This is a great question, because optimization for B2B startups is always a little different from optimization for B2C businesses. However, I’m going to change your question slightly. It’s important to bear in mind that you need to optimize your entire marketing and sales funnel, not just your sales funnel.
Today, the line between marketing and sales is blurred. New leads enter the top of your marketing funnel, and they end up at the bottom of your sales funnel when they buy your product. In between, they are nurtured and educated about your product, and guided to make a purchase. If you try to identify the moment when they leave your marketing funnel and enter your sales funnel, you’ll end up trying to create two separate customer nurturing flows. This isn’t a productive use of your time. You’ll find yourself dividing something that should be a holistic process.
So instead of talking about how to optimize your sales funnel, I’d like to answer this question: How do you optimize your marketing and sales funnel for a B2B startup?
1. Break it down into micro-conversions
Creating a single funnel towards the grand prize of conversion to a paying customer can seem overwhelming. You feel exhausted before you even begin. You’ll find that you can optimize the entire funnel much better when you break it down into micro-conversions.
Each micro-conversion is a separate action that you want the customer to take. For example, your first micro-conversion could be to get the customer’s email address. Next, you want them to sign up to a webinar or download a white paper about your solution. The next micro-conversion is to ask about pricing, then request a demo, and then schedule a sales call. If you line all these micro-conversions up, you’ll find that they track the marketing-sales funnel from the first lead generation to making a purchase.
2. Use webinars
Webinars are extremely effective marketing and sales tools, especially for B2B lead conversion. In the past year, 76% (https://blog.clickmeeting.com/webinar-report) of B2B buyers have used a webinar to research a product, and 41% say that they prefer interactive visual content like webinars. Webinars are unique marketing tools because they can cover many points along your marketing and sales funnel.
Here are some of the ways that webinars help optimize your B2B marketing and sales funnel:
● Your webinar serves as a top of the funnel tool to attract visitors to your landing page and capture their email addresses
● The average webinar participant spends 42 minutes watching a webinar, which gives you more time to describe the benefits of your solution
● Webinars are interactive, which makes them more engaging than a blog post
● Webinar platforms like ClickMeeting allow you to use the webinar to make a direct personal connection with your leads through a Q&A session
● Embedded surveys help you to gather more information about your leads, so that you can optimize your marketing and sales funnel even further
3. Use lead scoring
Lead scoring is the difference between an effective, optimized marketing and sales funnel, and one that’s shooting in the dark. Lucas Miller at StartupNation makes a strong case (https://startupnation.com/grow-your-business/nurture-lead-generation-efforts/) for lead scoring. As he points out, some leads turn into loyal customers, while others just don’t pan out. When you use lead scoring, you can look for the patterns that hint to whether the next lead will grow into a returning buyer, or if you should pour your energy into a different possibility. Lead scoring means tracking metrics like how many times a lead visits your site, their traffic source, email open rates, the number of times you reach out to a lead, and more. You can use tools like Google Analytics, social media monitoring tools like Hootsuite, and email marketing platforms like MailChimp to calculate your lead scores.
Now you’ve got 3 strong strategies to help you optimize your marketing and sales funnel. I hope that your B2B startup is a big success! Come back and let us know what tips worked best for your marketing and sales.
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