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Tips for optimizing and improving your sales funnel

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Tips for optimizing and improving your B2B sales funnel

68% of organizations do not have a clearly defined sales funnel. — MarketingSherpa

For any sales-driven funnel, optimizations must be a priority task. These organizations do have knowledge about the types and different stages inside a B2B sales funnel, not many of them have the slightest idea of improving it.

For an organization, sales funnel is the visual representation of the prospect-to-customer conversion. We are breaking down the sales funnel into three stages for a better understanding.At the top of the funnel comes lead generationIn the middle of the funnel is lead nurturingAt the bottom of the funnel comes customer acquisition and retention

The complexity of B2B sales funnels vary organization-to-organization depending on the lead generation and nurturing strategies they follow. When the topic of B2B sales funnel optimization gets raised, organizations must focus on tuning the entire sales funnel instead of focusing on a single stage of the sales funnel.

With the assumption that as a business, you already have established your B2B sales funnel we will now focus on the tips that will help you optimize your sales funnel.

For any business, missing out on the usage of their current sets of data is counted as a missed opportunity. The difference arises when businesses start guessing about their customers and apply the same process in moving the prospects along their B2B sales funnel.

Creating a sales funnel and guessing the prospects next move is not enough to achieve success for a B2B sales process. Businesses must identify the crucial data points inside their sales funnel that can be used for measuring success and better conversions. Making sense of these data points is crucial to them and their sales team.

The best way is to include KPIs that will help businesses in measuring the performance of their sales funnel. For that businesses must create better KPIs. Be it new customer or lead acquisition or old client retention, if your sales funnel is based on the foundation of flawless and well-identified analytics, it will never fail your B2B sales process.

Most organizations, especially SaaS businesses tend to make the mistake of focusing their efforts towards getting more paid subscriptions. Rather than doing that, they must focus on helping the prospects realize the value their software provides.

Training their B2B sales team on making the prospects realize this value will help in having a more effective sales process. When businesses make their prospects see the value their SaaS offering is bringing to the table, they will seldom deny the subscription plans.

To do so, try applying minimum commitment from the customers’ end and make engagement with the SaaS offering an integral part of the selling process.

“…the cost of advertising, marketing, sales, support during the Free Trial, onboarding costs, etc. — and even includes the costs associated with attracting prospects (and non-prospects) that didn’t convert to a paying customer.”

Customer acquisition cost is a very important KPI for every business, that’s the reason we have provided it with a separate place for an explanation.

Businesses must have a measurement tool in place that allows them to understand how much they are spending on acquiring a new customer. Not having knowledge of such an important metric will push them into a dark corner and will deny from the knowledge of much revenue each of their customer is helping them generate for the growth of the company.

For measuring CAC correctly, generally, the user’s immediate source is calculated.

For instance. If a business has acquired a new customer through a Facebook ad that which was priced at $10 per customer, it will be considered as CAC for the business.

But that is the wrong method of calculating CAC. To get the exact CAC amount businesses must track the entire customer journey through the sales funnel, starting from marketing and to successful conversion.

After you get the actual CAC amount, measure it against customer lifetime value (LTV). This measurement will allow you to have a proper idea of successful optimization of your B2B sales funnel from start to end. Having a fair idea of CAC and its measurement against the customer lifetime value helps businesses know much they’re spending on their customers and for how much duration.

Optimize your B2B SaaS sales funnel for better efficiency by observing the entire funnel and asking yourself, “where is the bottleneck occurring?”

With modern CRM software businesses can visualize their sales funnel and look at different data points at individual stages. A sales funnel that is experiencing a sharp drop after lead qualification has a bottleneck. Such bottlenecks happen when sales and other business processes make it difficult for the leads to move on to the next stage.

The reason behind sales funnel’s bottlenecks is also caused because of the poor qualification at the beginning. Your prospects might not be fully understanding what they are expecting from your offering or any offering in that case.

In such situations, sales reps must play calm and smart. Just take a step back, start identifying any objections from your customers’ side.

Nearly two-thirds (64.8%) of reps’ time, on average, is spent in non-revenue generating activities, leaving only 35.2% for functions related to selling. — Forbes

When businesses have the knowledge that more than 50% of their sales reps time gets spent on not engaging potential customers in a sale, the situation becomes alarming. This statistic can be the answer or solution to a huge bottleneck that may be existing inside the B2B sales funnel.

Business owners must never look or investigate their sales funnel with a stage-by-stage perspective. Break down each stage and identify areas that are experiencing a lack of productivity.

Start tracking KPIs like the average length of a sales cycle and the average Productivity Per Rep (PPR). Doing so will allow business owners to pinpoint sales performance issues or any other inefficiencies in the sales process.

