Tired of going all-in on your B2B sales funnel only to very rarely convert leads into paying customers?
First of all, you’re not alone. And second of all, it doesn’t have to be that way unless you let it stay that way!
While so many B2B salespeople go all-in on their funnel, most of them end up disappointed because they’ve been conditioned to follow a set of so-called ‘best-practices’ that only end up doing more harm than good.
That being said, we’re sharing 6 simple tips that you can start applying today to increase B2B sales funnel conversion rates.
Additionally, we’re also sharing:
- Why most B2B companies have low lead conversion rates;
- Straightforward B2B sales techniques that easily convert potential customers; and
- Why you should rethink your sales funnel altogether.
Overall business success comes down to sales success, and sales success comes down to how well you convert leads into loyal B2B customers.
However, you’ll never reach your full business potential unless you make these critical changes to your sales funnel model.
Trash the Traditional Sales Funnel Model!
Before going any further, let’s address the elephant in the room: If you follow a traditional sales funnel model, then you’re setting yourself up for failure!
Seriously- the traditional B2B sales funnel stages are flawed in themselves for several reasons, including the fact that they don’t accurately reflect a realistic customer journey.
Therefore, if you’re a regular user of the traditional sales funnel model, then your first order of business should be throwing it in the trash!
The hard truth is that if the stages of the sales funnel were so effective, then there would be a lot more successful salespeople out there.
However, while you should consider traditional funnels a lost cause, that isn’t to say that you should neglect the fact that B2B leads do go through an important customer journey!
Despite the fact that funnels are widely accepted as being effective, the real truth is that they’re highly unlikely to help you increase conversion rates at all.
Instead of using a traditional funnel to reflect your potential customer’s journey, you should simply follow a simple B2B sales process.
Follow a Simple Simple Sales Process Instead of a Sales Funnel
What makes a basic sales process more effective at converting leads than a funnel?
Also known as a sales cycle or sales pipeline, sales processes elevate sales reps to expert status. When a sales rep embraces the fact that they are an irreplaceable expert who knows exactly what they’re doing, they inevitably create a buying process that fulfills their potential customer’s deepest desires.
Moreover, simple and straightforward sales processes foster the kind of customer journey that:
- B2B leads actually appreciate being a part of; and
- Sales professionals have total control over.
At the end of the day, a basic sales process will convert more leads into loyal customers than any traditional funnel will.
6 Tips to Easily Improve B2B Sales Conversion Rates
So, the underlying secret to simply and quickly improving B2B sales funnel conversion rates is to ditch your funnel and exchange it with a basic sales cycle!
Again, while funnels look impressive, the truth is that they’re highly ineffective.
Rather, here are 6 simple tips to start converting more quality leads into B2B customers, starting now!
1. Target Your B2B Lead’s Vision
Think that B2B sales are all about solving your ideal customer’s pain points? Think again!
While solving a particular problem is certainly a big part of your job, there’s so much more to it than that. That is, at least, if you consider yourself a reputable sales professional instead of a vendor.
Consider this: Every B2B lead has problems, but solving those problems isn’t their ultimate goal. Rather, solving those problems is a means to an end. More specifically, it’s a means for them to get closer to manifesting their grand business vision!
Never forget that every entrepreneur starts a business in the first place because they have a vision for a better world. Then, they set out to create that world by selling a particular product or service.
With this in mind, you need to nuzzle up with your B2B lead’s vision. Rather than posing yourself as a measly product/service provider, pose yourself as someone who can solve a particular problem for the sake of manifesting their grand vision!
Moreover, the funnel’s different stages are all about putting yourself into perspective as somebody who is capable of bringing the lead one step closer to their vision.
What Is Their Big Picture Ending?
First things first: How do you know what your ideal lead’s visions are?
Instead of spending the awareness and interest stages talking about yourself and sending out free proposals, spend more time asking in-depth questions!
Believe it or not, most sales teams shoot themselves in the foot during the early stages of the funnel by spending the entire time talking about themselves rather than asking questions to understand the prospects.
Sometimes, higher conversion rates are a simple matter of asking more targeted questions.
Get Leads to Think Even Bigger
Is there anything better than having someone who not only understands your dreams, but motivates you to dream even bigger? Probably not!
Once you uncover what your B2B lead’s ultimate desired outcome is, encourage them to think even bigger about what’s possible. By doing so, they’ll feel more:
From the top of the funnel all the way to the bottom, hype your leads up to think even bigger.
2. Simplify and Shorten the Buyer’s Journey
Are you one of the many sales professionals who spends an average of four months working to convert a single lead into a paying customer?
If so, not only do you probably despise the fact that it takes months on end to close deals, but the fact that it does take so long is a direct cause of low conversion rates!
