Improving and creating effective marketing strategy means marketers need to thoroughly understand the B2B buying process and how it is evolving. Let’s explore the four key ways B2B buying is changing:
B2B marketing technology is developing rapidly. “Decision makers are faced with increasingly complex problems, and they often need to decide between growing numbers of potential vendors to solve them. B2B buyers…find their buying decisions influenced by information from hundreds of different sources. As a result, the modern B2B buying process looks less like a linear path from first contact through to sale—it’s more like a spiderweb of social influence and research channels.”
Connecting with your customers throughout all stages of the buyer’s journey requires a diversified content offer. “Businesses need to make use of owned content (blog posts, whitepapers, and guides), earned content (guest posting, customer testimonials, and product reviews), and paid content (content advertising and promotion, magazine articles and syndication) in order to create the right assets for helping potential customers through a complicated and confusing buying journey.”
B2B buyers at the top of the funnel are rarely influenced by companies and their salespeople. They’re sifting through and digesting information about your company and your products, services and offerings from sources out of your control, as well as evaluating your competitors’ offers:
Social media influence is to the B2B buyer. Social media strategy has evolved to include social selling as a core competency for successful B2B sales, and continued customer engagement, nurturing and prospecting. Your social presence plays a significant role in building brand trust and brand advocates with your buyers.
More than half of B2B decision makers “start their buying journey with informal research, using search engines and business blogs to research products, problems, and solutions. It’s this stage of research where your content can have a real impact on sales.”
Most Influential Research Channels
“By having a defined content-driven marketing strategy, your business has a way to engage buyers through each of these channels. It becomes possible to interact with decision makers throughout the sales process, using educational resources, peer recommendations, and decision-making advice to make sense of a confusing buying journey. It allows you to position your business as a valuable ally and, in the process, create loyal lifetime customers.”
Glenn Gow is an expert in marketing performance, Coach, Board Advisor, Author, Speaker, Podcast Host and Founder & Advisor of Crimson Marketing. Follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+. To get a free copy of Crimson’s One-Page Marketing Metrics Funnel, visit here.