Breaking down the B2B buyer’s journey
Selling in the information-driven age.
In the information- driven age, where consumers have access to product information, reviews and social networks at the tips of their fingers, brand marketers are realigning themselves within the sales process.
Marketing and sales teams are searching for new ways to connect with consumers as they try to identify what now influences a buyers’ journey. The buyer is in the driver’s seat and brands are struggling to determine the when, why, and through what channels a buyer will now engage with them.
Connected Mobile Consumers
Consumers are equipped with devices that allow purchases at any time. Mobile has created a new breed of consumers, in fact, attention spans have gone from 12 seconds to 8 seconds (a gold fish’s attention span is 9 seconds). Quick accessibility to data via mobile has set new expectations within the workplace as well. Buyers expect to connect with brands 24/7, and in order to meet these expectations, brands need to be set to respond to inquiries on multiple platforms, in different languages, in and outside of standard work hours. There are 600,000 logins on Facebook and 4.2 million searches on Google per minute. There was a 200% increase in video uploads from 2013 to 2014. Mobile empowers brands to capture consumer mind share on more channels than ever before.
A brand’s online marketing and sales strategy can influence the buyer’s journey in the very early stages of engagement. More than 50% of people are performing a search on a mobile device prior to a purchase decision. Brands who provide influence or help educate the marketplace, are expected to be on a mobile friendly platform. Research how things have changed within your business environment and look at how interaction has transformed because of the online search process. Mobile requires brands to reevaluate how they measure success.
A New Trust Model
Hyper-connectivity, social networks, and the pervasive availability of data are building new models of relationships and trust. Buyers/decision makers now rely on their personal/professional networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) for advice to make a purchase decision. As people begin to trust peer recommendations over a knowledgeable sales associates, trust-based connections become more important. People now expect their professional network to provide introductions to new products/vendors/sales professionals that they know might be of interest.
Non-Linear Sales Cycle
It’s reported that 65% of decision makers only engage with a sales professional after they’ve made a purchase decision– buyers are making up their mind prior to even contacting a sales rep. B2B sales reps need to identify potential interactions and prospects earlier in the sales cycle. Look at how you can create more touch points earlier in the research process. Identifying the potential outcomes for these triggers can proactively move a buyer forward. Buyers are listening and engaging on a plethora of platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google and more. Brands who leverage marketing automation and drip campaigns can nurture buyers earlier in the sales cycle and build rapport.
The new process comprises nurturing, engagement and capturing data on prospects. Consumers now expect a personalized sales approach based on their areas of interest or activities. More often than not, typical sales emails/calls are not relevant and contextual to a buyer when their trying to make a purchase decision. A vendor needs to understand the pain points and the needs of the consumer. There is no longer a linear map to the sales cycle—because of this, most sales reps do not understand the their prospects needs. By nurturing the pipeline, leveraging messaging, and understanding the needs of the buyer, a sales rep can improve close rates.
B2B Marketing Mind Shift
There are now more channels to interact than ever before (social media, radio, TV etc.) and customers are constantly engaging with brands. How do marketers stay on top of it all? If a brand’s marketing is relevant and contextual, 80% of people appreciated being approached by a vendor. A user may have done their initial research, but now they want to know how you’re going to solve their particular problem. Look into content types that consumers determine to be influential and provide a depth of information that buyers require.
Since most buyers don’t engage with the vendor sales professional until after they’ve made a purchase decision, provide tools and collateral that help buyers do the right research and make an educated choice (white papers, case studies, testimonials, videos, infographics and more). The number one obstacle buyers feel is getting the information they need to make a purchase decision. Leading buyers to a knowledgeable purchase decision and helping them understand what their options are will help businesses sell more. Content marketers can no longer use the spray and pray method –it just doesn’t work. Generate specific resources and target them appropriately within the sales cycle to help your buyers buy better.
BN9 0LA Newhaven