Daniel Burstein

B2B Marketing Infographic: How are B2B marketers optimizing their funnel?

July 29th, 2011

My first experience with a lead funnel was the IBM Signature Selling Methodology. I was struck with what a simple illustration this was to such a complex challenge – how do you get companies to buy expensive stuff and people to bet their careers on it?

While IBM’s SSM is essentially a sales tool, B2B marketers face the same challenges, and, because of the maddening complexity inherent in that simple question, a well thought-out funnel can be a useful planning tool to making sure you align all the many facets of sales and marketing you have to get right to close business.

Of course, once you map out your funnel, you’re not done. Like a good diet and exercise plan, you have to continue to optimize your funnel. To help you do just that, the MarketingSherpa team has put together the below infographic and has taken a funnel optimization approach to the content at B2B Summit 2011 in Boston and San Francisco.

“The infographic was developed from the results of our upcoming 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Study,” according to Jen Doyle, Senior Research Manager, MECLABS. “This study focused on identifying the most effective strategies and tactics for attracting and converting the modern B2B buyer, and benchmarking B2B marketing performance. It represents the scope of our study, which dissected all stages of the funnel, from lead generation to sales conversion.”

b2b funnel optimization

Click to enlarge


Yet, to optimize a funnel, first you have to have a funnel. And what surprised me most in the infographic is that 68% of organizations have not identified their funnel. (The other thing that surprised me is that only 76% of B2B marketers do not use a marketing automation software solution. Looks like a lot of ripe opportunities to Marketo, Eloqua, Genius, Silverpop, Pardot, and all the other platforms out there).

“When I see statistics showing that the majority of B2B marketers have not started using marketing automation software, or defined their funnels, I take that as an opportunity,” Jen agreed. “There is no doubt that B2B marketing is immensely challenging right now, but for those who do break through boundaries and put in the work, there is great opportunity to become true contributors to success, recognized leaders in the industry, and champions over the competition.”

What data from the infographic surprised you the most? How are your efforts at optimizing your funnel progressing? Let us know in the comments section below.

Related Resources:

MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2011 – in San Francisco and Boston

B2B How-To: 5 lead nurturing tactics to get from lead gen to sales-qualified – Members library

Lead Generation: Testing form field length reduces cost-per-lead by $10.66

How to Build a Quality List and Make Data Drive Leads

Daniel Burstein

About Daniel Burstein

Daniel Burstein, Senior Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS. Daniel oversees all content and marketing coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands while helping to shape the editorial direction for MECLABS – digging for actionable information while serving as an advocate for the audience. Daniel is also a speaker and moderator at live events and on webinars. Previously, he was the main writer powering MarketingExperiments publishing engine – from Web clinics to Research Journals to the blog. Prior to joining the team, Daniel was Vice President of MindPulse Communications – a boutique communications consultancy specializing in IT clients such as IBM, VMware, and BEA Systems. Daniel has 18 years of experience in copywriting, editing, internal communications, sales enablement and field marketing communications.

Categories: B2B Marketing Tags: , ,

  1. July 29th, 2011 at 09:25 | #1

    Hi Daniel,

    What surprises me the most from the infogaphic is that online and social seem to be the only way to get new business.
    What happened to the traditional Direct Mail and Telemarketing?
    Ofcourse, a multi or crosschannel approach wil give you the best results, but I think that Telemarketing still has one of the best ROI’s in B2B.
    I’m from Europe, overhere unsolicited e-mail (spam) is forbidden by law, both B2B and B2C, as well as B2C Telemarketing, but B2B Telemarketing still is a growing business.

    Best regards,


  2. July 30th, 2011 at 12:43 | #2

    Daniel, I think your key statement is, “Yet, to optimize a funnel, first you have to have a funnel. And what surprised me most in the infographic is that 68% of organizations have not identified their funnel.” We use a template with our clients called “Do I Have Enough Leads Calculator” that provides marketing a framework for a “lead” funnel that sits above the traditional sales funnel. The stages are simplified into these four steps. As you’ll see, by the time a lead hits our stage 4 of the lead funnel they are crossing into the sales funnel to be managed from there by the sales rep. (Assumes MA is in place to track, drip, score, etc.)

