Marketing funnel, customer journey, sales pipeline—all of these terms describe the stages customers go through, from the first interaction to completing a transaction.
Understanding the ins and outs of marketing funnels is step one of your next successful email campaign.
In this article, we'll walk you through all the stages of building a B2B email funnel. We'll let you know our tips for setting up a CRM, content creation strategies, and crafting effective nurture tracks to boost audience interest and drive upsells.
Ready to optimise your email campaigns for maximum impact? Let's dive into the details.
Understanding Funnels: What They Are and How They Work
You might be asking yourself: What is an email funnel, and does my B2B business need it?
A marketing funnel is a visual representation of the customer journey and all of its stages. Alternatively referred to as the purchase or sales funnel, the concept originates from the Awareness-Interest-Desire-Action (AIDA) model, pioneered in the late 18th century by E. St. Elmo Lewis.
Shockingly, this centuries-old formula is perfectly applicable to modern-day marketing, and we can break down the categories as follows:
- The top of the funnel, its widest part, is called the awareness stage. It focuses on creating brand recognition and acquainting potential clients with our product or service. The goal of this phase is to spark interest and incentivise people to further explore our opportunities.
- Interest is what we call the middle of the funnel. It’s where potential customers delve deeper and eagerly interact with our brand. They start actively engaging with our content, seeking more information to understand how our B2B solutions address their needs.
- The decision stage involves prospects evaluating options and starting to show purchasing intent. Here, they compare features, pricing, and benefits before they proceed with an investment.
- The final stage is where the conversion occurs. Customers take the desired action, whether it's making a purchase, signing up for a service, or completing another predefined goal. This stage marks the successful passage through the marketing funnel.
- As you can see, this approach provides a structured framework that guarantees potential business clients receive the right messages at the right time.
Setting up Your CRM for Funnel Success
The B2B sector is flourishing more and more each year. That’s great, right? As awesome as it sounds, your brand might expand to the point where your leads become difficult to manage.
On the other hand, if you're just starting your B2B business journey and aiming to gain control early on, the best thing to do is invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) system.
The importance of CRM in managing and tracking leads
What is a B2B CRM, and what can it do?
Simply put, a quality CRM is your tool for keeping tabs on leads and making your life easier. A good B2B CRM helps you track a lead from "Hello" to "Deal closed."
It's all about having your customer data in one organised hub—no more chaos or scattered information.
But that's just the start. You get to analyse how your clients move through the email marketing funnel, which helps you tailor your approach. Your team stays on the same page, and talking to leads feels like chatting with old friends—personalised and on point.
The best part is that you get to make informed decisions using concrete data. Your CRM can give you detailed insights, showing you what works and where you can improve. Create customised reports, track metrics, and measure conversion rates—all of this is possible with a good CRM so that you can figure out the strategies that are hitting the bullseye.
CRM platforms suitable for B2B businesses
When choosing a CRM platform for your B2B business, it's crucial to factor in your specific requirements, scalability needs, and integration capabilities. Here’s an overview of some of the more widespread platforms. See if any of them align with your business objectives:
- Salesforce is a versatile CRM solution known for its robust customisation options, efficient lead tracking, and extensive integration capabilities. It's suitable for businesses of all sizes, providing a comprehensive view of customer interactions.
- HubSpot, with its integrated marketing and sales features, is another strong contender. Renowned for its user-friendly interface and inbound marketing tools, it offers a suite of CRM features, including lead tracking, email automation, and customisable reporting.
- Zoho CRM provides extensive tools that cater specifically to the needs of B2B businesses. It offers lead and contact management, sales automation, and analytics tools. Its scalability makes it suitable for both small enterprises and larger corporations.
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft tools and offers a unified platform for sales, customer service, and marketing. It's suitable for B2B businesses seeking an integrated approach to customer relationship management.
- Pipedrive is known for its intuitive design and emphasis on the sales pipeline. It provides robust deal and lead management features, making it an ideal choice for B2B businesses looking for a CRM with a focus on sales processes.
- These examples are only a handful of the many diverse options available online. It’s best to do your research and explore platforms based on the unique needs of your B2B business.
Organising and segmenting your leads within the CRM
So you’ve chosen a platform, and it’s time to put all that lead data in its place. Let’s get your leads organised and segmented in the CRM by following these steps:
- Start by tidying up your data. Clean organisation ensures your CRM has the right details, making it easier to target and communicate with leads. Check for errors, outdated information, and duplicates. If you find two entries for the same lead, merge them to avoid confusion.
- Next, integrate your CRM with other tools. This seamless connection reduces manual work and keeps your systems up-to-date. For example, you can sync your CRM with your email platform for automatic communication history.
- Don't forget about user training. Show your team how to use the CRM effectively. Everyone should know the basics, from entering lead details to running reports. Organise training sessions and provide resources like cheat sheets to keep everyone on the same page.
- It’s time to make your life easier. Set up workflows and automation in your CRM. From lead scoring to follow-up emails, let the software handle the mundane tasks so your team can focus on what matters.
