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How Your Brand Can Optimize It to Boost Conversions

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How Your Brand Can Optimize It to Boost Conversions

An effective B2B SaaS sales funnel is critical for your brand to drive conversions. But 68% of companies say they haven’t attempted to evaluate the impact of their sales funnel and 79% say that marketing leads are never converted.

The result is a growing need for in-depth sales funnel optimization: Companies need to consider how current funnels are performing, where they need to improve, and what steps they can take to achieve this goal.

In this piece, we’ll dig into B2B SaaS sales funnel basics and explore five ways your brand can optimize this approach.

B2B Sales Funnel

While the stages of the SaaS sales funnel mirror those of less specialized sales approaches, the specifics of each stage differ. Let’s take a closer look at each.

Prospects

The prospects stage is the most general and involves broadly identifying potential prospects from the market at large. The goal here isn’t to make a sale on day one but rather to raise awareness of your brand to help potential customers understand that you don’t just deliver a product, you deliver a service that’s continually supported over time.

This stage of the funnel is also known as TOFU, or Top of the Funnel.

Lead Qualification

The next stage in the SaaS sales funnel is sales qualifaciton. This focuses on vetting leads obtained in the first stage: Are they interested in your SaaS solutions? Do they have the budget and decision-making authority to purchase your product? Qualified leads help sales teams boost win rates; unqualified leads can waste time for marketers, sales teams, and customers themselves.

Intent

Intent speaks to the portion of the funnel which sees leads activity looking to learn more about your SaaS solution and draft an agreement. In this stage, your sales teams are looking to connect more deeply with prospects and answer any questions they have, ASAP.

Both lead qualification and intent fall into the middle of the funnel, or MOFU.

Close (Won or Lost)

The last stage of the sales funnel is closing. Also known as BOFU or bottom of the funnel, closing isn’t always a win — your team could almost close the deal and find themselves frustrated at the last moment.

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It’s also worth noting that closing in SaaS sales isn’t an end state but rather the beginning of a relationship. Ideally, your sales team wants to negotiate an agreement that sees customers purchase initial services and come back for contract extensions time and time again.

Ready to start optimizing your SaaS sales funnel? Here are eight ways to improve.

1. Boost Awareness with TOFU

TOFU content is designed to promote awareness of what your product can do and encourage prospective buyers to get in touch. Consider the example below of Adobe’s Creative Cloud on Facebook. The company offers a slick video along with a link to on-demand video content that dives into the use of 3D art tools — which Adobe just happens to sell — and how they’re impacting automotive design.

Other TOFU approaches include how-to guides, tutorials, and multichannel social media campaigns.

2. Optimize Your Content

Content optimization takes place within 3 specific content generation tactics: utilizing a multi-channel messaging strategy, improving thought leadership positioning, and segmenting the content’s delivery.

The goal here is to connect with potential customers and give them a more in-depth look at what your brand does and what sets it apart from the competition.

3. Target the Most Valuable Leads

The first tier of funnel optimization suggests that marketers focus on targeting the most valuable leads by examining how customers sought the information to begin with. Value propositions that resonate with select groups will facilitate the differentiation of these targets. This can be the most effective when exemplified by website design, management, and optimization.

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4. Qualify Leads

On average, only 27% of B2B inquiries are qualified before they are given to the sales team. This is a problem since unqualified leads are far less likely to drive conversion. As a result, it’s worth taking the time to ensure leads have the intent and authority to make purchasing decisions.

5. Improve Lead Nurturing

Now the spotlight moves to lead nurturing. Here, the goal is to engage with potential customers and provide answers to whatever questions they may have. The better your nurturing efforts, the more likely you’ll be able to close the deal and drive SaaS revenue.

6. Make the Most of MOFU

Middle of the Funnel efforts focus on intent. This goes beyond lead nurturing to dive into the details of conversion. From a SaaS perspective, this means working with B2B leads to determine their specific needs and design offerings that best align with their budget and business goals.

The more specific your team can get in discovering key pain points and potential remedies, the better your MOFU efforts.

7. Close the Deal and Keep Them Coming Back

Now it’s time to close the deal. This means presenting leads with a finished contract and service-level agreement (SLA) along with negotiating the length of the contract term. Depending on your SaaS model, you may offer a free trial or the option to cancel without penalty for the first few months.

While the best bet here is a long-term (one year or more) contract, B2B leaders may be reluctant to sign on the line for that long. No matter what the term length turns out to be, however, the underlying rule remains the same: Focus on over-delivering to exceed expectations to ensure businesses keep coming back.

