Build a Qualified B2B Sales Pipeline Using the Right Channels

Understanding the B2B Sales Funnel

B2C buyers are known for making purchases impulsively, based on emotion. By contrast, B2B buyers have ROI in mind, and use a more logical approach when making purchases; often the decision is made as a group rather than by a single person (as in B2C). Even so, there are many areas in which B2B and B2C customer buying behaviors converge and a good example is that B2C buyers have become even more sophisticated when it comes to their purchasing decisions. Both groups require transparency, tailored offers and communications and as much product detail as possible.

  • Stage 1: TOFU. At this Top of the Funnel stage, you are attracting new prospects and providing valuable information about how your product or service can solve those prospects’ problems.
  • Stage 2: MOFU. This Middle of the Funnel stage is where you are creating a strong connection with your prospective customers, sharing content that helps illustrate how you can help them combat their pain points.
  • Stage 3: BOFU. During the Bottom of the Funnel Stage, you are answering any final questions the prospect may have and clearing the way to an imminent purchase.

B2B Marketing Channels to Use in 2021

1. Your Website

This is your most important digital marketing channel, so it has to be built flawlessly. Present in a clear manner what your products and services are, as well as which industries your target customers should belong to. Your website should be easy to navigate, load fast and be responsive on all devices. Include elements that will build trust and have a Resources area with helpful content.

  • Collects company contact information
  • Filters visitors based on their profiles
  • Shows you how often they visit and how long they spend on your site

2. Marketing automation

Email might seem old school, but it’s still among the most popular marketing tactics used in B2B today, with the starting point of most sales begins with the customer opting in by supplying their email. Email marketing is still among the best tools to engage with customers, share information, and pitch new products or upgrades. But taking it one step further, leveraging marketing automation strategies brings great opportunities for increased conversions.

  • Provide the irresistible hook. It’s essential to have an enticing offer right off the bat: content, freebies, or a deal that can’t be refused.
  • Perfect your landing page: Make the offer and benefits of connecting clear and appealing.
  • Craft your subject line: Make it to the point but compelling, with a clear description of benefits.
  • Segment in order to target: Break down your list of recipients into smaller lists so that you can target more directly, which will increase open rates and CTRs.
  • Follow up with analytics: This is where you can narrow down who your qualified leads are, see what worked and what didn’t, and clean up your lists as appropriate.

3. Content marketing

Content marketing in B2B involves employing strategies that will result in brand awareness, audience engagement, lead generation, and higher sales. Unlike B2C brands, who use content marketing primarily to build brand awareness and create an emotional connection, B2B brands use content marketing to provide their audience with expertise, via different formats, to engage their customers, build trust, and convince them they can solve their problems.

  • Blog posts. The go-to for content marketers, with unparalleled SEO benefits, blog posts are ideal for the TOFU audience.
  • Webinars. Great way to educate your audience on a certain topic and offer them the chance to address live questions
  • Infographics. These are charts, graphs, or other visual elements that summarize information to show trends, give an overview, etc.
  • Videos. More and more, B2B marketers are using video to share brand, product information, and educational content via webinars, live video, etc.
  • EBooks. These long-form guides can be offered as a freebie for a prospect, when they supply their contact info; they then become a lead for your business.

4. Social media

Since over 42% of the world’s population uses social media, it’s important that B2B companies plan their social strategy to survive in the competitive market. By sharing content on social media outlets, brands can generate leads while boosting their authority and gaining valuable opportunities to interact directly with their potential customers.

  • Complete your business’ profile. Make sure your company’s presence on LinkedIn is robust, with a comprehensive profile and easy ways to connect with company contacts as well as a link to your business website.
  • Stay active. Post news about your company, join conversations, and connect with your colleagues and other industry professionals.
  • Join LinkedIn groups. Groups on LinkedIn provide professionals in the same industry or with similar interests a great space to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, establish themselves as industry experts, and make business contacts and generate leads.
  • Participate in LinkedIn conversations. Join and participate in ongoing discussions and threads to make your presence more visible (and, ultimately, to generate leads).

5. Events

Networking, with its opportunities for one-on-one, personal interactions with your prospects, is still a tried-and-true marketing channel for B2B. In-person events and conferences can be tremendously effective at building relationships in ways that an email or phone call can’t match. Remember, your B2B prospects are mostly likely there to do business, not just look around.

  • Know who’s on the guest list
  • Listen first, sell later
  • Rely on social media and, yes, old-school business cards for networking
  • Flexibility: Virtual events can be attended from anyone with an internet connection, from anywhere and even from any time zone, meaning you can reach an even wider audience from varied markets.
  • Cost savings: Holding an event virtually cuts out costly line items like renting a venue, staffing and catering the event, and travel costs.
  • A wealth of data: Using event platform software that integrates with your CRM platform or marketing software can be like a crystal ball, providing in-depth, granular attendee information and demographics that can guide your follow-up efforts after the event.