Believe it or not, the more time you spend trying to convert leads, the less likely they are to make a purchasing decision in your favor.
Take a moment to put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes… If you know that you have a specific problem that needs solving, wouldn’t you want to come up with a solution as soon as possible?
Of course you would!
Therefore, keep your sales approach as short, sweet, and to the point as possible. In the end, you and your prospect will both be happy that you kept things simple.
Make the B2B Lead’s Life as Easy as Possible
One thing you can do to immediately set yourself apart from your competition is by providing a seamless, fluid buying process for potential customers.
By that, we mean making their lives as easy as possible!
One of the best ways to do that is by creating outbound and inbound marketing content that acts as a resource for leads throughout their buying process.
For example, if you’re a fan of email marketing, then develop email marketing campaigns that might address potential customer concerns. Additionally, you can also create pieces of content on your website, such as blogs and case studies, that provide immediate customer value.
There’s a reason why they also call it a marketing funnel. Make your prospect’s experience as seamless as possible with solid digital marketing content!
Shorten Up Follow-Up Time
One of the most common causes of an exceedingly long buyer’s journey is poor follow-up on the part of the sales team.
More specifically, sales teams dragging their feet to:
- Respond to customer questions; and
- Schedule follow-up sales meetings.
One of the worst mistakes you can make is scheduling follow-up sales meetings for far out into the future. The longer the amount of time in-between meetings, the more chances there are for prospects to second guess you and start looking elsewhere for solutions.
As a rule of thumb: If you want to keep conversion rates up, then there should be a maximum of 48 hours in-between sales meetings!
Straightforward Sales Pitches
When it comes to your sales pitches, set a goal to make them as straightforward as possible.
By that, we mean:
- Be direct with what their pain point is and why it’s important to solve it (to achieve their vision)
- Clarify the strategy that you believe will address the pain point
- Use sales storytelling to amplify your message and hype up a sense of urgency
The absolute last thing you want to do is make your sales pitches unnecessarily complex, because complexity causes prospects to second guess their decision to work with you.
The simpler you keep things, the easier it is for customers to make a purchasing decision in your favor.
3. Solidify the Customer Relationship
Unlike B2C sales in which you might spend only a matter of minutes working with a client, most B2B sales teams work with customers for months if not years at a time.
B2B leads are looking for more than just someone who can provide them with a valuable product or service. In addition to a great deliverable, they’re searching for people with whom they see themselves forming a strong customer-supplier relationship.
Unfortunately, traditional sales funnels do anything BUT lay the foundation for solid relationships because they:
- Are sales rep-centric;
- Highly automated; and
- Don’t consider the prospect’s feelings.
Moreover, traditional sales funnels put 100% of the focus on the sales team instead of the prospect. As a result, prospects feel belittled and want little to nothing to do with the relationship.
Furthermore, fostering strong customer relationships is a direct pathway towards consistently higher conversion rates.
Seek a Deeper Connection
At the end of the day, most business relationships are formed on many of the same principles as everyday relationships–including friendships.
Therefore, approach sales relationships as if they were a friendship by:
- Being accountable for your words and actions;
- Showing off your genuine personality; and
- Interjecting fun and humor into the sales process.
Additionally, customizing the prospect’s buying journey as a fantastic way to solidify the customer relationship.
In fact, a recent Salesforce survey revealed that 76% of buyers say that there is a lack of personal attention and customization in their buying experience!
The simple solution: Be the salesperson who makes their prospects feel like individuals instead of boxes on a checklist.
Mirror Their Brand Messaging
There’s no way to beat around the bush: Humans naturally gravitate towards people who are like them. Whether we are seeking friendships or deeper relationships, we tend to gravitate towards people who are like us in at least one way. And, your B2B leads are no exception to that rule!
Look for ways to align yourself and your brand with that of your leads. A better way of putting it is that you should try to mirror them and what they stand for.
Perhaps the best way to mirror prospects is by aligning your brand message with their brand message.
Brand messages are so powerful because they embody the spirit, values, and beliefs that a company stands for. When you look closely, brand messaging can tell you a lot about your prospect’s identity.
In turn, try to reflect elements of the lead’s brand message in that of your own. Some of the most effective ways to do that include:
- Creating a curated social media feed
- Sharing relevant content on your personal LinkedIn page
- Establishing several touchpoints of communication with the lead
Imagine that your B2B lead’s company was a person, and then try to reflect elements of that person in yourself. As a result, you’ll experience overall higher customer conversion and retention rates.
4. Get Strict With Lead Generation
One of the biggest mistakes sales reps make during the selling process is being super lenient with lead generation. Instead of getting extremely specific about who their ideal target customer is, they only put out a vague description of who they’re targeting.
