b2b marketing funnel

A Strategic Approach to Optimizing A B2B Marketing Funnel

By: Frank DePino | January 31, 2022

In this extensive guide, we’ll provide all the information you need about marketing funnel stages, including tips and more information for each one. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be ready to implement your own B2B, business to business, marketing funnel.

What Is a B2B Marketing Funnel? 

Before we get into the stages of a marketing funnel, let’s be clear on what the marketing funnel itself is.

A marketing funnel is a visual funnel that includes the steps commonly taken by your B2B audience on the journey from a lead to a customer. By presenting those steps in a visual format, the process is documented so that other key decision-makers in your company can implement it consistently.

In some instances, prospective customers might not always follow the exact stages as detailed in your marketing funnel, but for the most part, they will. 

The Mediaboom infographic shows how a b2b marketing funnel is structured

Overview of the B2B Marketing Funnel Stages

To truly help you understand how a marketing funnel works, we want to take this section to intricately break down every one of the six stages. This section, when combined with the next sections full of marketing funnel tips, will help your business assemble a comprehensive marketing funnel plan. 


The broadest section is strategy. At this stage, you’re understanding your company’s own goals so you can better plan for ways to build brand awareness and later, to drive interest in your products and services. 

Here are some tactics that would fall under the strategy part of your marketing funnel. 

1. Target Audience

Your target audience is those who will ideally purchase your B2B company’s products or services. In your industry, you’re targeting other businesses rather than the everyday consumer. 

For example, if you make car parts, then your target audience would include car manufacturers who can use the parts you produce. 

If your company has yet to identify your target audience, that’s the first order of business. Your target audience should be segmented, which means you divide them into groups based on behavioral traits or psychographics as well as geographics and demographics. 

Then you may opt to create customer personas or avatars that encompass the most popular traits you discovered about your audience. Five customer avatars are easier to focus on than 20,000 unique customers.

The b2b business owner is setting all KPIs to monitor

2. Goals/KPIs

Once you’ve defined your target audience, your B2B company must next identify the goals that will drive your business forward for the next quarter, the next year, and even the next several years. 

What those goals look like will vary from company to company. Many industries want to grow brand awareness, sales, and customers, but your needs might vary outside of those goals. 

What KPIs must your B2B company achieve to meet the desired goals? If your company has yet to produce a business plan, now is a good time to sit down and write one. 

When determining your goals, ensure they’re attainable. For instance, if your’s is a new B2B business and you want 50,000 customers by the end of Year One, that goal is probably a bit too lofty. Instead, you might want to halve that number so it’s more realistic. 

3. Marketing Channels

The next facet of the strategy stage of your B2B marketing funnel is which marketing channels your company will implement. This will depend very much on what your marketing budget is, and that budget is informed by your incoming capital.

The Business Development Bank of Canada or BDC recommends that a small business set aside two to five percent of its revenue for marketing. As your B2B business grows and increases the revenue it accrues, you can raise your marketing budget to as much as 25 percent of your company revenue.

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With the strategizing out of the way, it’s time to enter the awareness stage of the B2B marketing funnel. This is the part of the funnel where you want to build up brand awareness among your customers and leads. Here’s how we recommend you do that. 

1. SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is always a wise strategy to slot into your B2B growth plan. SEO determines where your website ranks on search engines such as Google when a user types in a search query.

Every business wants its site to rank number one. At the very least, they want to be on the first page, as that will ensure greater visibility. Yet there’s only one top slot and so many openings on the front page, so it takes understanding SEO to snatch that spot.

While the Google algorithm is forever changing, you can use some tried and true SEO strategies to put your company on the map. Long-form blog content is popular (at least at current), mobile optimization is a must, and video content has become important in a good SEO strategy as well. 

2. Organic Social Media

Organic social media can also increase your brand awareness. What is organic social media? It’s posting on popular social media channels without using any form of paid promotion. In other words, you post content, share posts you find valuable, and respond to comments to grow your social media following. 

3. Paid Digital Ads

Digital advertising is one of your best solutions for growing brand awareness.

The marketing budget you already established is where the funding for your paid digital ads will come from. If yours is a new B2B business, then your ad spend will be a lot lower than an SMB or larger business such as a Fortune 500. This will limit your reach, at least initially. 

The marketing specialist is working on the third step of the funnel: The interest


The third stage of the B2B marketing funnel is interest. This part of the funnel is narrower still, especially compared to the Strategy stage. 

As the name implies, in the Interest stage of your marketing funnel, you’re creating interest among your B2B audience in your products and/or services. 

You have nearly countless ways to go about driving interest, but here are a few especially successful strategies to consider. 

1. Landing Pages

Landing pages are as integral to a marketing campaign as ever. Software review resource Findstack states that, as of the early 2020s, the average landing page conversion rate is a comfortable 9.7 percent.

