Generating leads is a challenge. But, getting high-quality leads is even more challenging. After all, if your leads aren't good enough, you're essentially wasting your time.
So, how do we get better leads?
The answer lies in building the right lead generation funnel, with the right content spread across the right channels. This sets the stage for attracting and nurturing high-quality leads and turning them into successful customers.
In this article, we'll discuss how you can build a B2B lead generation funnel in just under five steps and how you can optimize the funnel to convert leads easily..
Let's get started!
What is a Lead Generation Funnel?
Before we get into the process of building the funnel, let’s understand what exactly it is.
A lead generation funnel is the visual representation of the path that your leads will take while you move them through the various stages of their buyer journey. The objective of designing a lead generation funnel is to carefully attract and push leads into the website and down to the sales funnel.
In SaaS, the product marketers and growth marketers, by working together with the sales team, create different content assets to attract and nurture leads and work on increasing the conversion rate of each landing page of the website in order to drive them down the funnel.
Once the website captures the lead’s email or phone number, and their profile is qualified against an ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) criteria, and they become an MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead).
In essence, the lead generation funnel acts as a precursor to the sales funnel. Once your leads become MQLs (s), then they transition into the sales lead funnel.
What are the Different Stages in a Lead Generation Funnel?
Lead generation is the art of attracting and bringing interested buyers into your lead gen funnel so that you can eventually convert them. How does this happen? What kind of steps should you follow to attract and convert them? To know that, we first need to look at a common buyer journey.
Buyers go through
- and then confirmation.
They first need to be aware of a problem, then get interested in finding a solution, discover the different options of solutions, and decide which solution to pick. Your job as a marketer is to build content and nurture campaigns around their buying intent at each stage so that they convert easily. To better understand how to build your lead generation funnel, here’s how a lead gen funnel looks like around their buying intent:
Here’s a deep dive into what the different stages of a lead gen funnel look like and what kind of content you’ll need to create in each stage:
In the top-of-the-funnel stage, we create content to attract and convert audiences who may or may not know of the problem or the solution. There are different kinds of buyers in this stage, ones who are aware of the problem and a solution, ones who are not aware of the problem. Your job is to make different kinds of authoritative content to educate readers on the problem and the different ways to solve that problem. Through an assortment of content like blogs, webinars, tools, and other assets, delivered to the search audience, and on social media and email, we can attract buyers with different intents.
The main objective here is to educate the buyer and convert them on the website so that you can collect their contact information. And then nurture them to ultimately become a customer.
2. Interest (MOFU)
At this stage, you’re trying to attract audiences who are well aware that they have a problem to solve. Your job is to get *them* interested in your solution. There are different content assets you can use to target the MOFU audience, like alternative pages, detailed webinars talking about solutions, product tours, etc.
The goal here is to convince the buyer that your product or service is the best possible solution in the market. So focus on creating content that brings out your USP.
3. Conversion (BOFU)
Your lead has finally shown the green flag and is interested in purchasing your product. And once you’ve qualified them against your ICP criteria, you hand them over to the sales team.
A key point to remember as a lead gen expert is that you have to make sure it is easy for prospects to convert at each stage. Once they read a blog, they should be guided to click on a CTA or move to another page. If they signed up for a webinar, they should get a nurture email. These activities will help the prospect convert easily.
5 Steps to Create Your B2B Lead Generation Funnel [With Pro Tips]
Generating high-quality B2B leads is not an easy task. With the right strategy in place, you can achieve this successfully. So, here are 5 essential steps enriched with pro tips to help you create an effective lead-generation funnel that drives success.
1. Identify Your Target Audience
Before any business can effectively generate leads, they must have a razor-sharp understanding of who they're speaking to. Without a clear audience in mind, any marketing efforts risk missing the mark.
Begin by analyzing your product's unique features and benefits. Which businesses stand to gain the most from what you offer? Who are the decision-makers within these businesses?
This lays the foundation to build a lead generation funnel. In a B2B scenario, this often involves a multi-layered approach. You also need to define the demographics, pain points, and preferences.
Pro Tip #1: Use analytics tools like Google Analytics or Mixpanel to get insights into your current audience demographics and behavior.
For instance, let's say one of your key offerings is an advanced project management tool. This tool might be best suited for IT project managers in medium to large companies, where numerous teams handle complex projects simultaneously.
Once you have identified your audience, you can then segment them further based on the data you collected. This helps you pinpoint lead traits and needs, enabling more tailored and relevant messaging.
Ben Bennet, CEO of Second Voice Pro, says on LinkedIn that one needs to segment, focus, and refine for impactful outreach. In B2B sales, it's about precision and testing over sheer volume. Know your persona, their needs, and the cost of their inaction. Then, deliver what resonates.
2. Develop Compelling Content that Acts as Lead Magnets
Lead magnets are content assets that get your prospects to come back for more. It’s often a tool or an asset that helps the user solve a very particular problem. Like cold calling scripts for an SDR, meta description character counter for an SEO content writer, a webinar by 2-3 expert product marketers on how to increase conversions on a landing page for a product marketer.
Pro Tip #2: Regularly update your content calendar. Use tools like BuzzSumo to identify trending topics in your niche.
For example, Taboola, a content network solution that helps businesses advertise to potential customers, uses e-books to attract prospects.
Taboola's ebook landing page (shown below) is a great example of content that helps turn curious visitors into potential customers. The landing page directly talks to marketers and repeatedly highlights how the solution can supercharge their discovery campaigns. It was a vital part of Taboola's efforts to find new customers.