6. Search engine optimization/organic search

SEO is still number one among the best B2B marketing channels for identifying and attracting qualified leads and ranking well in search results is essential. This can take the form of blog posts, landing pages, and other types of long-form content that are able to perform well in organic search.

  • Identify keywords that align with every stage of your customers’ buying cycle.
  • Organize the results along your sales funnel. Keywords that generate a strong informational intent are most likely going to represent top-of-the-funnel users; those with a strong purchase intent are likely being used by bottom-of-the-funnel prospects.
  • Review and optimize your existing content. If certain content has been created to target a specific keyword, make sure it is addressing the user intent behind that keyword.
  • Identify where your content is lacking and supplement it. If one of your top keywords reveals a strong inform intent in the search results and website is missing substance on that term, build your assets around that keyword.

7. Influencers & Brand Partnerships

According to Invesp, the ROI from influencer marketing can be eleven times greater than with more traditional forms of digital marketing, so this is a channel worth pursuing. Choose your influencers carefully, based on their engagement rates, the quality of their content and social following, and their ranking in organic search results. Then, use any of these commonly use B2B marketing strategies:

  • Share your company’s authoritative content — and solicit the same from influencers.
  • Look for opportunities for content collaboration.
  • Ask them to be a guest speaker at one of your events.
  • Offer free trials or discount codes.
  • Use your own customers as influencers

8. Pay per click (PPC)

Although it can get expensive, PPC is a popular form of online advertising that can result in significant lead generation for B2B, giving your SEO posts more visibility than an organic search result. When you pay for each visitor to your site, you can be reasonably sure that all of those visitors are interested in becoming leads by selecting keywords with clear purchase intent, like “buy [your product].”

  • Find high-value keywords. Find out which keywords your competitors target and what is the competition score for them.
  • Structure your campaign and draft your ad copy. Because of the multiple stakeholders and various stages of purchase, add appropriate calls-to-action and offers to your copy and make sure it speaks to the buyer’s pain points.
  • Create specific landing pages. Your PPC ads should send users to a landing page on your website that provides exactly what the ad promises. They should be able to get the information they are seeking or take action without clicking to another page.
  • Track your metrics. It’s important to balance your ads’ rankings, your ad spend, and your ROI.
  • Monitor your campaigns. There are many things to watch, but you should primarily aim to improve your click-through rate (CTR) and your quality score (QS), and lower your cost per click (CPC).

9. Referral programs

Referral marketing is definitely not just for B2C. B2B decision makers also tend to turn to the people they know and trust when deciding upon a next important purchase. According to Influitive, 84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral. And yet, only 30% of enterprise companies have a referral program in place.

10. Remarketing

Remarketing can be a valuable tool that maximizes the ROI of your paid advertising spend to generate new B2B leads, ease them along in the sales process, improve your email marketing, nurture them along the sales process, increase your email marketing accomplishments, and encourage your existing clients to come back for repeat business.

  • Create remarketing lists for each stage in your sales funnel, and then target users within each stage with campaigns designed to convert them into leads, depending where they are in the sales process.
  • Create several different landing pages for your remarketing, with different messages depending on what customers may need to convert. You can use landing page software like Unbounce and Instapage, which make it easy to create and test a multitude of landing page messages.
  • Use remarketing lists to move B2B leads along your sales funnels, guiding them through every stage of your sales funnel until they convert to being paying customers.
  • Use port-purchase remarketing

Omnichannel Marketing Is on the Rise

In terms of lead generation, omnichannel is important. Today’s customers expect touchpoints to integrate, whether they are social media ads, a newsletter sent via email, a mobile push notification, or an online chat with your bot.

  • Know your customer. Learn about their needs and wants, ask them questions and solicit feedback, and leverage social media for information about what makes them tick.
  • Choose the right channels, the ones that suit your customers the best.
  • Assign each channel a purpose. One could be for interaction, another for news, etc.
  • Make sure all your channels are connected. This may be difficult to finesse, but as much as possible track your touchpoints to ensure the experience is seamless and consistent.
  • Maintain your channels: Keep testing your strategy for what works and what doesn’t, and evolve as needed, to keep your customers happy and returning.

To conclude

B2B lead generation is essentially customer acquisition, with the goal of getting customers with high value into your sales funnel. Now more than ever, it’s essential that B2B marketers make it easy for these qualified customers to find their product or service through a broad offering of channels.

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2Checkout (now Verifone)

2Checkout (now Verifone)

2Checkout (now Verifone) is the leading all-in-one monetization platform for global businesses built to help clients drive sales growth across channels.