Worth noting? Even lost deals offer a valuable lesson. Rather than simply chalking the experience up to bad luck, it’s a good idea to hold a team debrief to discover where sales funnel processes worked as intended and where improvements could be made.

8. Measure Success

Once you have optimized to this point, on average, 20% of your leads will have converted into sales. This number is even more important when you realize only 32% of organizations have actually identified their marketing funnels.

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As a result, it’s critical to measure both current and historic success rates to see if you’re heading in the right direction. If not, it’s a good idea to assess your B2B SaaS sales funnel approach and make changes as needed.

Facilitating Funnel Functions

The concept behind the sales funnel is straightforward: Capture broad leads at the top and then refine these leads at each step to drive conversion.

In practice, however, funneling can be both time- and resource-intensive, especially for B2B SaaS connections. With an approach that targets valuable leads, highlights your ongoing value proposition, and quantifies success over time, your brand can boost funnel function and win more long-term deals.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2011 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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MARKETING

5 Elements of Content That Will Build Brand Recall

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5 Elements of Content That Will Build Brand Recall

Gone are the days of traditional sales and marketing strategies. In today’s media landscape, driving sales and engagement through content has proven to be a highly successful and cost-effective strategy

Hence, most modern businesses have a content marketing arm that achieves the following by simply creating and distributing content:

  • Address customers’ paint points and gain their trust
  • Improve product accessibility via SEO
  • Increase opportunities for conversion
  • Generate leads
  • Build brand awareness and recall

Unfortunately, competition to reach the right audience has increasingly intensified. And that’s just the beginning of it.

The end goal is to consistently make sales, attain a loyal customer base, and build brand recall. So, how exactly do you achieve that? What kind of content will eventually enable your audience to easily recognize your products and services?

We uncover the five major elements of content that will build brand recall.

#1: Accessibility

Before gunning for brand recall, ensure that your audience can easily find information about your products and services. It’s virtually impossible to be recognized if you aren’t even visible or searchable.

Thus, this is where strategies such as onsite/offsite search engine optimization (SEO), simplifying user experience, improving scalability, expanding channels, and developing customer feedback platforms come into play.

That said, SEO strategies are usually the content marketers’ main focus. Investing in content SEO not only improves your brand’s visibility, but it also drives more conversions to your website. You do so by identifying your customers’ top search terms, optimizing your website’s content, and addressing high volume search queries.

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#2: Relatability

You must identify and understand your target audience before creating any piece of content – whether onsite or offsite. This is when it’s time to utilize data you have on your customers, which can be accessible via tools such as Google Analytics or AHREFs. These tools should give you insights on common search queries, keywords, website traffic, conversion, engagement, and such.

Customer feedback and surveys are also essential in understanding what your customers need. Your content should be able to address their pain points while providing them with information and services on what they’re looking for.

Once your audience find themselves relating to your content, it won’t be long until they purchase your product.

#3: Engagement

Reaching your audience is one thing, but customer engagement is a whole different beast. It’s easy to lose your customers’ attention in a crowded and noisy online economy.

As mentioned, understanding your customers’ needs and pain points is vital to your content strategy. Your content must be something they find useful enough for them to engage with. In short, there must be something in it for them.

There are many ways to skin this cat. You could engage your audience via content onsite with a great customer experience channel before and after they purchase. Another opportunity for engagement is developing social media content that encourages them to participate in your marketing campaign.

In conclusion, your content must be customer-centric before anything else.

#4: Value & Relevance

So, you’ve identified your target audience and learned to understand them, but how exactly do you convince them to choose your product over others? How do you stand out amongst your competitors?

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It’s equally important to understand your own products and services. You must identify your main value proposition, and how this is relevant to your customers. Having a stellar product is a waste if your target market doesn’t know its full value.

Thus, content marketers should communicate a product’s relevance and unique selling point. It’s their job to inform the target audience on how they can benefit from the product.  

#5: Consistency

There’s no bigger obstacle to brand recall than inconsistency. This applies to all types of content – articles, infographics, video ads, images, and social media posts.

For customers to remember you, your message, design, and overall branding should always be uniform and consistent. A disconnect between these elements is confusing and thus makes it difficult for your audience to recognize your brand.

Therefore, a marketing team must streamline uniform messages, value propositions, templates, and editorial and design guidelines before reaching out to the desired audience. In the world of marketing, familiarity breeds brand recall.

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