Mapping the Funnel for Long Sales Cycle Audiences in B2B Marketing

3 min

Mapping the Funnel for Long Sales Cycle Audiences in B2B Marketing

The Expanding, Recursive Path Ahead

If you read the introductory blog to this series, you already know that the modern marketing funnel is not a one-size-fits-all model but a multifaceted journey. 

This is particularly true for long sales cycle audiences in B2B markets. In this environment, the customer journey extends for months or even years, featuring complex psychological and emotional dimensions that influence purchasing decisions.

This post aims to empower B2B marketers by offering an exploration of long sales cycles audiences and the marketing that serves them. We delve into the stages of awareness, consideration, and decision-making, and provide insights into how businesses can effectively help audiences navigate these stages.

Navigating Early Interest and Awareness

For decisions that have fairly short sales cycles, the awareness phase can be as brief as a few minutes to a few days. However, for a lengthy process to arrive at a decision, this stage stretches for months, if not years. Blog Graphics 1-3_Blog 2 Graphic 1

While the commitment rationalizes the time and energy spent moving the stages, it is not the only one. Another reason for this elongation is the "committee effect." It's not uncommon for multiple stakeholders to get involved, each requiring unique informational touchpoints and communication methods.

In this scenario, the role of the marketer becomes that of an educator and nurturer. And remember, while it might be tempting to apply B2C strategies, B2B audiences require a different approach. Outbound marketing should aim to inform rather than aggressively sell.

Masters of long B2B funnels patiently cast lines across diverse channels, progressively deepening logical and emotional relationships until prospects are in consideration's currents.

The Winding Road from Active Consideration to Commitment

In long B2B sales cycles, the consideration stage also expands just like awareness, with prospects evaluating options through numerous touchpoints. 

These touchpoints often involve collaboration between the brand and the prospect, breaking down each step for the decision-maker and becoming a trusted source of information early in the decision cycle.

Unlike impulse shoppers (short cycle B2C), B2B prospects meticulously weigh potential partners. They seek proof points like case studies and in-depth consultations to vet solutions. 

This rational process runs parallel with emotional considerations around aligning professional, personal, and company values.

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It’s crucial to handle objections by understanding people's behaviors and thought processes at nearly every point. 

Tailored messaging can address these concerns, laying the foundation for further commitment. We want to project where they are and demonstrate authority and the viability of the solutions we’re offering.

But beyond tactics, the decision-making stage is about solidifying relationships. You have to reassure prospects of your long-term commitment to their success, outshining competitors by displaying a comprehensive understanding of their needs.

Capitalizing at the Precipice and Crossing the Threshold

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The decision stage in long B2B sales cycles brings a moment of truth after lengthy nurturing. It’s at this juncture that you should showcase ROI and convey an understanding of your prospect's motivations, both professional and personal.

Emotionally, convey your commitment to their success and the deeper relationship to come (it’s going to live or die based on the relationship from here on out). Outmaneuver competitors by showing you understand the totality of your prospect's needs — you’ll empower them to feel in control of the buying decision. 

When the winds of change blow strongest, trust in your journey. Have you built relationships with every stakeholder? Do they see you as an advisor rather than just a vendor? If so, boldly stay the course. With mastery of multidimensional motivations, you can conquer these apex milestones.

The Journey Continues Beyond the Event Horizon

In the marketing funnel, the customer lifecycle continues long after the initial purchase. Effective loyalty programs generate momentum by nurturing brand devotion and referrals.

This cyclical motion illustrates the multidimensional funnel's looping form. As one cohort becomes loyalist, they feed new leads back into early awareness stages. The voyage is perpetuated through understanding the needs around the entirety of the loop.

Transitioning to a Tactical Advantage

We've charted the multidimensional landscape of the extensive B2B long sales odyssey. This expanded perspective reveals additional layers of logical and emotional considerations throughout the journey.

While each organization's path differs, common patterns persist. Mastering long sales funnels means embracing new dimensions, not just reacting to surface-level developments. With expanded vision, B2B brands can traverse convoluted terrain and nurture lifelong relationships.

The key to mastering long sales funnels lies in participating in the journey as a collaborator rather than a vendor, aligning your brand's values and character with the person or people making the decision, and ultimately helping clients through each stage of their unique process.

In our next installment, we will expand upon the strategies and tactical applications we alluded to, helping you accelerate brand momentum through these dense decision-making environments.


Ready to upgrade your marketing game? Book a free 30-minute strategic consultation with Deksia today.

We specialize across industry verticals — what we do is based on how marketing influences decision-making.

We'll help you identify your target audience, fine-tune your funnel strategy, and sharpen your messaging, using the principles discussed throughout this blog. Our packaged strategies will jumpstart your broad initiatives while our customizable tactical blocks will meet each of your specific needs.

We're here to empower you with actionable insights. Secure your slot now and give your marketing a competitive edge.