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How to Boost Your Inbound Funnel for B2B Tech Buyers

There has been a significant shift in how B2B tech buyers approach purchasing in recent years. Increasingly, buyers opt to conduct independent research rather than relying on sales representatives to guide them through the decision-making journey. This trend is particularly pronounced among millennials, who now constitute the largest B2B buying group.
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Empower B2B Tech Buyers with a Self-Service Inbound Funnel

The Rise of the Self-Directed B2B Buyer

There has been a significant shift in how B2B tech buyers approach purchasing in recent years. Increasingly, buyers opt to conduct independent research rather than relying on sales representatives to guide them through the decision-making journey. This trend is particularly pronounced among millennials, who now constitute the largest B2B buying group.

A staggering 75% of B2B buyers have expressed a desire for a “rep-free” sales experience by 2025. This preference for self-service is driven by the desire for greater control over the buying process and the ability to gather information at their own pace. Millennials, in particular, have grown accustomed to the convenience and flexibility of self-service options in their personal lives. They now expect the same level of autonomy in their professional purchasing decisions.

As B2B sellers adapt to this new reality, they must prioritize developing comprehensive digital resources that enable buyers to access the information they need to make informed decisions quickly. By empowering buyers to self-educate and navigate the purchasing process independently, B2B companies can align themselves with the evolving preferences of their target audience and foster a more customer-centric approach to sales.

Why Enabling Self-Service is Critical for B2B Tech

B2B tech buyers increasingly expect consumer-like experiences and on-demand access to information. They want the flexibility to research, evaluate, and purchase products at their own pace without relying on sales representatives at every step. Enabling self-service options has become a critical strategy for B2B tech companies looking to meet these evolving buyer expectations.

Self-service capabilities not only empower buyers but also deliver tangible benefits for businesses. Studies show that self-service can significantly boost conversion rates and customer satisfaction. Companies can streamline the purchasing process and reduce friction by providing buyers with the tools and information they need to make informed decisions independently. Companies can simplify the purchasing process and reduce friction. Moreover, self-service aligns with buyers’ desire for more control over the buying journey.

Implementing self-service features such as comprehensive product information, pricing transparency, and easy access to demos and trials allows B2B tech companies to cater to modern buyers’ preferences. By investing in self-service capabilities, businesses can differentiate themselves in a competitive market, build trust with buyers, and ultimately drive growth. Embracing self-service is no longer optional for B2B tech; it has become a critical strategy for success in the digital age.

How to Boost Your Inbound Funnel for B2B Tech Buyers

Mapping Content to the Self-Directed Buyer's Journey

As stated, B2B buyers are increasingly self-directed, preferring to research and evaluate solutions independently before engaging with sales representatives. To effectively guide these buyers through their journey, it’s crucial to map your content strategy to the different funnel stages, providing the correct information at the right time.

Top of Funnel (TOFU) Content

At the top of the funnel, buyers are just beginning to recognize a problem or opportunity and seek educational content to understand their challenges better. It is the perfect opportunity to attract potential customers with informative blog posts, comprehensive guides, and insightful industry reports.

The key here is to focus on the buyers’ pain points and challenges rather than promoting your product. By addressing their concerns and providing valuable information, you establish your brand as a trusted resource and thought leader in your industry.

To maximize the reach of your TOFU content, invest in search engine optimization (SEO) to attract in-market buyers who are actively researching solutions. By targeting relevant keywords and optimizing your content for search engines, you can improve your visibility and draw more qualified leads into your funnel.

Middle of Funnel (MOFU) Content

As buyers progress to the middle of the funnel, they better understand their problem and evaluate potential solutions. At this stage, comparison guides, case studies, and webinars are powerful tools to help buyers assess their options and understand how your offering stands out from competitors.

Comparison guides provide an objective analysis of different solutions in the market, highlighting your product’s unique features and benefits. Case studies showcase real-world examples of how your solution has helped similar businesses overcome challenges and achieve their goals, building trust and credibility with potential buyers.

Webinars offer an interactive platform to educate buyers about your solution, demonstrate its capabilities, and address any questions or concerns they may have. Providing ungated access to this valuable content enables buyers to self-educate and move closer to a purchase decision without feeling pressured.

Bottom of Funnel (BOFU) Content

At the bottom of the funnel, buyers are ready to decide and are looking for hands-on experience with your product. Offering product demos, free trials, and ROI calculators allows buyers to explore your solution on their terms and validate its value for their needs.

Product demos provide a guided tour of your offering, showcasing its key features and benefits in action. Free trials allow buyers to test-drive your solution in their environment, helping them build confidence in its capabilities and fit for their organization.

ROI calculators are powerful tools that help buyers quantify the potential return on investment from implementing your solution. By inputting their specific data and metrics, buyers can see a clear picture of the financial impact your product can have on their business.

As buyers reach the end of their journey, they must provide clear next steps for purchasing. It could include a prominent call-to-action (CTA) to request a quote, schedule a consultation, or complete an order form. You can convert more buyers into customers by streamlining the purchase process and removing any barriers.