The reason: By setting fewer qualifications for leads, they believe that they’re likely to get more leads into the sales pipeline. While they might initially get more leads into their pipeline, those leads will eventually fall out as they’re not as qualified as they should be!
In short: Unless you’re uber specific on who your ideal target customers are, you’ll only waste a ton of time and energy trying to get them to the next stage of the selling process.
You’re much better off having a few highly qualified leads than you are having a ton of leads who are unlikely to purchase from you.
Qualified Leads Only
When it comes to getting uber specific on your target customers, get with your B2B marketing team to develop an ideal prospect profile (IPP) for the B2B company and an ideal buyer persona (IBP) for the decision-makers at the B2B company.
These two marketing tools will give you a solid point of reference in terms of who you’re looking for during the lead generation process.
Think of the IPP and IBP as caricatures for your ideal customers!
If you’re ever struggling with the IPP or IBP, try putting yourself in your prospect’s shoes as if you’re an actor playing their role. Think about what they would say, how they would act, and what their interests are.
5. Be the Expert Who Your Prospects Desire
Would you believe me if I told you that your potential customers desire to work with sales professionals who are absolute experts at what they do?
More specifically, they don’t want to work with sales reps who simply check the boxes and leave, but rather trusted advisors who have their best interests at heart.
In fact, a recent Salesforce survey revealed that B2B business owners believe that it is either absolutely critical or very important to interact with a salesperson who is a trusted advisor–not just a sales rep–who adds value to their business.
Unfortunately, traditional sales funnels do everything but elevate salespeople to the status of experts!
For example: During the awareness stage, sales reps are encouraged to make potential customers aware of them by advertising what makes them particularly special. This often results in the salesperson only talking about themselves without showing any interest in the prospect.
Now, would you trust that somebody is an expert if all they do is talk about themselves? Or would you see them as somebody who is simply there to close a deal and walk out the door?
To convert a lead into a customer, you need to come across as an expert in their eyes. However, traditional funnels do anything BUT that.
Don’t Reduce Yourself to a Vendor
Instead of reducing yourself to a vendor, elevate yourself to irreplaceable sales expert status! Thankfully, simple sales processes utilize several sales techniques that help upgrade you to the expert level.
In the end, not only will you have higher conversion rates, but you’ll also:
- Speed up the lead’s decision-making process;
- Generate more referrals for already qualified leads; and
- Have higher retention rates.
If you hate being seen as a vendor, then don’t reduce yourself to one. Instead, embrace your expertise to close more deals in less time.
6. Bring the Right Energy to the Room
Have you ever walked into a sales pitch and been completely captivated by a particular member of the sales team? If so, then you understand the power of positive energy and the ability it has to completely win people over.
On the flip side, have you ever walked into a sales pitch and felt as if you could cut the tension or nerves in the room with a knife? If so, then you understand the power of negative energy and the ability it has to completely shun people away.
There’s no way to beat around the bush- your energy is palpable and infectious! You can try to hide it all you want, but it’s nearly impossible to do so.
That being said, one of the easiest ways to completely captivate B2B leads in your target audience is by simply radiating positive energy.
Ultimately, you can have the best product/service on the market, the best sales and marketing strategies, and know your customer base inside and out, but radiating negative energy will shun them away faster than you can even say shun.
Energy Is Palpable and Infectious
Before going any further, where does energy come from?
Energy is the physical manifestation of the emotions we feel. The emotions we feel are the product of the thoughts we think.
Therefore, the basis of energy is thoughts, so it’s crucial to think positive thoughts in order to radiate positive energy.
If you are a regular thinker of negative thoughts, it’s important to ask yourself if you’re genuinely enthusiastic about your business and what you spend your time doing.
Again, whether you like it or not, potential B2B buyers will pick up on your energy!
Prospects Remember How You Make Them Feel
At the end of the day, people are more likely to remember how you make them feel and less likely to remember what you say.
So, your best bet to be memorable and to convert leads into new customers is by making them feel as positive as possible.
While there are many ways to do that, the single-best way is by simply being a source of positive energy yourself. Because when you are genuinely positive, not only will you inevitably radiate that good energy, but you’re more likely to take positive actions that lead to positive outcomes for your potential buyers.
Final Thoughts on How to Improve Sales Funnel Conversion Rates
A traditional B2B sales funnel won’t convert leads for you. Unless you ditch the traditional sales funnel and opt for a simpler sales process while applying sales techniques that actually work, you’ll keep on spinning your wheels without going anywhere.
And while it might sound challenging at first, you’d be surprised at how much easier your life will get and how much more success you’ll achieve once you ditch the traditional funnel!
Bottom line: If you do what everyone else does, you’ll get what everyone else gets. Instead of getting subpar sales outcomes, uproot your traditional sales funnel to not only set yourself apart from the crowd, but to get solid, consistent, and long-term sales success.
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