The B2B Lead Generation Funnel 101


by Stevan Blazin | Jul 12, 2022

There’s no doubt about it – lead generation is at the core of digital marketing. It’s the secret sauce that turns potential customers into actual sales. No matter what industry you’re in, leads are the lifeblood of any business – every B2B company needs quality leads to make it in today’s crowded digital market. But, how do you discover and cultivate them?
To reach your full marketing potential, you need to tap into the ins and outs of the B2B lead generation funnel and nurture the pipeline every step of the way. However, lead generation can be a tough cookie to crack.
Stick around, because today, we’re diving into how you can finally stop chasing those leads, but bring them right to your doorstep and walk them out happily shaking hands to seal the deal by leveraging a B2B lead generation funnel.
Ready? Let’s plunge right into it!

What Is (B2B) Lead Generation and Why Is It Important?

The primary method of generating leads used to be outbound marketing – reaching audiences through traditional marketing channels like print ads, TV commercials, and cold calls. Today, lead generation has shifted to inbound marketing, aiming to deliver value to the target audience and create a positive brand reputation, which will, in turn, entice them to purchase a product or service voluntarily. Enter lead generation!

Lead generation is a modern and targeted method of marketing – the process of identifying, gathering, and cultivating potential customers who might be a good fit for your business and nurtured to become paid customers. Attracting them, getting them to take action, and moving them through the sales process is what it’s all about. The “B2B” prefix refers to businesses selling their products or services primarily to other businesses, rather than consumers.

Generating B2B leads is the priority of every B2B business as it’s what ignites the sales engine. Obtaining new customers is one of the main goals of any company, as this directly leads to business growth and, eventually, success. With that in mind, leveraging the B2B lead generation funnel – piquing the interest of potential customers and guiding them towards finalizing a transaction – is the roadmap to your success.

Learning the Ropes: What Is the B2B Lead Generation Funnel?

The definition of the B2B lead generation funnel is pretty much self-explanatory – you can imagine it as literally a funnel that illustrates the customer’s journey, from start to finish. All the prospects or “leads” go to the top of the funnel. Then, you guide them through the various stages of the funnel until they ultimately reach the end of the funnel, when they are ready to buy your product or service.

Creating a B2B lead generation funnel can help businesses drive leads into their sales pipeline and influence their prospects’ buying process. It can serve as a road map to filter out leads and take them further through the lead nurturing funnel, developing relationships with potential buyers, and eventually closing the deal.

What Are B2B Leads?

B2B leads are businesses or companies that are potential customers that might be interested in the product or service you offer. They put the sales process into motion and are crucial to maintaining a stable pipeline. A lead is considered “generated” when a company states an interest in your services or products. Then, it’s up to you to convert them into customers.

How Does It All Work? Different Stages Of a B2B Lead Generation Funnel

A B2B lead generation funnel outlines each step of a customer’s journey – from the first contact through to completing a purchase. In order to successfully guide leads through it, you need to be familiar with the different stages of the B2B lead generation funnel to be strategic and build an effective one.

You may have heard of the buzzwords such as TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU. Don’t worry – this alphabet soup is just an abbreviation of the stages of a B2B lead generation funnel, which can be narrowed down into three levels: top, middle, and bottom. Keep in mind that the B2B lead generation funnel is a system – each stage co-exists with and is connected to other stages, so you must never lose track of the big picture and perceive it as a whole.

Top Of The Funnel (TOFU)

During the first stage of the B2B lead generation funnel, also known as the “awareness stage” or the TOFU stage, your goal is to create awareness about your brand and drive quality traffic. First impressions can make or break your efforts. And, since this is your first interaction with potential customers, your main priority is to establish a sense of trust and authority with relevant and valuable content.

But, more about that later, as bringing those qualified leads in the first place is easier said than done. The B2B lead generation process starts by finding out where your target market “lives” on the web. You need to identify the most relevant platforms where your leads spend their time, then capture them with good advertising campaigns and quality content to create a trustworthy and authoritative presence there.

Most B2B companies use PPC advertising, SEO techniques, and other lead generation tools to acquire leads by launching B2B lead generation campaigns on various digital channels. From social media posts and email campaigns to google search ads, blog posts, and referrals, different platforms can be used depending on your niche, product, or service.

