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4 tips for building a B2B sales funnel with email marketing 

08.03.2024

There are many ways to engage B2B leads, but email remains a powerhouse. Here’s why, plus our tips for using it to build a B2B sales funnel that takes potential customers in the right direction.

Why use email marketing to build a B2B sales funnel?  

When it comes to nurturing B2B buyers from awareness to decision, email marketing won’t be your only tool. Nevertheless, it remains an important one.  

1. Email marketing allows you to use your first-party data 

You own the data that you collect via email marketing, so you can see what’s working, who’s opening your emails, if and what they’re clicking, and so on.   

2. Email marketing is a permission-based relationship 

Email marketing gives people the chance to opt in and out of the relationship, which means there’s already a level of trust involved. If someone subscribes to your weekly newsletter, for instance, they may already be a warm lead.  

3. Email marketing is scalable and cost-effective  

Achieving more while cutting your marketing spend is a fine balance that email can help you strike. For example, you could automate an email flow that takes multiple leads to the point of booking a sales call, with minimal intervention. 

How to create a strong B2B sales funnel with email marketing  

Ready to start nurturing leads with email marketing? Here are four tips to help. 

Learn from your sales team 

When it comes to nurturing leads through the B2B sales funnel, don’t forget about your sales team. For every email you create, your sales team will be able to help you answer the crucial question: so what? If leads don’t know what they’re getting from the email, what’s keeping them engaged? 

Your salespeople are the ones having conversations with prospective clients. So, they can help you decipher why your leads are now receptive to a sales pitch, and what questions they’ve needed answering along the way. This can inform everything from how you segment your audiences based on pain points and interests, to what content you share at each stage. 

Create different workflows for different behaviours  

By creating different email marketing workflows, you can make sure you’re not pushing someone onto the next buyer journey stage before they’re ready. This doesn’t have to be as complicated as you might think: 

  1. First, decide on your overall email marketing objective, such as to get leads to book a meeting. 
  2. Work backwards, thinking about how you’ll encourage leads to take this action. For example, the step before might be sharing a case study, and before that downloading a whitepaper. 
  3. Account for different behaviours. If recipients open and click on your first email, then they might be ready for the next piece of content. If they don’t, consider entering them into another workflow – one that tests a more engaging subject line, for instance.  

You can set the parameters for workflows like this with email marketing tools like HubSpot, so that recipients are automatically directed to the most appropriate pathways.  

Consider the whole buyer journey  

Whereas a couple of emails might influence a B2C consumer to spend, B2B buyers’ purchasing decisions aren’t as spontaneous. Gartner found that along the B2B buyer journey, the most amount of time (27%) is spent researching independently online. McKinsey also points out that B2B decision-makers today can have up to 10 touchpoints during their buyer journey. 

When using email marketing, make sure it fits into your broader sales cycle. Are you missing an opportunity to convert by directing your leads to landing pages that don’t offer value? Are you sending pricing information to customers who have only read educational content so far? 

B2B buyers value information, not sales pitches. Make sure you’re not forcing them through an email flow that doesn’t match where they are in the sales funnel. 

Quantify engagement using lead scoring 

Lead scoring can help you quantify how engaged potential customers are with your business. It uses data from your email marketing, but also from across your digital channels. 

Think of it this way. Someone might open every email and click on every link, but are they in a role with decision-making power? Another recipient might only open one email out of every four, but are they taking high-value actions, like booking a meeting? 

By showing you how data is moving around, lead scoring can give you a better understanding of the warmth of the lead. From here, you can personalise your email marketing and ultimately pass qualified leads onto your sales team.

To learn more about attracting, nurturing, and converting leads, we have a free guide that we think you’ll find helpful. Download Fundamentals of lead gen in B2B marketing here.