By mapping your content strategy to the self-directed buyer’s journey and providing valuable, relevant information at each stage, you can effectively guide potential customers from awareness to decision-making. This approach supports the modern B2B buyer’s preferences for independent research and positions your brand as a trusted partner in their success.

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5 Steps to Optimize Your Funnel for Self-Service Buying

B2B buyers increasingly prefer to research and purchase products independently, without relying on sales representatives at every step. To cater to this self-service buying trend, optimizing your sales funnel and providing buyers with the resources they need to make informed decisions is crucial. Here are five steps to streamline your funnel for self-service buying.

Step 1. Make Key Product & Pricing Info Easily Accessible

Start by publishing detailed product specifications, features, and pricing on your website to enable self-service buying. This transparency lets buyers quickly assess whether your solution meets their needs and budget without contacting sales.

Organize your content by industry, role, and business size to make it easy for buyers to find relevant information. This targeted approach helps buyers quickly identify solutions tailored to their specific requirements. Additionally, it provides self-service tools like ROI and TCO calculators. These interactive resources allow buyers to input their data and see the potential financial impact of your solution, building confidence in their purchase decisions.

Step 2. Offer Helpful, Ungated Content for Each Buying Stage

Create SEO-optimized top-of-funnel (TOFU) content, such as blogs and guides that address common industry challenges and trends. This educational content attracts potential buyers in the early stages of their research and establishes your brand as a thought leader.

For middle-of-funnel (MOFU) buyers evaluating different solutions, develop comparison guides and case studies. These resources help buyers understand your unique value proposition and see how your product has successfully solved similar challenges for other companies.

At the bottom of the funnel (BOFU), provide resources like on-demand demos and trial signups. These allow buyers to experience your product firsthand and validate its fit for their needs without requiring a sales conversation.

Step 3. Use Marketing Automation to Deliver Content

Segment your database by buyer persona and journey stage to ensure you deliver the most relevant content to each individual. This targeted approach increases engagement and helps buyers progress through the funnel more efficiently.

Set up automated email campaigns that trigger based on a buyer’s content engagement and intent signals. For example, if a buyer downloads a MOFU comparison guide, follow up with a personalized email offering a relevant case study or trial signup.

Progressively profile leads as they engage with your content and sign up for trials. It allows you to gather valuable insights about their interests and needs, enabling more targeted nurturing and sales outreach.

Step 4. Streamline the Purchase Process with E-Commerce Functionality

Whenever possible, allow buyers to complete transactions directly on your website. This self-service e-commerce functionality eliminates friction in the buying process and caters to buyers ready to purchase without sales involvement.

Provide transparent pricing and “add to cart” options to make it easy for buyers to understand costs and move forward with a purchase: display pricing tiers, discounts, and any additional fees to build trust and avoid surprises.

Integrate your e-commerce system with your CRM to seamlessly pass sales-ready leads to your sales team. It ensures that buyers who need additional support can quickly connect with a representative, while those who prefer self-service can complete their purchase independently.

Step 5. Enable Sales to Collaborate with Proactive Buyers

For buyers proactively seeking more information, equip your sales team with persona-specific content and talk tracks. It ensures reps are prepared to have relevant, value-driven conversations addressing each buyer’s unique needs and challenges.

Set up automated lead routing to quickly direct handraisers from content downloads and trial signups to the appropriate sales representative. This timely follow-up capitalizes on the buyer’s interest and keeps momentum.

Arm your sales team with insights on the content each buyer has viewed and engaged with. This visibility allows reps to tailor their outreach and have more personalized, contextual conversations that move buyers closer to a purchase.

By implementing these five steps, you can optimize your sales funnel for self-service buying and provide buyers with the resources and autonomy they crave. This approach caters to modern B2B buying preferences and streamlines the purchase process, freeing up your sales team to focus on high-touch opportunities and driving revenue growth.

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Empower Buyers and Boost Conversions with Self-Service

In today’s rapidly evolving B2B landscape, empowering buyers with self-service options is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity. By providing a wealth of on-demand content, transparent pricing, and seamless e-commerce functionality, B2B tech marketers can enable buyers to self-educate and make purchases at their own pace. This approach caters to modern, digitally savvy buyers’ preferences, streamlines the sales process, and improves conversion rates.

However, it’s crucial to recognize that self-service is not a one-size-fits-all solution. To create an effective inbound funnel, B2B marketers must supplement their self-service offerings with targeted, rep-assisted engagement for proactive buyers. This hybrid approach ensures that buyers receive the support they need when needed while still maintaining the autonomy and control they crave.

To optimize your self-service strategy, start by auditing your current content and identifying gaps in your buyer’s journey. Koonden can help you with our QuickScan Audit. Prioritize creating ungated, stage-specific content and tools that address your target personas’ pain points and support their independent research and decision-making processes. By investing in a robust self-service experience, you’ll not only empower your buyers but also position your organization for long-term success in the digital age. Contact us today if you want to learn more.

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