The New Funnel Explained, For B2B Marketers and CEOs
Whether you are running a small business or large organization, the funnel plays an important role in your business.
It goes by multiple names, Customer Journey, Marketing Funnel, Sales Funnel, Marketing Hour Glass, Sales Pipeline.
Different gurus give a different name. To me, as long as there is a process, from start to finish and beyond, it's called the funnel.
B2B 'sales' is a complex process. It involves multiple interactions for different types of buyer readiness to make the purchase. Therefore, this process has to be broken down into phases, so that we can address objections and craft the right message at every single stage and for every multi-buyer.
What Does Funnel solve?
The funnel solves marketing divide. It segments the process so that we can use different tools for different purposes.
Is Every Funnel the Same?
The concept is about the same any business, can be applied to almost all business. However, the tools and message may differ from one business to another.
What's the Difference between B2B and B2C Funnel?
The concept is identical however, the usage is slightly different.
For B2C, the funnel should address a single buyer with multiple products. You don't need more than 1 funnel.
For B2B, the funnel should address multi buyers with multiple products. This is because the world view and concerns of B2B varies depending on role in the company. CEO has a different perspective than a procurement manager.
Who Needs to Learn the Funnel?
If you're starting out marketing, the funnel is fundamental of marketing. Not knowing would hinder your progress. You'll spend too much time tweaking ads, SEO but never get the intended result.
For experienced Owners, Head of Marketing, I'll show you more advanced stuff on the funnel.
Who invented the Funnel?
The funnel was first coined by Elias Elmo (American advertising in 1889), the famous AIDA.
Awareness - Let people know you exist.
Interest - If it's relevant to the audience, they express interest and becomes a 'lead'.
Desire - The lead learns about the benefits of the product.
Action - The takes action to purchase.
AIDA is now widely used in Copywriting as a mean to expedite the funnel. It's a funnel in a funnel.
This the most basic funnel you can build. Today, the funnel has evolved to meet the demands of a sophisticated buyer.
What's the New funnel?
There are 8 phases of the new funnel.
|Stages||Audience Point of View||What You Can Do||Media and Tools|
|Awareness||Target audience does not know about your business||Invest in brand awareness strategy. Show the value that you offer upfront. Don't waste time with fluff marketing (gimmick). Share checklists, white papers, viral content, infographics, and industry reports.||Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Billboards, Flyers, SEO, Social media, Downloadable pdf (website)|
|Engagement||They make a point to find out more about your, through website, catalog, social media, etc. They try to understand what problem you solve. They become a lead.||Make known the pain points, problem, and challenges that you can solve. Demonstrate your ability to solve the problem. Do webinars, share videos, case studies.||Blogpost, Newsletter (website), Portfolios.|
|Consideration||They are now considering your solution against your other competitors. They become prospects.||Position yourself as experts, the one that can solve the problems by showing the key benefits, differentiator, and competencies to build trust. It's important to qualify the prospects because unhappy buyers can backfire. Provide risk reversal, testimonials, reviews, product demos and irresistible offers.||Website (eCommerce), Phone call, Presentation, Pitching, Proposals, retargeting campaign.|
|Purchase||They have decided to buy from you. Now they need to know how to pay you.||Provide assurance, share them your guarantee, return policy (if they need to) and guide them through the purchasing process.||Credit Card checkout (website), Invoice, Purchase guides.|
|Adoption||They are now your customer. They might have buyer remorse.||Provide onboarding tools, resources, and knowledge to reduce the remorse and ensure they've made the right decision. Deliver your product and services well.||Download area (website), Thank you notes (email, cards).|
|Retention||They are delighted with your products but always considering other solutions and competitors. Makes another purchase and becomes your client.||Nurture the relationship by providing value, help them uncover more problems. Learn how to make them happier.||Customer Satisfaction Survey (website or web form), Reports after delivery (pdf, graphs, analytics)|
|Expansion||They are looking for a one-stop solution to all their problems. It's easier and less messy than having to deal with multiple vendors or brands.||Cross-sell, Upsell solutions that might solve your customer's other problems.||Catalog (website or printed),|
|Advocacy||They become die-hard fans. They will like every Social media post and love to be in a relationship with you. They become an advocate.||Provide the materials to share with friends and family. Word of Mouth advocacy is priceless. This loops new potential customers to the awareness stage.||Promo images, Blog post|
Key Take-Away for Funnel
Buyer Journey of Funnel
If you examine closely, a buyer journey starts from Stranger to Lead to Prospects to Customers to Clients to Advocates. There's no single silver bullet to solve these problems, just hard and structured work.