- Lastly, use CRM analytics to measure what's working and what needs tweaking. Track key metrics that are relevant to your B2B efforts, like conversion rates, response times, and engagement.
Keep these steps in mind, and you'll have a well-organised CRM ready to help you convert those leads into long-lasting relationships.
Types of Content for B2B Email Funnels
There are different types of content for funnels, each meant to serve the customers depending on their position in the buyer’s journey. We can break these down into three categories:
Starting with Top of Funnel (TOFU) content, you aim to cast a wide net to capture customer attention during the awareness stage. You want to start with a welcome email for new users and then follow up with informative and engaging materials. Think of sharing your best blog articles, visually appealing infographics, and snippets of your social media posts.
Middle of Funnel (MOFU) content is for clients who are already interested and crave more in-depth information. Customers in the consideration stage want to see real-world examples, such as case studies highlighting successful use cases. Additionally, they are also interested in downloading educational eBooks or signing up for webinars.
Lastly, Bottom of Funnel (BOFU) content is for the customers who have made it through the rest of the journey and are most inclined to invest in your products or services. In this category falls content that has more purchasing intent, such as personalised product demos and free trials. This is also where you’d provide email invites to access premium B2B content for existing customers, solidifying their position in the retention stage.
Crafting Effective Nurture Tracks
When leads initially subscribe, they might have diverse interests and reasons for joining. Some are actively seeking your product, while others are exploring for information. The challenge lies in converting the latter group, often comprising TOFU leads who are not ready to buy immediately.
There are two essential things you need to do to create effective nurture tracks that build lasting connections: get to know your audience and segment your leads.
First of all, find out your audience’s preferences, pain points, and the specific difficulties they face in their niche.
The next step would be to divide your leads based on specific criteria like industry, behavior, or company size. This ensures you're not sending a one-size-fits-all message but rather providing content that resonates with their particular interests and challenges.
Lastly, remember that consumer journeys are non-linear and varied. Don't assume people will follow a set order in your email newsletter. Leads sign up at different times, and some might open your second email before the first. Make sure your language and workflow are adaptable to this, providing a smooth experience regardless of the order in which emails are read.
Writing a compelling B2B lead nurturing email
The days of generic emails are long gone. Let’s look at some tried-and-true tips for writing nurturing emails that convert:
- Before all, you must craft a captivating subject line to spark curiosity. It is the most powerful tool to attract someone unfamiliar with your brand. Incorporate a clear and enticing call-to-action (CTA) or add emojis to make your email stand out in the receiver’s inbox.
- Your leads need nurturing, and you should pamper them with a personalised approach throughout all stages of the funnel. Greet readers by their names and reference their specific interests for that special personal touch.
- Address pain points and offer valuable solutions to their problems. For example, if a lead frequently engages with content about software solutions, you can create an email drip campaign focusing on the benefits of your B2B software services.
- Stay consistent with your brand. If you haven’t built a solid brand identity by now, it’s long overdue that you look into it. People receive tons of emails, and if you’re inconsistent with your tone of voice and how you present your business, you’ll be left unnoticed in a cluttered inbox.
- Use compelling visuals or multimedia for better engagement. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so make sure the images and videos you’re sending to your leads are top-notch.
- Create a sense of urgency with a mention of time sensitivity to trigger the fear of missing out (FOMO). Encourage your leads to act promptly by incorporating limited-time offers, exclusive one-time deals, or countdowns so that they engage with your emails as soon as possible.
The importance of mobile optimisation
With over half of email interactions happening on mobile devices, adopting a mobile-first approach is non-negotiable.
Responsive email design means adapting your emails for single-column devices and optimising touch-friendly elements. Make sure things function seamlessly across platforms, providing an enhanced user experience and ultimately elevating conversion rates.
Measure Success and Iterate Your Funnel Strategy
To enhance the customer experience and improve overall satisfaction at each stage of the funnel, you must make data-driven decisions. Measure the success of your B2B email strategy effectively by looking into its key performance indicators (KPIs).
Metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, conversions, and lead progression milestones are instrumental in gauging the impact at each stage. A/B testing different email tactics, such as subject lines, content types, and CTA formats, will give you further insights.
Consider experimenting with different time slots and days of the week to find out when your audience is most responsive. Try it out for a while and then fine-tune your email delivery schedule, ensuring that your messages reach readers at the optimal times for engagement.
You can track your KPIs with platforms like Google Analytics, your email delivery software, and sentiment analysis tools. With the latter, you can monitor social media, forums, and online discussions to gauge the attitude of mentions related to your brand.
The goal is to regularly iterate your B2B funnel strategy based on these findings. For instance, if your analytics show a certain email template gets more responses, pinpoint what makes it successful and replicate that in future campaigns. Conversely, you should note any underperforming aspects to address those areas for improvement.
Hopefully, these strategies will help you improve your email campaigns. In B2B email funnels, the focus is on selling to organisations, where decisions hinge on collective benefits. Stay agile, adapt, and let data guide you through continual refinement. With the right strategic approach and a neat CRM database, you’ll see your business customers skyrocket in no time.