B2B Marketing Funnel: What It Is and How to Build One

5 minutes
Jul 13, 2022
Digital Marketing

B2B buyers typically do several months of research before making a major purchase decision. Influencing those decisions requires a well considered B2B marketing funnel that can help buyers identify challenges,...

B2B buyers typically do several months of research before making a major purchase decision. Influencing those decisions requires a well considered B2B marketing funnel that can help buyers identify challenges, discover solutions, and understand how your solution can solve their problems.

Ideally, every B2B company needs a reliable marketing funnel to grow and maintain its customer base. Here is a comprehensive guide on the B2B marketing funnel, including tips to develop or improve one.

What Is a B2B Marketing Funnel?

A B2B marketing funnel is a step-by-step marketing approach that covers every stage of a buying journey. It provides a rock-solid template for revenue teams to reference … but it’s also the cornerstone from which your team can personalize to accommodate your — and your buyers’ — unique needs and preferences.

Breaking Down the B2B Marketing Funnel

The B2B marketing funnel is a five-step process that involves working towards achieving the following objectives:

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Consideration
  4. Purchase
  5. Retention

Top of the Funnel (TOFU)

The top of the funnel (TOFU) section of the B2B marketing funnel focuses on the first two objectives: Awareness and Interest. The primary goal is to get a relevant audience for your marketing campaign.

Most marketers have a lot of experience building Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs). But not every relevant ICP company (or account) is ready to buy what you are selling. Some are not interested, others are already locked into contracts with your competitors, and others have no available funds.

Trying to reach all of your ICPs to convert them into clients is a waste of resources. Instead, you should target only those accounts that are showing buying signals. These are “in-market” accounts.

Intent data providers can help you determine which accounts are currently in-market. By narrowing your targeting to In-Market Ideal Customer Profiles (IICPs), you can make sure your marketing budget is directed to organizations that are likely to buy.

Content considerations: TOFU primarily involves developing educational content instead of sales-oriented content. (This very blog post is an example of TOFU-centric content!) The underlying strategy is to answer your audience’s general questions about your industry and products or services, and build trust rather than immediately pushing toward a deal.

For example, if you offer SEO and marketing services, create content on what SEO marketing is, not a product review of your SEO solutions.

Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)

The middle of the funnel (MOFU) section of the B2B marketing funnel focuses on the third objective: Consideration. The primary goal is to get your audience interested in your products or services — and, ideally, your brand.

MOFU primarily involves creating and marketing content that shares product-specific information. Based on the earlier example of an SEO marketing agency, you can upgrade your content from a definition of SEO to a guide on how SEO works and its potential benefits to your readers’ marketing campaigns.

Other ideal content types for the MOFU section include:

However, you still shouldn’t make the content too sales-oriented.

Getting your audience to continually trust and consume your content remains a key goal. However, it is worth noting that some of your audience may be unwilling to provide their contact information to subscribe to this content — via an email newsletter, for instance.

Contact forms capture only 3% of a site’s unique visitors. Why? Most people are reluctant to give up their contact details — we all spend too much time deleting unwanted emails as it is!  Forms become a barrier to the information that you want your prospects to actually consume.

Marketers often rely on forms because it’s the simplest way to get potential customers to reveal who they are. But it’s not the only way. By leveraging intent data with AI, you can spot and deanonymize account-level browsing activity, then quickly gather contact details for key company personas that are likely to be part of the buying team.

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

The “bottom” section of the B2B marketing funnel focuses on the fourth and fifth objectives: Purchase and Retention. Here, the primary goal is to convert your audience into paying customers and maintain a healthy, long-term customer relationship.

You can use various content types in the sales funnel’s BOFU section. Consider the following:

  • Email sequences can drive traffic to strategically important, sales-centric landing pages.
  • Demos and calendar bookings can help your sales team understand the client’s specific challenges and provide a guided tour of solutions.
  • Case studies and testimonials can demonstrate your products’ or services’ performance and overall appeal.

You’ve primed your audience for direct outreach, so BOFU content can be sales-oriented. Your sales representatives should also be doing direct outreach — especially to IICPs that have multiple members of their buying team engaged in researching your brand.

Within the 6sense platform, these are called 6sense Qualified Accounts (6QAs), and we flag them for the entire revenue team because these accounts represent your best chance of closing deals. They are worth priority attention.

Besides converting leads into customers, the BOFU section also focuses on developing customer loyalty. For example, promotion programs such as credit rewards can keep some of your customers coming back.

Tips to Develop Your Own B2B Marketing Funnel

The B2B marketing funnel discussed above is a standard template on which you can base your own marketing plan. Ideally, your funnel should be customized and personalized according to your company’s bespoke needs.

There are many approaches to developing a B2B marketing funnel. The easiest entails using a spreadsheet to plan the funnel from top to bottom. Here is a simple step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  1. Label different spreadsheet columns according to each stage of the B2B marketing funnel.
  2. Outline each stage’s goals.
  3. Identify and highlight each stage’s key performance indicators (KPIs) to help you measure and optimize the marketing campaign’s performance.
  4. Identify and highlight content ideas, target keywords, key buyer personas, and other strategies to run your marketing campaign.

You will also need to consider and integrate your target audience’s product journey; every brand has a unique user-product journey. Ideally, it should outline everything about your marketing funnel and campaign, including the marketing content and tactics to use.

Get It Right

Your entire marketing campaign will be based on your B2B marketing funnel, so it is important to get everything right. 6sense can help you develop and optimize your B2B marketing funnel and campaigns. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help, or book a demo to get started.