September 10, 2020


Deals are not closed overnight, it is a journey of a thousand miles.

Sales professionals take one step at a time to close deals.

Wondering what those steps are?

Unless you were living in a cave for years, you would have heard the metaphor “B2B Sales Funnel”.

“In Sales: A funnel works best when it’s full and consistently being filled; hence, the more a funnel is funneling, the more fun is to funnel! – Paulette Smith “

Measuring B2B Sales Funnel can be a great way to convert your prospects to customers and to retain your existing customers. Now it’s easier than ever to build and measure a B2B Sales Funnel using cloud CRM Salesforce.


In this article, we will cover:

  • What is a B2B Sales Funnel ?
  • Importance of B2B Sales Funnel
  • B2B Sales Funnel Stages
  • B2B Sales Funnel Examples
  • How to Build B2B Sales Funnel?
  • Why Should You Use Salesforce for building B2B Sales Funnel ?
  • How is the Sales Funnel Changing?

What is a B2B Sales Funnel?

B2B Sales funnel is a visual representation of an ideal B2B customer journey from first action till purchase.

The first action can be anything – a web-visit, social media post view, etc – it is either initiated by the prospect or by the sales/marketing team.

While taking first action, the prospects are at the top of the Funnel. The goal is to bring to them to the bottom of the funnel i.e., to make them your customer.

The sad part is that prospects don’t always flow gravitationally towards the bottom, they can either go up the funnel stages or even exit the funnel altogether.

Therefore B2B companies should be using Sales Funnel to track their prospects and more importantly to understand where they are losing their prospects.

Importance of B2B Sales Funnel

B2B Sales Funnels are important to Sales, Marketing teams and CXOs for many reasons.

Here’s a simple list of B2B Sales Funnel Benefits for you,

  1. Sales Funnel will help Sales and Marketing teams to work together – i.e., to promote and sell the products in a consistent manner
  2. It will help you to build relationships and trust with your prospect
  3. It will help you to increase Customer conversion and retention rates
  4. It will help B2B companies like yours to understand progress at every stage, your strengths and improvement areas
  5. It will help you in meeting your sales targets

Are you convinced (Yet) that B2B sales Funnel can be an important Tool for your business ?

If not, look at this Stat

“Companies that create an easy buying process are 62% more likely to win a high-quality sale.

To convert your prospects to customers; you need to have a thorough understanding of your customer’s buying process and then help them travel down the funnel.

B2B Sales Funnel Stages

A traditional B2B Funnel has four stages. AIDA is the commonly used Acronym for these funnel stages.

Awareness – This is the stage where a prospect gets to know your company exists and understand what product/service you offer.

Interest – It’s when your prospect does research about your brand and products. They also tend to  evaluate competitor products here.

Decision – Okay, so far, so good! Now customers make a decision whether or not to buy a product and from which vendor they want to buy the product.

Action – Customer purchases the product

Sales funnel
Sales funnel

Sounds Simple ?

It’s not that straightforward in 2020, the sales funnel has changed drastically over years.

It has become complex and micro-focussed. This is due to the increasingly competitive B2B landscape, availability of endless digital channels and well-informed B2B Customers.

B2B Sales Funnel can include Stages like Lead Generation, Initial Meeting, Demo, Request for Quote, Proposal, Sales Quote, Negotiation and Sale. It changes from company to company, it all depends on your niche, target audience and sales processes.

Stages in B2B Sales Funnel is different to B2C, as there may not be formal phone calls, demos, etc in B2C Sales, unless there is a very expensive purchase.

B2B Sales Funnel Examples

B2B sales Funnel can be used as a tool to offer the best Customer Experience. At every stage, the Sales and Marketing team have responsibilities marked out.

Below are examples of Frequently used Sales & Marketing activities,

Awareness (Top of Funnel/TOFU) – First action can be initiated by the customer (Inbound) or Marketing team (Outbound).

Interest & Decision (Middle of Funnel/MOFU) – Once a list of prospects/leads are generated by the Marketing team, it’s typically qualified and handed over to the Sales team. The sales team should have an air-tight process to warm up them, follow regularly and convert to customers.

Action (Bottom of Funnel/BOFU) – At bottom of the funnel, the Sales team go ahead and close the deal. Post this Customer Retention, Loyalty comes into the picture – you could offer a Referral program, discounts for returning customers.

How to Build a Sales Funnel (Using Salesforce)?

CRM is the core for building and measuring a B2B Sales Funnel. As there are multiple touchpoints in today’s long and complex B2B Sales cycle, there should be a single system which tracks all the important metrics. CRM goes above and beyond and offers reports, dashboards to the Sales and Marketing team.

Question is how to build a Sales Funnel using CRM which covers all touchpoints ?

