Funnel for B2B Leads in IT Services: A Step-by-step Guide

At Datomni, we design and run smooth omnichannel marketing experiences for a number of industries. One of them is B2B. 

In this article, we’d like to walk you through our map (some people, including us, sometimes call it a funnel) for generating enterprise B2B leads. This funnel is customized for companies selling IT services for large (or corporate) clients. So if you’re a B2B marketer looking for new ways to grow your qualified lead base or struggle to find new ideas to get noticed online, take a look at the rough funnel sketch we’ve prepared below and then follow on with our commentary to learn more!

By the way, if you want to deploy this complete B2B funnel in your company, continue on to the free and instant estimation for B2B.

Defining lead

When we work with our clients, we like to define what “lead” is very specifically, down to the age group, company rank, and location. First, it establishes good expectations on both sides. Second, it’s impossible to estimate lead cost without knowing exactly what a client is looking for, down to the desired lead behaviors. The difference in lead acquisition cost for a lead that signs up for a free booking call and one that just downloads a PDF is enormous. We believe our clients should know the cost of end result upfront, because it’s only then that they can assess if deploying such funnel is ROI-positive for them.

In this funnel, we define lead to be a person in the ranks of a manager or director employed at a company with at least 250 employees. This could be another big software company, a bank or insurance company, among many others. Conversion in this funnel is defined as someone booking a call with a client’s sales representative. We’ve run this funnel multiple times in many different variations, with total budget probably well somewhere in 5 figures. The entire sequence comprises over 20 steps, and we’ll walk you through it step by step. 

What is the expected B2B lead cost?

If you want to use this funnel to acquire said profile of leads, you should expect to pay €30-€75 per qualified lead, depending on your geography and other factors, like the current reach of your company.

LinkedIn Ad with a PDF case study 

This funnel starts with PDF case study. Your prospective lead would be browsing LinkedIn and seeing your ad in his LinkedIn stream. The ad he’ll see promotes a PDF case study that one can download upon leaving contact details in the LinkedIn Lead Ad form. 

For someone to stop scrolling LinkedIn, notice your ad and leave the contact details, the ad banner and text should direct a pain you’ve solved for your former client, one featured in your case study. Ideally, if you can take the client’s problem or pain statement directly from the case study and put it in quotes on your LinkedIn ad.

For someone who considers signing up for your case study and has a similar problem, this means he may find a solution inside the case study, which may serve as an additional motivator for them to fill the form and leave the contact details.

Also, keep in mind some key rules for writing a good case study: 

  • Authenticate the case study as fast as possible by showing the challenges that your client had to face. Share your own experiences.
  • Include as many details and concrete facts as possible. 
  • Dedicate about 60-70% of the case study to describe real problems you’ve helped your clients to solve and 30-40% to present solutions. 

Another tactic that may work for you in turning your prospect into a lead is to show performance metrics directly on the ad inside LinkedIn. But do it only if you can replicate the effect you’ve shipped for another client and don’t use it for outlier results. 

Once someone stops on your ad to click it, ask him for the contact details. To have the prospects qualified at a basic level, ask for their e-mail address, full name, company name and company position. You may try asking for less and have a lower cost per lead, but you’ll also get lower lead quality doing so. 

That’s it, you’ve already acquired a … prospect (not a lead yet – check our definition of lead)! From this point on, we start qualifying the prospect and making sure we turn it into an engaged contact. 

The first step in the process of qualification is to introduce your company well to the person that has just downloaded your case study. Remember that for many of the prospects, downloading the case study will be the first time they’d ever interact with your company. You want to make this experience as good as you can. 

But before someone can read your introductory e-mail, first add a sweet thank-you note to success page of your LinkedIn Lead Ads. Let your prospect know that your PDF case study will arrive in their inbox (to the e-mail they’ve submitted in the lead ad form) within a few minutes and also specify the sender’s name and their position. Something like that will do:

Thank you for downloading our case study. You should receive the document within a few minutes from Jane, our sales representative.

Introductory e-mail and quick booking funnel

Once someone signs up for your case study with LinkedIn Lead Ads, they’ll expect your PDF case study soon in their inbox, according to your notice in the Lead Ads success page. 