That conversion rate can sometimes be higher, up to 11.45 percent, but this varies based on your landing page and industry. 

A/B testing different versions of your landing page will help you determine which version will perform the best. Test even the smallest elements, such as images, font, and CTA button colors to build a strong landing page. 

2. Newsletter Signups

Next, you want to increase the number of newsletter signups to build a bigger audience list. Your efforts can begin as soon as a lead lands on your homepage or landing page if the page has an opt-in form.

Lead magnets are another great way to increase email list signups. Remember though that you must give your readers something truly valuable in exchange for their contact information. Perhaps it’s a checklist, a collection of blog posts, several chapters from an eBook, a list of best practices, or a transcript.  

You can even make generating email signups fun through a contest or giveaway!

Once you have a healthy email list, you must engage with your audience frequently through email content such as newsletters. Every month or so, be sure to prune the list, removing dead email addresses.

3. Exit Intent

Of course, not every user who visits your website will be willing to share their contact information. Some might find that your products or services are not for them, or perhaps your costs are too far outside of their price range.

Others might intend to come back to your site later, although whether they will is anyone’s guess. 

Exit-intent pop-ups are a last-ditch effort to capture the contact information of the user before they leave your site (probably for good). 

B2B Marketing Funnel - Intent


Speaking of intent, that’s the next part of your B2B marketing funnel. The intent phase is smaller still than the Interest phase but very important in locking down more customers. Let’s take a closer look at what this part of the marketing funnel entails. 

1. Email Campaign

Now that you have the email addresses of many prospective customers, it’s time to create an email campaign. As we touched on before, leads and customers expect frequent messages from your company, but not too often or too seldom. 

  • Drip Campaigns: One such email campaign option is the ever-popular drip campaign. A drip campaign is a partially automated email campaign. You produce the content that goes into the emails, then they’re sent out in a selective number using preset timing. Drip campaigns are responsive to the actions your customers take so they have a personalized aspect to them. Customers and leads alike will feel like the emails you send are tailored to them despite that the messages are largely automated. 
  • Nurture Campaigns: The second type of email campaign you might consider for your B2B marketing funnel is a nurture campaign. These email campaigns are also dependent on a lead or customer’s actions. 
    All along, you’re trying to inform your audience of your products and services and answer questions they have. The goal is to build a professional relationship with the lead or customer and inspire them to eventually make a purchasing decision. 

2. Customer Reviews 

It doesn’t matter the type of business; customer reviews are everything. Your prospective customers will read reviews on your B2B business and then decide from there whether they’ll do business with your company or the competition. 

We wrote a great post on med spa reviews with tips for accruing more reviews that apply to any industry, including B2B businesses. You should certainly give it a read. 

3. Case Studies

Unless your B2B company is brand new, then you’ve likely had a few business victories under your belt. Recount them to the best of your ability in a case study. You want to detail information like who you worked with, what their challenges were, how you stepped in and improved matters, and what the outcomes were.

Present numbers and figures wherever you can to add veracity to your case study. 

The customer care employee is calling potential customers interested in his b2b company

4. Phone Calls 

Cold calling is a businessperson’s worst nightmare, yet sometimes it’s a requirement as you strive to increase your customer base. Warm calling, where you start with some prior contact (such as through email), often leads to higher receptivity rates and is easier for a business person to do. 

5. Online Chat

A chat widget on your website could be a great way to prioritize user intent. The chat can be manned by members of your B2B company or a chatbot

Leads and customers can ask questions through the chat that might inspire their purchasing decision or at least their next steps. 

Although a chatbot might not always be able to answer questions to the same extent that a live human representative could, the bot can at least put the customer through to someone who can help them. 

6. Social Media Messenger

Every social media platform has its own form of instant messaging or direct messaging (DM). If you’re not already using them, it’s high time you start. 

According to social media marketing resource Statusbrew, in 2021, 150 million people per month sent Instagram DMs to businesses. For many, it’s a lot more comfortable to send a message than it is to pick up the phone or send an email and wait and wait for a response.

Your B2B company should check its social media messages frequently and respond to as many as you can. You don’t have to answer DMs immediately, especially if you get many of them, but a timely response is key. 


Next, your B2B customers are moving to the action stage of your marketing funnel, which is among the narrowest area. By this stage, they’ve become aware of your B2B company, you’ve hopefully driven their interest, and you’ve gleaned their intent. 

1. Purchase/Desired Action

Now it’s time for your B2B customers to do something. The desired action is usually making a purchase, but not exclusively. Perhaps it’s subscribing to a service or signing up for an upcoming webinar.

Whatever the desired action, your B2B audience should do it when they reach this part of the funnel. 

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The final and narrowest part of the B2B marketing funnel is the loyalty stage. This comes after the lead or customer makes their purchasing decision/the desired action. It’s your job to inspire them to repeat that action in the future. 

