The 4 phases of B2B sales funnel

For B2B businesses, the sales cycle is usually longer as your customers need time to understand your offerings and make decisions.

If your customers are businesses (not consumers), you are running a B2B business. 

The sales & marketing phases for a B2B business are more complicated than a B2C business. It is not as simple as picking and paying at the cashier, or adding to cart then checkout.

For B2B businesses, the sales cycle is usually longer as your customers need time to understand your offerings and make decisions.

In simple words, you need to generate enough leads and convert some of them to your customers.

Sales funnel

However, it might not be as easy and as straightforward as the diagram above.

Instead of just leads and customers, there are 4 phases of a B2B sales funnel:
  • Prospects
  • Leads
  • Opportunities
  • Customers
The objective is the same, to turn prospects into leads, then qualify them as opportunities, before becoming your customers.

The B2B Sales Funnel

B2B sales funnel: From prospect, leads, opportunities to customers


This can be your website visitors or a database of contacts you acquired. They haven't responded positively to your business yet.

Techniques to grow prospects:
  • Website, microsite, landing page
  • Content (articles, videos)
  • Email marketing
  • Awareness ads


Prospects who have shown interest in your offering by signing up forms to enquire, download whitepapers, or register for your webinar.

Techniques to grow leads:
  • eBook, white paper.
  • Webinar, workshop
  • Leads generation ads


Leads will become opportunities when they are considering your offerings by trying your solutions or engage with your sales team.

Techniques to grow opportunities:
  • Marketing automation
  • Free trial, demo
  • Leads qualifying by the sales team


They start paying you money! Customers can be champions too when they offer you testimonials or refer you to other customers.

Techniques to grow champions:
  • Testimonials (text, video)
  • Referral, word-of-mouth

The B2B Sales Metrics

It is important to know which metrics to track your B2B sales performance. Is the number of prospects (like website visitors, call being made in a day, etc.) really meaningful for you?

Without over-complicating matters, here are the 5 important B2B sales performance metrics:
  • The number of new leads generated every month (and from which sources).
  • The conversion rates of leads to opportunities.
  • The number (and pipeline dollar value) of qualified opportunities.
  • The conversion rates of opportunities to customers.
  • The revenue breakdown into 3 categories: new business, add-on business, renewal business. 

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Silver Mouse: The 4 phases of B2B sales funnel
The 4 phases of B2B sales funnel
For B2B businesses, the sales cycle is usually longer as your customers need time to understand your offerings and make decisions.
Silver Mouse
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