a webpage for that matter). In reality, b2b customers, as much as b2c customers, have circular rather than linear purchase journeys, which linear diagrams cannot give justice to.
However, it doesn’t mean that the concept of sales funnels doesn’t work anymore. Marketing and sales teams simply need to account for the unpredictable human nature and the increased activity all buyers across industries demonstrate now.
What Should be Done to Improve Your Sales Funnel?
Although the name suggests that a sales funnel deals only with sales, not only sales reps interact with prospects and leads, ushering them to close a deal. The sales journey starts with marketers creating social media engagements and marketing campaigns. Before sales reps lay their hands on leads, many businesses have b2b appointment setting teams who research and qualify leads for sales reps. A sales funnel becomes effective when you take into account not only the steps the customer goes through but also who is in charge of each step and what is expected at each stage.
You definitely can download sales funnel templates and choose what fits your needs the best. A better option, however, is to sketch your own sales funnel based on the real experience customers have with your brand. By now you have databases, surveys, website forms, etc. and you have specific information on where and when your customers found you, who referred them, was it an email or a social media engagement that caught their attention first, was it a cold email or a trade show meeting; how long does it take a customer to make a decision, who is involved in the decision-making process; how do they make a decision; what part of your outreach campaign works for them the most? Answers to these questions inform you in greater detail as to how your customers go through each stage of the sales funnel. Knowing that, you plan your marketing and sales strategy accordingly.
Mistakes in Sales Appointment Setting
At that, failures happen anyway. Once you find a crack through which leads trickle out between stages, you can fix it. That is when the power of all participators of the sales process comes in handy. Ask your team about why they think a lead conversion rate is low. Often problems are as follows:
- Failure to follow up. Sometimes sales reps have no time to follow up or do it inconsistently. Straighten up your follow-up strategy.
- Wrong interpretation. It is common for leads to brush off many proposals simply because now is not the time. However, their refusal to engage with you now doesn’t mean it will last forever. Train your team to re-target old leads from time to time with a fine-tuned message and you will see the rate of sales appointments increase.
- Wrong timing. It is critical for sales reps to respond to sales enquiries right away. If your team takes their time responding, you are losing your potential clients. Fix it with schedules and structured deadlines.
- Poor tools. It’s difficult to show great results when your emails go into the spam folder and many hours of work go in vain. Make sure your sales reps and appointment setters are equipped with necessary tools, such as email spam checker (email checker https://folderly.com ), high-end CMR, scheduling software, etc.
Got a Better Understanding of a Sales Funnel Now?
A sales funnel is a theoretical concept to explain the customer’s journey but sales and marketing teams can put it to practice and view it as a useful tool to increase conversion. Know your prospects’ behavior and improve your communication with your teams. As a result, you will prevent lead leaks and will miss fewer sales. If you have any trouble mapping your customers’ sales funnel, we at Belkins are always ready to discuss your difficulties and share our experience.