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B2B Sales Funnel

b2b sales funnel

Implementing a sales funnel for your organization will help you to filter the chaff from the wheat and bolster your B2B conversion rates.

Feel free to think of a sales funnel as literally as you need. When you pour an entire bag of sugar (or flour, or coffee, etc.) into a physical funnel, the material in question is going to move slowly, and clogs are bound to happen at the narrow end, creating an inefficient and maintenance-heavy process. You’re going to need to shake the bottle a few times to get the results you want, and you’ll probably get sugar all over the countertop.

If, however, you take the time to thoughtfully measure out your ingredients and only sift the right ones through, your funnel will work quickly, and with minimal spillage. 

Here are a few tactics you can employ to help your B2B sales funnel run as smoothly as possible. 

B2B sales funnel basics

Kitchen metaphors aside, your sales funnel strategy will serve you best if you are first equipped with a critical understanding of what it is, how it works, and how to use it efficiently and to the greatest effect. So let’s dive in. 

What is a B2B sales funnel

A B2B sales funnel is a sales methodology that allows organizations to segment prospective clients more easily,  and design a better and more informative sales journey for the most promising buyers. It may also be thought of as an illustration of the different stages within a B2B sales interaction which helps teams to better understand what different clients need at said stages, and how much attention they should be given. 

In a diagram, sales funnels are typically written out as Top of Funnel (ToFU), Middle of Funnel (MoFU), and Bottom of Funnel (BoFU.) Each segment represents a different point in the sales journey ranging from initial contact or demonstration to conversion and closure.

Sales funnels are similar to, although distinct from, the AIDA funnel, which is primarily used for marketing purposes rather than sales. AIDA stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action, and represents various stages clients themselves go through as opposed to stages in the journey. ToFU clients  in an AIDA funnel are those who know the brand and may be considered prospects. BoFU clients are paying subscribers.

Stages of a B2B funnel

While the AIDA model isn’t as useful for understanding the sales journey, the personas that it generates definitely are, and help us to better comprehend the needs and wants of sales leads at various stages within the sales journey. 

Stage 1: Leads

Leads are organizations with a distinct use case for your product or service. They fit your client profile, have a suitable relationship with technology, and an accessible mode of communication or outreach. 

Leads do not necessarily need to have an awareness of your organization, product, or services. If an organization knows who you are but does not have an explicit use case for your product, they should not be considered a lead. 

Stage 2: Prospects

Prospects are those leads who both have a use case for your product and are aware of your organization, or are brought into awareness of your organization through direct marketing efforts and initial sales outreach.

Qualified prospects – those with conversion potential – must be nurtured and engaged at this stage for a best chance creating a new sale. It is important not to abandon a prospect at the first sign of disinterest, but do erect a qualification strategy that will help you to remove them from the funnel once they lose viability. 

Stage 3: Buyers

Once a prospect begins to take an active interest in your product and enters demonstrations and negotiations with your company, they can become classified as a buyer.

It is important at this stage to make an effort to meet the specific needs expressed by the buyer, and learn more about their unique use case so the sales team can show them why your organization is the best fit to meet those needs. 

Stage 4: Customers

Post-purchase, your buyers are classed as customers (or clients) and any further interactions including upgrades, downgrades, product shifts, pauses or customization will be handled by your client services team. 

Building a B2B funnel based on leads

One critical aspect of an effective B2B sales funnel is your lead qualification strategy. As per our earlier analogy, if you throw every lead you come across into your funnel, it will overflow with organizations that have no intention or need that will make your product useful to them, and your sales team will waste both time and money in chasing those leads while simultaneously losing those that have more potential.

The goal of lead qualification is to ensure that only leads with potential to convert make it into the funnel. This means your sales team will ideally only ever be interacting with organizations that have a specified use case for your product. 

Using filters to target your leads’ needs

When vetting leads, your team might choose to apply filters to the process which help you to more easily find those highest-potential future clients. These filters should apply to both your inbound and outbound leads, and rank conversion potential based on:


  • Firmographic data. Organizational identity, expenditure, practice, etc. indicating an ideal match between the lead and your product.
  • Technographic data. An organization’s relationship to technology, indicating use case as well as purchase likelihood.
  • Competitor analysis. Which companies are in the running next to yours, indicating what unique qualities you need to uplift in your product to demonstrate why it’s the best.
  • Thematic resonation. Intangibles such as company philosophy, etc. which align between your company and the client’s, signaling an especially beneficial and harmonious match. 

Intricately can help you build your B2B sales funnel

Intricately provides your sales and marketing teams with unparalleled go-to-market data which will help you to qualify leads and run only those with the highest conversion potential through your filter. Armed with a detailed view of your potential clients, your sales team will understand exactly what a prospect needs, and when they need it, for their best chance at nurturing a new buyer.

Sign up for a demo today to see what else Intricately can offer your organization.

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