As a business-to-business buyer, it’s important to understand the journey your potential customers go through before they make a purchase. The B2B buyer journey can be long and complicated, but at its core, it comes down to understanding what your buyers need and want from you.
What is a B2B Buyer?
A B2B buyer is an individual or organization that purchases goods or services for use in their business, rather than for personal consumption.
Businesses that commonly buy goods and services for business purposes include manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and service providers.
How Well Do You Know Your B2B Buyer?
There is no single way to examine a buyer’s journey.
The customer journey can be a complicated one, especially when social distancing is involved. With salespeople now having to move their sales pitches to an online format, and buyers having to make important decisions while stuck at home, the sales process can be even more challenging.
There are three important questions to answer:
- Has the buyer journey evolved in the past 6 months?
- How did you embrace those changes?
- Where are the opportunities to increase brand awareness?
Monitoring the Evolution of the Buyer Journey
For as long as we can remember, we have been operating under the misconception that the buyers’ journey is a straight line.
We have divided our sales efforts into different functions, such as marketing, sales, and customer support, in order to maximize our chances of closing the deal.
The buyers’ world is rapidly changing.
With technology, people can access an unlimited amount of information. This allows them to grow their knowledge of products and services and gives them the ability to learn more about your brand.
However, the constant stream of information is overwhelming, and this sea of unending noise is always on and never turns off.
So, it is no wonder that businesses are often paralyzed by the sheer volume of information they must sift through when making big purchases.
One simple way to understand the buyers’ journeys is to identify what jobs are they trying to perform.
- Problem Identification: what needs to be solved?
- Solution Exploration: what solutions are available?
- Requirements Building: what can the solution do?
- Supplier Consideration: which brands can do what is needed?
- Validation of Capabilities: do we have the right solution from the right brand?
- Consensus Creation: how do we get everybody on board?
The 6-stage buyer journey is a cyclical process. While most do complete the first 4 stages, they also simultaneously progress through 5 and 6.
How much does this represent your buyers’ journey? What are the jobs your buyers are trying to accomplish and how can you help them do so?
When you can:
- Guide the buyer through their tasks to completion
- Build confidence to make sound, reasonable decisions for their company
- Simplify the purchase process
Then you will be the vendor they want to work with and recommend to others.
According to marketing expert, Clare Doria, the sales process has fundamentally changed. She notes, in particular, that customers now expect more personalized experiences. She also notes that the buying process now takes longer and that more customers are relying on digital platforms.
The buying process for B2B buyers is more complex than ever, as they have to sort through a lot of information and juggle different stakeholders. Empathy and personalized experiences go a long way in helping them through the journey.
The coronavirus pandemic has taught us that agility is key to developing successful new business strategies. The rapid emergence of new markets and the decline of others have shown us that opportunities can come and go quickly.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, many businesses are adapting to the new reality of working remotely.
Embracing digital is no longer a luxury but a necessity.
The shift to online selling has led to double-digit growth in the eCommerce industry.
No matter how far along you are on your digital marketing path, there are always opportunities to improve. But to monitor your progress, you need to measure your changes.
With new communication tools, features, and functionalities, change is definitely inevitable. However, it is equally about people’s willingness to adapt, convert, and scale up.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself about your digital marketing efforts.
- How are your adoption and conversion rates?
- How much of your sales have converted in the last 6 months?
- How are your offline sales channels doing?
- How has your cost of sales changed?
When planning a digital initiative, there are many important elements to consider. One of the most important is ensuring that you properly segment your market.
How to Elevate Your Brand
A digital strategy should be focused on aligning with a buyer’s journey.
According to research by Forrester, 74% of business-to-business (B2B) purchases involve at least some amount of pre-purchase research conducted on the Internet.
And according to Sirius Decisions, 70% of the buying process is completed before a prospect ever contacts a sales rep.
What does this mean for your brand? It means that if you want to stay ahead of the competition, you need to focus on your digital presence and make sure your brand is visible and easily found online. It also means that you need to create content that will help buyers at each stage of their journey, from awareness all the way through to purchase.
Making your business more relatable to your audience is a great way to increase brand power. You make it easier for your prospects and customers to identify with, and see themselves using it. This, in turn, makes it more likely that they will see it as the solution to their need.
If you want to make sure you’re branding is powerful enough to appeal to your customers, you need to make sure you are the solution they’re looking for. Be what they want you to be and make it easier for them to see that by helping them through each of these steps.
Digital marketing is the future of business, but traditional and digital marketing are equally important.
The omnichannel environment is here, and it’s going to stay. But, as more and more external forces are disrupting our businesses, we need to be prepared to adapt.
Social media is a hot topic in the marketing world. Some marketers embrace it wholeheartedly, while others are wary of it.
With the world in such a state of disarray, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate work from personal life. Because of this, many B2B companies are finding that social media marketing is more effective than they initially thought.
According to an IDC study, 75% of B2B customers and 8 out of 10 C-suite executives use social tools when making buying decisions.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, when many businesses have cut back on their marketing budgets, some businesses have been increasing their digital marketing budgets.
This opportunity allows LinkedIn to stand out from the competition as an advertising channel for increasing brand visibility, awareness, and purchase intent.
LinkedIn is a powerful platform that can help increase brand awareness, consideration and selection when used correctly. By integrating social channels into your LinkedIn strategy, you can maximize your reach and engagement potential.
A recent survey by a marketing firm, Motion Cue, found that 54% of B2B companies shared branded video content on their LinkedIn page. Of those, 78% said it helped their company.
There are a lot of different marketing strategies out there. It’s important to understand your customers so you can tailor a marketing strategy to fit their needs. By understanding your buyer, you can ensure you’re focusing your marketing efforts on what’s important.
As a B2B seller, it’s important to understand the journey your potential customers go through before they make a purchase. The B2B buyer journey can be long and complicated. Map out that journey and learn more about what your buyers need from you.