Let’s dive in.

Step 0 – Contact Management :

Get a bird’s eye view of Customer (Business) including contacts in the business, communication history, internal notes, social media history, etc. You could generate leads from a website by setting Web to Lead process, inside Salesforce.

78% of business buyers in the UK seek salespeople who act as trusted advisors”

The above Stat affirms the importance of building trust with customers. To build trust, salespeople need to be well-informed about customers and this is where CRM comes in handy. You could also use the Salesforce Mobile app on the go to check Businesses Contact details.    

Step 1 – Lead Generation :

A marketing campaign needs to set up and run on different platforms to generate leads. Salesforce Marketing Cloud and B2B Marketing Automation tool Pardot can help you get more B2B leads.

Inside Sales Rep can track, manage leads in CRM using Lead Queue in Inside Sales Console .

B2B Sales console

You can capture leads and activity information, allocate them to the right Sales personnel. You could also score leads, nurture them when they are not sales ready. Salesforce takes boring, repetitive tasks out of the picture and helps in Sales, Marketing team alignment.

Read more about why Field and Inside sales reps need a CRM.

Step 2 – Opportunity Management :

Once the leads are sales qualified/warmed up, they are treated as opportunities. Every company will have a different lead to opportunity qualification criteria.  

You could easily manage opportunities using Salesforce, focus on important activities like presentation, demos, etc. You could also collaborate with fellow Sales reps, marketing or management team by using Social feed inside Salesforce.

Step 3 – Quote to Cash

65% of the Sales Leaders say their Salespeople spend too much time on non-selling activities like paperwork and less time on Sales activities”

Shocking? Salesforce will let you focus on Sales Activities rather.

You can create a Sales quote PDF with automatically filled customer data by just entering product details, quoted price. Templates can be pre-approved and thereby quotes can be sent to customers in one or two clicks.You can also create invoices, proposals and contracts from templates within Salesforce.  

You could use Salesforce CPQ within Sales cloud to accurately price and quote multiple products.  


Step 4 – Measure Sales Funnel using Reports, Dashboards

Salesforce has dynamic dashboards which offer a real-time and personalized view of Sales data. Sales managers can track team’s performance data and also create Sales forecasting reports.

You can take Data-driven decisions from now on with Salesforce in place. Some Key Performance Indicators to track while building B2B Sales Funnel are

  • Number of Leads by Source
  • Lead to Opportunity Conversion Rate
  • Individual SalesRep Quota
  • Percentage of closed won deals
  • Overall Sales Conversion Rate
  • Cost per Acquisition

Why Should You Use Salesforce for building B2B Sales Funnel ?

B2B Sales Funnels are creating with only one goal in mind – to increase Conversions. Sales pipelines are confused with this frequently, the pipeline’s goal is to increase Leads only.

CRM systems like Salesforce can help you close deals faster.

Here’s a Summary

  • Provide unified view of Leads, Opportunities and customers
  • Take informed decisions and no guesswork
  • Collaborate and align within multiple teams inside your company
  • Less admin and paperwork
  • Accurate reports and dashboards
  • Appropriate sales processes, approvals are in place

Read more about how a CRM can improve B2B customer experience.

How is B2B Sales Funnel Changing (In 2020 and Beyond) ?

B2B Sales Funnel is changing at a rapid pace. Here a few key points to have an eye on.

1. Speed and Persistence matters a lot when it comes to convincing the prospects these days. Multiple touchpoints i.e., reaching via various digital channels have become the need of the hour.

“Salespeople are 21x more likely to qualify a prospect – which is the first key to closing any sale – if they respond to an inquiry within five minutes”
“High growth organizations report an average of 16 touch points per prospect, within a 2-4 week span”

2. Timing matters more than ever. Most deals are closed when the Sales Reps contact prospects at the right time and right place.

“The best time to call your prospects is within an hour of the lead showing interest in your product.”

3. Closing deals is getting harder, thanks to Social media which helps now in closing deals. Social Selling is trending like never before.

“54% of salespeople track closed deals to engagement on social media

4. Salesforce State of Sales report reveals the following factors have a direct impact on the conversion process. It could be used while creating B2B Lead Conversion Strategy.


Data-driven tools are inevitable when it comes to converting leads to customers.

Success is the sum of small measures taken at every Sales Funnel Stage. If closing deals is your top priority – start using Salesforce today, talk to our Salesforce Experts.

About the author

Priya Ravichandran
Priya Ravichandran

Senior Consultant | Geeky Digital Marketer | Guest Content Writer

Priya Ravichandran is a consultant by day, content creator by night. Priya enjoys writing well-researched and easy-to-read business content. When she isn't typing or writing, she can be found backpacking or dancing.

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