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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.

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.

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.

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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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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