Schedule your email to be sent about 5 to 10 minutes after signing up. It doesn’t have to happen automatically and a little delay is actually in order here. This introductory e-mail should use a plain, easy-going style. We recommend against including any graphical elements in this e-mail, because unnecessary graphics introduces too much promotional feel to the e-mails. Make it personal. 

Side note: One of the critical elements of the funnel is to manage expectations properly. Funnel is just a type of experience someone will have with your company and you need to make sure it’s as stellar as other components of your brand.

Make sure the e-mail is sent from a real person (“Jane” for our example) by full name the same person every time (not a fake name, or a bot, or a “contact” e-mail address). Make sure the e-mail footer is just like a footer in your normal business e-mail. Include your sales rep picture, social media, and telephone number. Some of our clients got sales inquiries at this stage already. 

Include a link to your booking calendar right in your first introductory e-mail. Offer some additional value in exchange for booking a call. In addition, include your availability in the next week or two, for those of your prospects who are afraid to click e-mail links. Additional benefits can include a chat with an expert team member, project estimation, and delivery time estimation cost. 

If you prospect books a call with you, then this funnel ends successfully and you’ve just acquired a lead. If you want to estimate of getting such qualified leads with us, then get an instant estimate here. Unfortunately, the majority of your prospects won’t convert here. For them we’ve designed the next stage of this funnel.

Series of follow-up e-mails

For people who haven’t clicked the link to schedule a booking, we recommend sending two follow-up e-mails once every 3 days. Both e-mails should be sent from the same person and be styled in the same way. These messages need to introduce your company, but in the context of the case study. Remind the prospects of why you’re following up with them and the value that the case study will bring them. Remedy for their problem. Again.

Booking stage 

What about prospects that haven’t booked the call after landing on the booking page from one of your e-mails, or who haven’t clicked any e-mail at all? Reactivate them using brand-first retargeting campaigns. We recommend using two “professional” channels (LinkedIn and Twitter) and other (Facebook or Ads). If your audience group at this stage is significant use both Facebook Ads and Google Ads. Otherwise go for Facebook only. 

Use rich visuals and present broader experience of your service. It’s best to show the culture of your company. Send this traffic to your main landing page, preferably “about us page” or a call booking page. The point is, the page you’ll send your traffic to has to be similar by visual experience to the previous steps. Don’t replicate the same message in all channels. Rather, communicate what’s best about your brand in relation to the medium you’re at.

And again, bear in mind that each ad platform has its requirements about the size of the audience for their retargeting features to work. For example, Twitter’s Tailored Audiences require you to have at least 100 users, LinkedIn – 300, Facebook – probably about 100, but some of your would argue here. Important bit is to optimize these campaigns for clicks, rather than conversions, because most likely audiences won’t be large enough for conversion optimization to kick in.

Company landing page stage

Once non-converted audiences land on your company landing page, you should reactivate them by showing a chat bar where they can talk to your representative and schedule a booking call from there. Your landing page should clarify that you have experience in these specific services you’re promoting in your PDF. After they spend a significant amount of time on your website, direct them with a pop-up bar to the call booking page again. If they leave without clicking into the booking page, show them a pop-up and invite them for a free consultation, by showing a key person they’d be talking to and a value from taking part in the demo.

Funnel timeline 

You should expect this funnel to last about 60 days, from the moment you switch it on. However, not every step is of equal time of course. For example, funnel sequences will last about 9 days. You should also allocate about 2 weeks for retargeting for these members of your audience, who need more time researching your company before they book a call with you. Remember to always exclude audiences which mark converted users. The 60-day rolling conversion rate will be a realistic assessment of how well this funnel can work for your business. 

Targeting and tracking

It’s the targeting that makes or breaks a good funnel experience. Without good audience inclusions and exclusions, you may even annoy your prospects but showing them irrelevant messages. The way to ensure you have proper audiences is to track users as deep as you can and then exclude audiences that exhibit specific behaviors. That’s our approach to building funnels – we always start them but plugging good analytics. With good data, we can optimize cost per lead. 

It’s all about people

Even though we make a living by building and optimizing funnels, all this would be useless if we haven’t understood the audience we’re trying to reach in the first place. Whenever we analyse funnel data and try to come up with optimizations, we always start with audiences. Do the same! It’s all about people.

And again, check out our free and instant estimation for B2B.