When it comes to being a marketer, the most important principle I have learned is this: I know your funnel.
It was the first thing I learned and to this day I need consistent reminders to wrap my head around the concept.
I also wrote about the general marketing funnel and several ways in which companies view them. In this post we will focus on the B2B marketing funnel and discuss the channel data used to expand each step.
Let’s start with a broad perspective of why marketers should always think about the marketing funnel.
What is the marketing channel used for
The marketing funnel is for defining and improving the marketing strategy.
A marketing funnel is a set of steps that maps the journey of customers and marketers measure how effectively they complete the funnel with new opportunities and how well these points turn into each stage.
Like a video game, progression is the goal. Each stage of the funnel can provide guidance to traders.
For example, demand generation managers look at the funnel from a numbers perspective. They want to know what the conversion rates are for each channel and funnel stage and how much revenue each one generates.
As a B2B content writer, I use the marketing funnel to understand the purpose of each piece of content. I ask, is the content meant to boost brand awareness? Is it to persuade site visitors to submit a lead form?
Below is an illustration of a marketing funnel from a primer on the subject of Zach Bulygo for Kissmetrics.
While this is great for visualizing the customer journey, let’s talk about each step from a B2B marketing perspective.
What is the B2B marketing representation
It is important to note that the marketing funnel is an ideal representation of the customer’s journey, see below:
We like to think that web users see a few ads (impressions), finally view your site (first touch), download their content (lead conversion), and are so thrown away that they pick up a phone to call sales .
Unless you sell 30 half-price packs of Pabst Blue Ribbon outside of a sister house, your marketing funnel and travel with customers are far more complex than you think.
In reality, the journey with customers is nuanced. In reality it is messy, like this:
Understanding how prospects become real customers
Marketers usually agree on the transition points of the funnel and set events to measure them. For example, downloading an ebook is an event that turns a web visitor into a lead role, and signing up for a product process turns them into a qualified sales opportunity.
There are several points of transition between key points (eg site visits, downloads and sales calls), but marketers cannot focus their efforts on all of them.
Choosing a limited number of transition points (events) to focus on is necessary because the client’s actual journey is elaborate, long and hectic.
Use the marketing channel to reduce spending on wasted ads and optimize channels
Marketing reports allow companies to see how well the prospects are changing at each stage of the funnel.
Anonymous website visitors, marketing opportunities and sales opportunities have all the specific values associated with them. Let’s examine some of them in detail.
For the upper funnel channels, study the values of involvement and information about the point of origin. This includes information about web sources, impressions, and web submission data. This three pieces of information answer the question: where do anonymous visitors come from?
TIP: One of the most important elements of optimizing the top value of the funnel is connecting anonymous click data with lead contact information inside the CRM.
For the bottom of the funnel channels, check out the sales opportunities and revenue per channel.
Below you will see some useful values for measuring performance for each stage of the funnel.
For more discussion about values, see our list of demand-generating values that demystify growth and revenue generation.
Know your only marketing channel
The B2B marketing funnel is a wild animal. It’s a way for marketers to represent the customer’s journey in an easy-to-understand way.
The marketing funnel is a ideal representation of the client’s journey. To understand how customers actually travel through it, we use pipeline marketing data. For more information, see the list of engagement tactics for each stage of the marketing funnel.
We, as marketers, try to solve a variety of technical and creative problems, and the guiding principle is know your funnel.