To progress from Stranger to Advocates, you need to learn how to trigger Know, Like, Trust and Love in your buyer journey process. The best book I can recommend is by Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Website as Core Marketing Funnel
Your website is the pivotal point in the funnel. It helps your buyers from Stranger to Advocate. Invest in good design, plan the information architecture, plan for content marketing. Keep track of the Conversions, Traffic (new and returning users), bounce rate, page views, time of Websites and Search Engine Ranks. You can plan for this through our Free One Page Web Design Strategy.
If you already have a website, perform a website audit either internally or hire professional website auditor.
Common Mistakes in the Marketing Funnel
1. Selling to Early
According to Hubspot, only 3% of buyers are ready to make the purchase and you have to compete with others for this market share. Which is why we see price war (where companies lower price to win sales).
Purchasing is a question of when, not how to sell.
For example, my wife and I are expecting a third daughter in 4 months time. We may need newborn-size diapers, but we don't stock up now until we reach 1-2 weeks before delivery. For now, we might want to do research on the latest rash-free diapers. It's a matter of when, not now.
This applies to any business. Amateurs (new business) tends to enter the market at a lower price only to get thin margins or probably at loss.
2. Not Nurturing Leads and Prospects.
Nurturing can be done in many ways. Whether through the newsletter, follow-up calls, retargeting ads. We sort of understand the technicalities of these, but what about the content? What do we talk about?
Like you, I too struggle with content creation and follow up.
It's a shame because we need to know for certain, is this a valid opportunity or is it dead rather than letting it fade away. If I let opportunities fade away, I wouldn't know where to fix in the funnel. So do that follow up call.
As for content creation, you might want to search for Content Marketing Strategy. It will give you an idea of how to plan for your content and keep it as your arsenal. Use it at the right time and for the right problems.
For example, in my follow up, I shared with my prospects my new findings in my newsletter.
3. Stop Communicating After Purchase.
In most cases, we stop after we won the sale and delivered a good job. This is ok if we're selling lower-tier goods like milk and bread, but we're not. We are professional marketers, we don't stop there.
Here's an example from Petronas. When I've made the purchase, they will cross-sell me a loyalty card. They now have my email and phone number. Whenever they have a promotion, they can blast directly to my email (cheapest way to connect customers).
Find ways to delight your customers. Turn them into clients and advocates.
4. No Value Ladder.
Your product and services should start with an Entry Level to Mainstream to High-End (Flagship) Level.
Entry Level - products that are no brainers. It's so cheap, you don't really have to think hard to make the purchase. Usually sold at lost or break even.
Mainstream - products, and services that are available and probably known to all. It does take a bit of thinking and decision making to purchase.
High-End Level - flagship products. These are products that are top of the line. Limited edition, highest technical specification. Requires a lot of thinking for someone who's looking to upgrade, but instant purchase for someone who demands performance, durability, and experience.
Here's a value ladder of a fast food joint.
Ice creams are no brainers entry-level product because it only costs some pocket change. Meal combo is mainstream, which cost about the same price of having a meal outside. And birthday parties are highest-level for fast food joints which can go up to thousands.
Look at your organization, and do a quick assessment of whether you have a value ladder. What is your Entry Level, Mainstream and High-End products?
4. Not Measuring and Fixing the Funnel
Before you can fix the funnel, you need to have a set of measurement. Measure the following
a. Number of Leads, Prospect, Customer, Clients
b. Conversion of every stage
c. Average Order per Sale
d. Lifetime value
e. Cost of Marketing per Sale
In my business, the biggest bottleneck is the proposal. It seems every prospect wants one to show their boss. Out of 10 proposal, 3 shown interest, 1 win. That's very poor considering the amount of effort spent on every proposal (takes about 2-3 days for 1 proposal). In short, spent 30 days to win 1 project, that's bad.
Instead, we changed the qualification process. We do call interviews, ensure that we diagnose the problem and good fit before getting a verbal agreement. Now, our proposal winning rate is 3 wins out of 4. That's 65% improvements.
You Are Done with the New Funnel.
That's it. That's all there is to the New Funnel. Now, go build your funnel.
I can assure you it's not an easy and straightforward process. Take your time building it.
We Can Work Together.
Before we start building website, we always go deep with strategy. From here, we'll uncover the problem, root cause and set up the right metric for your business. We'll assist in building your funnel and integrate the goodness into your website. If that sounds good? Then head over to Let It Be Heard, learn our manifesto and schedule a call.