Modern sales CRM software can easily help in tracking and reporting the time sales reps spend at carrying out their daily task. Using such reports, you can easily bifurcate administrative tasks that generally take up most of the selling time of the sales reps. Businesses must take advantage of the sales and workflow automation features of such CRM tools for making the daily life of their sales reps more productive.

If we talk about the B2B SaaS funnel, in particular, upgrades and renewals make up around 70–95% of the overall revenue of the businesses. Your sales team needs to make long-term plans when selling because the current customer base will contribute their maximum value after their initial purchase. Planning a perfect post-sales process becomes all the more important for retaining your current set of users.

Businesses gain the majority of their revenue from the initial purchase that the customers make. However, that is not the end of their task. Planning a post-sales strategy allows a sales rep to nurture and maintain a lasting relationship with their current customer base. This is also part of customer nurturing as the relationship established during the post-sales process will bear fruitful results like referrals, upsell and cross-sells.

Now that we have discussed how organizations can optimize their B2B sales funnel, let’s talk about the various ideas that can help them improve their B2B sales funnel.

The modern B2B Sales Funnel is based on five major points. So, let’s explore them and improve your B2B sales funnel.

Introducing your brand is not the end of task for business owners. Creating awareness of the brand in front of your target audience holds a lot of importance for its success too.Connect with your audienceCompile information on your potential customers across multiple channels.Businesses must conduct market research that will help in revealing relevant personal info of the individuals, their buying history, and the major concerns they currently face.What do you want to accomplish?

Create opportunities that allow you as a business owner to successfully experiment with your brand.Fill the top of your funnelWhile developing brand awareness, businesses must think of maintaining the level prospects inside the top of their B2B sales funnel.Build more awareness regarding your brand and the value it brings to other businesses.Developing more awareness will result in creating more potential sales opportunities for your business in the future.Businesses must invest time in increasing their reach towards the target populations and stimulate the preferred market for making more purchases of their brand.Analyze the infoUse CRM to make data-driven decisions.Analyzing the information that your business collects throughout its journey allows you to decide the next based on reports and statistics rather than going with the gut feeling.The inclusion of CRM into the sales funnel will allow business owners to streamline their sales process.The information will also help you learn about the problems your prospects want to get solved quickly.Develop your brand’s reputationDeveloping the trust of the audience in your brand helps you create a better reputation.The earlier you create a perfect brand reputation, the better.Having an improved brand awareness helps put the spotlight on your brand and take your brand in front of the right target audience.Enhancing engagement with keyword driven bloggingPlan your content and increase its engagement with the target audience on social media platforms.Push your marketing and creative content on business blogs, official website and help your prospects learn more about your brand.Blogging on a daily basis has proven as a better way of getting closer to your target audience. It is also more effective than monthly blogging.Sharing relevant brand content helps your marketing teams to execute their outreach strategies quickly, transferring prospects further down the sales funnel.

After businesses are done with brand awareness, it’s time for them to attract the interest of their target audience by sharing relevant content. But this stage also requires them to filter the right prospects into their B2B sales funnel. Having wrong or those prospects inside the sales funnel who are unsure about what they actually want will create unnecessary bottlenecks inside your sales funnel.Score your leadsBusinesses must start scoring their leads in this stage in terms of where they are on their journey to determine the interest.Start gauging their placement within your B2B sales funnel.Keep identifying sales-ready leadsBusinesses must keep identifying those crucial sales-ready leads.Also, identify the prospects that may require more work on developing their interest in the brand.This is helpful in improving your B2B sales funnel.Invest in good contentPlan on having blog posts, white-papers and case studies published on various sites.Doing so allows your business to maintain the interest of your leads in your brand.It also helps in maintaining brand awareness in the market.Build credibility and engage leadsKeep marketing your brand.This helps in increasing the interest of your target audience.Sharing educational content such as case studies and infographics also helps build the credibility of your brand.Allow the interested prospects to do their own research about your brand.This will push them towards your website and ultimately towards filling your website form them to fill out a formUse a CRM to automatically store and create contacts based on the information filled on your website forms.Such a process makes moving the prospect further ahead into the sales funnel easier and quicker.

Sales and marketing professionals must remember that their task is to help their prospect to understand why they need to use your offering.

