b2b lead generation funnel

What is the B2B Lead Generation Funnel?

There’s a lot of confusion and debate when it comes to the marketing funnel. People argue over who owns it – marketing or sales, how the best way to implement it is, and even if it’s still a relevant part of today’s consumer buying process.

But before you can wade into these debates, you need to understand what it is!

Simply put, the marketing funnel is a way to visualize the process of turning your target audience into leads, and then into customers – as understood from a sales and marketing point of view. Imagine a funnel, with a wide rim on top, and a narrow tube on bottom.

Like that funnel, marketers cast a wide net to capture as many leads as possible at the top, and slowly nurture these prospective customers through their purchasing process, narrowing them down in each stage of the funnel.

Funnel Stages & Conversions of a B2B Lead Generation Funnel

The lead generation funnel has several important stages:

Awareness

At the top of the funnel, where it is widest, we find “awareness.” At this stage potential customers are drawn in with marketing campaigns and their own research and discovery. In this early stage trust is established with advertising, events, trade shows, content like blog posts and video, social media, and more.

This is where you are truly generating leads, as both you and your potential customers collect information and leads are pulled into a management system that allows you to nurture them further down the funnel.

Interest

Once leads have been generated, they move to the next level of the funnel, where they learn more about your business, the product or services you provide, and any helpful information you offer.

Here is your opportunity to build a relationship with the people in you lead generation funnel and introduce your positioning. At this stage, marketers are free to cultivate leads with email marketing, content that is more directed, classes, newsletters, and more.

Consideration

At this level of the funnel, your leads have been refined to “qualified leads,” meaning they are now prospective customers. Now, your marketing team can send more detailed product information, as well as targeted offers.

Intent

To reach this stage, your prospects must show that they have become interested in buying your brand’s product or service. There are a few ways to help them show you this, including surveys, product demos, or even when a product is placed in a virtual shopping cart.

This is your opportunity to make a powerful case for why your product or service is the best choice.

Evaluation

At this point, customers are making their final decisions about buying from you. Ideally, your marketing and sales teams should be working closely at this stage to convince the buyer they have made the right choice and should buy.

Purchase

You’ve made it! As the final level of the lead generation funnel, your prospective customer has become a full-fledged customer. Here, sales takes over completely to handle the transaction.

If you’ve made the buying experience a positive one, you should expect happy customers to refer others, fueling the top of your funnel, and starting the process all over again!

Key Differences Between B2B and B2C Funnels

While the lead generation funnel remains essentially the same for both B2B and B2C business, there are a couple of important differences.

Usually, a B2C consumer will go through the funnel alone, or with a trusted friend or family member. However, B2B buyers usually have a much larger buying group, often with other departments weighing in.

Another key difference is that B2C buyers often never interact with a representative from the company – especially when it comes to eCommerce sites. On the other hand, B2B buyers almost always interact with a sales rep at the lower stages of the funnel.

Though small, these differences are vital to creating your B2B lead generation funnel.

Looking for more information on B2B marketing? Book a free consultation with Asset Digital Communications!