1. Strategies for Retaining Customers

What is your company’s strategy for retaining customers? Back when you put together your business plan, this is something you should have addressed. 

Customer retention methods can run the gamut, including customer loyalty programs, responding to and implementing customer feedback, personalizing communications, and addressing problems or concerns as soon as they arise. 

2. Customer Support

The latter is really a job for customer support. Call center resource Fonolo states that 64 percent of consumers prioritize customer service even more than they do the price of products or services. 

That’s right, a customer could decide to purchase from your B2B company (or not to) based more on your customer service than even your pricing. That’s huge!

If you don’t already have chatbots and a dedicated phone line for customer queries, now is as good a time as ever to add these things. You need a customer support staff who makes your audience feel understood and taken care of. 

3. Tracking Analytics and Reports for Improving Strategy Throughout Funnel

Once you implement your B2B marketing funnel, that doesn’t mean the strategies you use are set in stone forever. You will change your approach over time, either due to shifting audience needs, breaking into a different audience sector, or as your company expands its breadth of products and services. 

All along, reports and analytics will tell you how you can continue evolving your marketing funnel to best serve your leads and customers

The marketing specialist is working on tactical TOFU

Top of Funnel (TOFU) Tactics

This section and the next two will be chock full of marketing funnel tactics your company can use to achieve more of your business goals moving forward. Let’s start by talking about top-of-the-funnel or TOFU tactics.

  • Infographics: Building brand awareness is a critical goal at the top of the funnel. Infographics pack information and data into an appealing package, making them very shareable. If your infographic spreads across the Internet, your name does as well.  
  • Videos: Video remains one of your best tactics to reach new audiences, as we touched on earlier. According to media resource The Drum, the most popular styles of video marketing are short-form videos, user-generated content, sequential storytelling, and interactive stories. 
  • Webinars: Webinars can increase your brand awareness and pad your B2B company’s bottom line quite nicely. You can charge for entry into the webinar as well as replays. You can also produce a transcript of the webinar for those who missed it and sell that.
  • Blog posts: Blogging is about more than filling a portion of your website. In doing keyword research and producing thought-provoking, educational, informative content, then sharing that content through social media and elsewhere, you could boost your traffic and your social media follows. 

Middle of Funnel (MOFU) Tactics

By the middle of your funnel, you’ve generated leads and gotten to know their intent. These MOFU tactics are applicable while leads and customers are in this stage.

  • White papers: A white paper on your B2B company’s products and services is much more valuable as a MOFU tactic than it is a TOFU tactic. You know your audience is more engaged and curious about your products and services at this point.
  • Case studies: Now is also a time when your leads and customers will want to review case studies. Informative, well-written case studies make it easy for your customers to put themselves in the shoes of the company you worked with.  

Bottom of Funnel (BOFU) Tactics

By the time your leads and customers are at the bottom of your B2B marketing funnel, you have essentially one goal: motivate them to act. These BOFU tactics will do just that.

  • Nurturing and engaging: Whether through emails with personalized product and service recommendations or even tailored newsletter content, now is the time to use email campaigns to further your business relationship with the lead or customer.
  • Reviews and testimonials: What is it about your products and services that your audience loves? Reviews and testimonials, as discussed before, can make or break a lead in your sales funnel, so they’re highly important in the BOFU stage.
  • Live demonstrations: Live demonstrations of your B2B products or services can be highly beneficial this far into the marketing funnel.  
The marketer is explaining Differences Between B2B and B2C Marketing Funnels

The Differences Between B2B and B2C Marketing Funnels

To wrap up, let’s briefly discuss how B2B and B2C marketing funnels vary, as there are some distinct differences between the two. 

Target Audience 

First is the difference between the target audience. A B2C marketing funnel targets individual shoppers whereas a B2B funnel focuses more on a group of prospective business customers. 

Funnel Stages

Comparing B2B and B2C marketing funnels, the latter is decidedly much briefer. The stages are as follows: awareness, interest, desire, action. That’s four stages versus the six stages that most B2B funnels have!  

Sales Cycle Length

B2C sales can happen incredibly quickly, sometimes in a matter of minutes due to the convenience of online shopping. A B2B funnel, on average, is about four months, according to metrics resource Klipfolio

Product/Service Cost

Due to the rather specialty nature of many B2B businesses, the products and services offered by these companies tend to cost quite a deal more compared to B2C industries. That said, the price discrepancy does vary based on what products and services a B2C company specialize in. 

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The B2B marketing funnel is a six-stage, multi-month funnel that converts leads into buying customers and retains customer loyalty to earn their repeat business.

Mediaboom is a digital marketing agency that can assist your B2B business in identifying the stages of a marketing funnel and implementing them to optimize your leads and increase your sales.  

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.


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