The sales funnel, while an important part of understanding the traditional approach to B2B sales, is no longer relevant. Technology has changed the relationship between B2B operators. The new approach to lead generation and sales is vital to the success of your B2B marketing campaign.
The traditional model included salespeople attending trade shows, the printing of brochures and catalogues, cold calling and face-to-face meetings.
The old marketing funnel is no longer effective. People and technology has reshaped this funnel into a cycle. The reasons for this include:
B2B buyers on average conduct 12 online searches before looking at a vendor’s website. For this reason, a B2B website is one of the most important parts of your sales funnel.
More than half of B2B buyers are millennials. Professionals are more proactive about finding the resources they want, rather than waiting for (or answering) cold calls.
Fifty-seven percent of B2B buyers are more than halfway through the sales process before contacting a vendor. In the manufacturing and industrial sectors, 67% of purchases are influenced by digital technology.
Many B2B companies have more than one decision-maker when it comes to purchasing. This means that 90% of buyers loop through the sales funnel more than once before actioning a purchase. This is mostly through the research and discovery stage.
The New Sales Cycle
While the new sales cycle has similar elements to those of the old sales funnel, it now moves in loops and cycles.
- Decision Makers
B2B buyers want the same experience as B2C buyers. There is an expectation that all buyers be given an exceptional customer service experience, and this begins with your web site.
Your site needs to be focused on creating an exceptional user experience. Your landing page needs to inform traffic of your business. Traffic should not need to search your page for your business purpose. Including high-quality content that relates to your product or service will improve your SEO. As buyers conduct research, if your page continually ranks in their searches it is likely that your B2B company will be further investigated by a potential buyer.
During the discovery and research loop, multiple decision-makers will assess your product based on your site. Eighty percent of B2B buying decisions are made before contact is made with a vendor.
Only about 20% of purchasing decisions are made based on price. While buyers have decided to work with your B2B company before they approach you, your value proposition needs to flow from your site to your sales team.
Buyers want an experience. Your site and sales process must be a journey that is rewarding. Securing B2B sales requires a commitment to creating a digital experience. You need to guide your traffic through your purchasing process in a way that fosters customer loyalty. That means transparency, ease of site access and use, multichannel site access and excellent customer service response.
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