The goal was to show potential advertisers how to make successful campaigns. If people are interested in the content here, it means they're likely to be good prospects for advertising with Taboola.
However, lead magnets can take different shapes and forms. They do not always need to be e-books and templates. If you see your leads are heavily leaning towards software review platforms like G2 or reading in-depth blog articles, that's where you should be. Leads are generated through these platforms when buyers access gated content such as videos and downloads on your product profile page and request that your organization contact them or ask for a custom quote.
So, test the waters, then plunge into what works best. And most importantly, ensure you have a clear value proposition, compelling CTAs, and testimonials that can build trust and prompt action.
3. Create Landing Pages that Convert
Your landing page is where the magic happens. We’re big purveyors of the idea that showing is better than telling. So instead of brandishing a list of features on your website, showcase how the product works in the form of short-burst demo videos, showcase what your most successful customers say, and keep the design minimal.
Pro Tip #3: A/B test your landing page, from CTAs to images to identify what resonates most with your audience.
While the average conversion rate across industries typically falls between 2.35% and 5.31%, sevDesk achieved a remarkable 28% conversion rate by seamlessly transforming website visitors into leads using an embedded interactive demo tour.
With Storylane, you have the option to embed small, quick, guided tours of your product features in your landing pages (as well as blogs and other resources) to drive engagement. This approach allows potential customers to navigate through your product without actually accessing it.
Pro Tip #4: You can also use a 'Try Now' button, leading to an immediate hands-on demo that can effectively capitalize on the visitor's current interest, driving higher engagement.
4. Nurture Your Leads with Email Marketing
On average we’re always checking out multiple products, so it’s very easy for us to forget which website we visited. Same way, prospects are going to forget the different products they checked out. That’s why it’s better to send them a series of reminders in the form of emails. You can leave nuggets of information that can help your prospects with their work. Now, we’ve all made these email marketing campaigns before.
But how do you make one that converts prospects? Personalized email campaigns. Not all leads are the same. So, you need to group them based on their interests and how they signed up. For instance, if you're a SaaS company offering a project management tool, you might have leads interested in task automation and others in team collaboration.
Direct each segment to a personalized email sequence. If they showed interest in team collaboration, your automated emails should focus on that.
Start with a warm welcome email offering valuable resources. For your project management tool, share blog links on effective team communication. As the sequence progresses, introduce them to more in-depth features by adding snippets of your product walkthroughs.
You can even use triggered emails. This works by implementing behavior-triggered emails. For instance, if a lead checks out your pricing page but doesn’t purchase, trigger a follow-up email with a special offer or an FAQ about your pricing.
How to Optimize Your Lead Generation Funnel?
Optimizing your lead funnel is key, and here's how to make it even more effective:
- Clarify and Streamline Customer Journey
Ensure every step in your funnel serves a clear purpose. Simplify the path for users to move from one job to be done (JTBD) to another, ensuring smooth transitions.
As Shireesh Gupta, Founder of Positioning.Pro says,
"Focus on the JBTD of the user - and push to the JTBD by a mix of good messaging and CTAs. Remove friction at all touchpoints and make it easier for the user to move ahead."
- Qualify Leads with Precision
Not all leads are created equal. Focus on identifying which ones are primed for purchase. For instance, someone who's activated a free trial indicates a deeper interest than someone who's merely clicked on an informational link.
- Use Demos to Educate and Engage
Demos play an important role throughout your lead generation funnel. Initially, they introduce your offerings, and as leads advance, detailed demos can underline the superiority of your product.
Jack Carrere, Co-Founder and CEO of Prokeep, says it best,
"The unsung heroes of the lead generation process are the demos. Nothing speaks louder in a world full of options than demonstrating a good or service in use."
Make demos a cornerstone of your funnel optimization.
Storylane's interactive demo platform helps streamline your lead generation funnel. You can easily showcase your product, tailor demos, guide users, share content, and gather insights to engage and captivate your leads.
You can incorporate these demos on your landing pages to immediately engage visitors and provide a visual introduction to your product or service. They are also great for nurturing your leads through email campaigns. Sending guided and clickable demo videos customized for your prospects and created using Storylane as part of your email sequences can also help keep leads engaged and informed.
- Experiment All the Way
Be open to testing multiple strategies to gauge what resonates with your audience. This might involve tweaking content types, adjusting ad campaigns, or A/B testing landing pages. Remember, it's about finding that sweet spot that aligns with your audience's needs.
Creating a lead generation funnel isn't just about following steps. It's about understanding your audience, sharing the right content, and using personalized demos effectively.
Modern businesses should focus on adjusting and offering unique custom experiences. So, always prioritize your audience's needs, test different strategies, and consistently refine your approach.
Remember, a proactive, audience-centric mindset will drive stronger engagement and higher conversions. Make your funnel work for your leads, and the results will follow.
Q1. What is a typical B2B lead funnel?
A typical B2B lead funnel is a structured process to attract, nurture, and convert potential business clients. It begins with awareness, followed by interest, consideration, evaluation, and finally, purchase.
Q2. How to generate B2B leads in 2023?
To generate B2B leads in 2023, employ a mix of content marketing, SEO, personalized email campaigns, targeted social media ads, and virtual events, and leverage AI-driven tools to optimize your outreach and engagement.
Q3. What is the difference between a sales funnel and lead generation?
A sales funnel focuses on guiding potential customers toward making a purchase, while a lead generation funnel primarily centers on attracting and nurturing potential clients before they enter the sales process.
Q4. How do I generate leads for my B2B business?
To generate leads for your B2B business, you need to create valuable and relevant content and utilize email marketing and digital advertising campaigns tailored to your audience's needs.