Clear your intent about your product. Your target audience must see the value your offering is bringing to their business process. This will allow them to decide whether they want to try out your product or service or not.Recognize your prospect’s intentRecognizing your prospect’s intent allows sales reps in understanding how to sell your product or services to them.Develop a research methodology that can make you understand their journey.Market your brand as an ultimate solutionWhile moving down the moving down the sales funnel look for a sign of any sales-ready behavior.This will enable the sales reps to keep tailoring their content and successfully market your brand as an ultimate solution.Identify prospect concernsThe information that businesses collect and store inside CRM comes in handy.The information allows business owners to build sales strategies based on the saved information.This information can also be used for gauging the prospects’ intent of buying your offering.Your sales team can develop well-targeted questions to find out if the customer really requires your offering, saving more selling time which can be diverted on sales-ready prospects.Show your expertiseBusiness owners can drive the prospect’s intent with relevant content which addresses the problems that the prospect are actually facing.These content will have the proper solution to these problems allowing the prospect to see the value of making a purchase from your business.Businesses can use testimonials from previous happy customers to exhibit their expertise and command over the problem.

Keep evaluating your B2B sales funnel and keep a check on your sales funnel bottlenecks. Proper evaluation of your B2B sales funnel will also help in revealing the stages at which your prospects are and for how much duration they have been stuck there. A smart sales intelligence software allows you to properly evaluate your sales funnel without putting in much manual effort.Give proper consideration to your brand

Consideration cover many things such as:What your prospects and customers think of your brand story,Your image and the relevancy of your content to their current problems,How are you performing in comparison to your competition,How are you interpreting your dedication based on your nurturing and follow-up strategies,Your product or services’ efficiency, etc.How are you fairing with your current customer base?To improve your B2B sales funnel, this stage not only requires the involvement of your prospects and customers but also of your marketing team as well.Businesses must consider how are they fairing with their prospects so far.How are they going to curate their content to get the proper attention of the prospects and customers?Business owners and the upper management must consider what content works for the current scenario and the problems that the general prospect category is facing currently.Evaluation and self-reflectionWhat are the things that your marketing team must consider re-evaluating?What is the total percentage of prospects that have already dropped off your sales funnel?Evaluation and self-reflection is the key for business owners and upper management to improve their B2B sales funnel.Measure content effectivenessSynchronize your team’s effort so that everyone is on the same page in terms of deals, deal value, deal ownership, activity management etc.Measuring the effectiveness of your content is the toughest aspect of B2B marketing. Spend your time measuring the effectiveness of the content and keep refining them over time.Re-evaluate your strategiesBusiness owners must push their managers to have a weekly or daily meeting with the team for discussing the progress of the content program.Re-evaluate your prospect and lead nurturing strategies and better understand the leads that progress down the funnel. Use this information for creating better strategies in the future.

Your team members need to keep evolving with every prospect interaction because every prospect will show different characteristic and will have a different kind of problems.

This is like hitting the home run for your brand. The last nail in the coffin, the last leg of any prolonged tournament where you want to have a win-win result.Plan your closureBusinesses generally adopt the always be closing (ABC) concept.While it is required for any sales-driven organization, no prospect would like to be forced to make a purchase for the product that is irrelevant to them.Evaluate the prospect journeyYour sales reps must evaluate the journey of the prospect and should make sure that these prospects have made it to the last stages of your B2B sales funnel for the right reasons.Don’t ever rush the closure of your deal when it is in its final stage. Engage with your prospect in a smart, calm and gentle manner.If you rush the deal closure, the prospect is going to feel like a number in your list and not as a customer.Does your sales team understand the prospect?Sales reps must know and understand the customers business process.This is the most crucial point that many business owners miss out on.Your sales team will not be able to maintain a healthy B2B sales funnel, let alone improve it if they are not able to understand how your prospects’ business functions.Not just that, if your sales team has a proper understanding of your prospect’s business, providing an apt solution to their problems becomes easier and faster.Re-strategize your closureIf you feel that the prospect will back out from the deal because of the budget constraint or is considering switching to your competition, smartly make them realize how your solution has more value.Remind your customer that your product has great value. Your sales rep must be able to quantify their investment against a fruitful ROI.If they successfully do that, getting your closure to become easier

We hope that the points we discussed here managed to instill some knowledge regarding successful optimization and improvement. Any sales driven requires a helpful and smart sales tool to help them streamline their entire sales process. Having a CRM in your armory of sales tools enables your business to utilize various features at budget-friendly pricing and manage your contact, deals and various deal-related activities without putting in much manual labor.

Modern CRM software has developed their features to suit the on-the-go trend businesses follow today. Cloud-based CRM is the best option for businesses of every size and shape. They allow your sales team to get rid of the unnecessary manual labor, they provide insightful reports regarding your team performances, your deal and its stages and the proper evaluation of your B2B sales funnel.

Don’t wait up and get up to speed with the importance of having a CRM. You will be able to realize the true potential of your business and scale quickly. After all, growth at a healthy rate is the ultimate goal of every business owner.

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