    1. Active Lead Database
    2. Leads engaging with site and content
    3. Dialogue Occurs – Sales Ready Lead Qualified
    4. Opportunity ID’d – Sales Opportunity Qualified

    What we try to promote with this template is that marketing needs to know how many leads must be in their targeted universe to have the chance for enough of them to qualify into the sales process. That at least gives sales the chance to make their number. Here’s the link for anyone wants to download it: http://bit.ly/aHH016

    Thanks again for the post. All the best, Matt Smith, 3FORWARD

  3. August 1st, 2011 at 17:55 | #3

    Interesting post. Your ‘click to enlarge’ link doesn’t seem to work though – get a broken image icon when the lightbox appears.

  4. August 1st, 2011 at 20:42 | #4

    “There is no doubt that B2B marketing is immensely challenging right now, but for those who do break through boundaries and put in the work, there is great opportunity to become true contributors to success, recognized leaders in the industry, and champions over the competition.” – You are right. The only difference between ordinary and extra-ordinary is that extra mile and effort taken.

  5. Paul Cheney
    Paul Cheney
    August 2nd, 2011 at 09:12 | #5

    Thanks for letting us know Stewart. We’re on it!

  6. August 3rd, 2011 at 04:13 | #6

    Great infographic. Thanks for sharing!

  7. August 3rd, 2011 at 10:20 | #7

    Thanks for your comments. Dave Green would agree with you about the value and ROI of teleprospecting — B2B Lead Generation: 4 ways to use teleprospecting in your next pilot (and 2 ways to measure it)

  8. August 9th, 2011 at 10:02 | #8

    Good infrographic Daniel. Couple of questions on the stats.
    3. Avg % of B2B inquiries that are qualified and ready for sales – 27%
    5. Avg % of B2B leads that will buy – 20%

    I have seen and used these stats quite a bit the last 4-5 years, but the stats I have seen on MS and elsewhere have varied substantially.

    For the first stat on sales readiness for initial inquiries, I have seen and used a 5-10% number. So your 27% stat seems quite high. Could you provide some more insight into how you arrived at this number and who were the B2B companies that were polled for this survey?

    Of the remaining inquiries, I have seen and used a 65-75% that are considered to be latent demand. Of these, upwards of 75% will buy from someone in the next 18-24 months.

    Any additional insights or other research you can point me to would be much appreciated.

    Henry Bruce

  9. August 10th, 2011 at 08:37 | #9

    @Henry Bruce

    Hi Henry, I’m glad you enjoyed the infographic and I’m happy to address your questions. All of the data presented in the infographic was collected via our recent study, MaretingSherpa’s 2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Survey, one of the most extensive studies in the industry. We had 1,745 B2B marketers participate in the survey and we asked these participants to indicate their organization’s approximate percentage for total lead volume that is sales-ready and their closing percentage for all leads, along with other critical KPIs.

    As I’m sure you understand, these figures can vary depending on industry sector and organization size. This is why we have included these benchmarks in our upcoming 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report broken out by industry sector and organization size. The data included in the infographic represents the average of all respondents.

    Regarding your comments – 75% will buy from someone. We were not asking survey participants the percentage of leads that bought from someone, we asked for their closing percentage. Additionally, I suspect that the samples from the other studies you referenced have higher lead qualification criteria than the sample represented in our infographic, as only 1/3 of our sample indicated they had formal lead qualification processes in place.

    Detailed demographic information on survey participants will be available in the upcoming 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report.

    Thanks again for your question and good luck with your research!

  10. January 18th, 2012 at 19:51 | #10

    Yes, I agree with Daniel that telemarketing is still the best B2B service. 🙂 But infographic is fine.

  11. May 18th, 2015 at 04:44 | #11

    Great infographic content for marketing and getting leads. Thanks for sharing this information.

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