Middle Of The Funnel (MOFU)

At this point, you’ve attracted your prospects who are now starting to explore their options. Acquired leads are interested in what you have to offer, but the chances of them becoming a customer are close to zero unless you nurture them. Lead nurturing is a crucial part of the B2B lead generation funnel – you need to build strong customer relationships to make them travel through the sales funnel and eventually convert them into paying customers.

Thus, the middle of the funnel (MOFU) is for building desire and interest among leads in your value offering and making them become more engaged with the brand. Offering a suitable solution for their problems or something of great value is how you turn intrigued visitors into leads. This is the time to go all-in, make your prospect feel welcomed, and show them what you’ve got!

The way you position yourself at the beginning of a relationship with a prospect can make or break your marketing efforts. Approach each customer with empathy and the idea of helping them solve a problem or achieve a goal. Instead of focusing solely on selling your products or services, focus on human interaction to build trust and loyalty. Surely, there will be a need to discuss the offer and pricing, but focusing on the relationships will bring long-term prosperity.

Bottom Of The Funnel (BOFU)

Lastly, but far from least important, the bottom of the funnel is the action stage – where leads take action and show readiness to make a purchase. In the BOFU stage, prospects are considering making a purchase, so your focus should be to make it happen. Assure them why buying from you would be the right choice.

However, don’t get excited too soon, because even after a purchase, you must maintain a good relationship with your customers. B2B products have a longer sales cycle. So, if you want them to become long-term clients, instead of business “one-night-stands” – keep them happy, valued, and loyal. High-quality customer service, being open to feedback, and offering loyalty benefits can help you build strong and long-lasting relationships.

Benefits of Using a B2B Lead Generation Funnel

There are numerous benefits to using a B2B lead generation funnel. Here are some of the most prominent ones that will make you want to run off to start creating your own lead generation funnel strategy. But, I advise you to bear with me for a bit longer to make the most out of it.

Leads, leads, and more leads!

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of using a B2B lead generation funnel is that it helps you build awareness for your brand, generate trust, and thus, more leads and reach ideal customers. And that’s not all – a strong B2B lead generation funnel can also help you improve the quality of your leads by qualifying them before they ever reach your sales team.
After all, you don’t want to sell to just anyone, right? You want prospects who are more likely to buy your product or service. By using SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click) in your B2B lead generation funnel, you can target businesses based on their specific interests and needs.

It’s cost-effective…

Even digital advertising can quickly turn into an expensive endeavor. Another perk of using a B2B lead generation funnel is that it can help you save money, as it’s one of the most cost-efficient marketing tactics out there, in terms of return on investment (ROI) and return on ad spend (ROAS). If set up correctly, a B2B lead generation funnel lets you craft a specific offer tailored for targeting specific leads and therefore, a better conversion rate. It’s a win-win!

… and Sales-Boosting

With outbound marketing, you’re constantly looking for leads to pursue. With B2B lead generation funnel, you’re getting prospective customers to come to you. It’s any marketing team’s dream come true!

Using a B2B lead generation funnel can help you make your sales process more efficient because marketing automation helps you move qualified leads through your sales process more quickly and efficiently, which, obviously, results in more sales and profits for your business.

Ready to Generate Some Leads and Send them Down the B2B Funnel?

Sales are what keep any business floating, but there can’t be many sales to make if you aren’t generating enough qualified leads. It’s all about caring enough to create value for potential customers. If you get that part right, selling is a piece of cake. That’s where the B2B lead generation funnel comes in.

Reaching and attaining new customers has never been a walk in the park, but since the world has turned virtual, innovative marketing techniques and digital channels make it a lot easier. Making the most out of them, however, still depends on you and your sales team. If you want your business to grow and prosper, knowing how to peak and nurture customer interest is a must.

With a powerful B2B lead generation strategy in place that will seamlessly drive prospects from the top to the bottom of the funnel – the sky is the limit. Creating a powerful B2B lead generation funnel is all about using the right tools and strategies. If you need a savvy partner in your corner for this lucrative endeavor, we’re always just a click away!

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