Marketing to the Modern B2B Buyer - Lead Forensics

Marketing to the Modern B2B Buyer

In this article:

 

  • The four steps to building a better understanding of the modern buyer
  • How to create a content strategy that speaks to the modern buyer
  • How to build a powerful network of brand advocates for your business

 

The behaviour of modern B2B buyers is changing as rapidly as the digital landscape itself. By the time a buyer contacts your business, they’re now up to 90% of the way through their buying journey (90%!!) and thoroughly researching the solution they need – including your own business offering. But as B2B buyers become more and more blind to content and marketing communications in favour of their own research – how do you ensure the information they do see is timely, relevant and influential to their decision-making process? With inspiration from the Baseone Buyersphere report, we’ve put together four initial steps to help you build an in-depth understanding of marketing to the modern B2B buyer.
 

Step 1 – Understand purchase intentions by getting personal with personas

 
Although us marketers are creating relevant content and delivering personalised communications, many B2B buying experiences can still feel too automated and impersonal.

Author Maya Angelou said it best: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It’s time to get personal by engaging and communicating with buyers on their level, and the easiest way to do that? Build accurate, and data-driven buyer personas. But will buyer personas really influence the buying process and deliver real ROI?

 
A recent webinar from BrightTALK found that utilising buyer persona activity within an email campaign doubled the open rate and drove 5 times the campaign click-through rate. Buyer personas are a powerful way to fuel your marketing communications and deliver influential content that adds value to the right B2B buyers in their decision-making.
 
The more factual and in-depth your buyer personas can become, the more direction and resonance your marketing communications will have.
 
And it all starts with data.
 
Dig deep into all available data sources to build 360-degree factual personas that truly represent your audience. We’re not just talking customer databases either, use Twitter and Facebook analytics, Google Webmaster tools and Lead Forensics to gain in-depth insight on your audience and their behaviours.
 

Step 2 – Match your content strategy with the B2B buyer journey

 
According to the Baseone Buyersphere report, 95% of B2B Buyers seek relevant content and information to help them make an informed decision about a new product or service. Matching your content strategy with the B2B buyer journey is essential if you want to influence the decision-making process and avoid lising your buyers to the competition. But before you flood your blod and twitter page with content that you think will influence their buying decisions, do you really know what content makes your buyers tick?
 

 
61% of buyers agree that the winning vendor delivered a better mix of content appropriate for each stage of the purchasing process. But understanding when to send your B2B buyer a technical specification vs. a customer testimonial could be the difference between winning and losing that business deal.
 
Mapping out the modern B2B buyer journey from brand awareness to conversions, AND their information needs at each stage means you can really understand what content is going to have the most impact. Planning your content strategy according to these needs guarentees to inform, educate and influence the devision-making-process – Your B2B buyers will receive the relevant information they need, and you will be well on your way to creating content that converts.
 

Matching your content strategy with the B2B Buyer journey

 
Map out the core stages in your B2B Buyer’s journey, from awareness to advocacy, and match your content to each stage in order to maximise conversion opportunities. Just follow the example below:
 

Awareness: Identifying the need

awareness.png
Third party communications and broad topic content: Build awareness with relevant and educational blogs, guides and communications covering industry news, reports and statistics that support your product or service offering.

Exploration: Considering a solution

exploration.pngTechnical videos and product fact sheets: Informative and digestible product overviews will clearly communicate the product benefits. Reports by external industry analysts are considered highly influential, but are a mostly underused information asset.

Decision-making: Comparing suppliers

decision.pngClient proof and peer reviews: Case studies, quotes and proven results from clients and industry leaders (backed up with industry/ competitive comparisons) will give your buyers a solid reason to believe that you are the solution they need.

Purchase: Delivering ROI

purchase.pngTechnical/product/service specifications and guides: At this critical stage, your buyers want valuable product guides or specification documents offering advice on delivering results from your product or service.

Advocacy: Maintaining Interest

advocacy.pngInsider Updates: Engage with your clients with bespoke content according to their information needs at this stage. Is there any post-purchase information that could help them get more from your product? By putting that little extra in, you’ll encourage advocacy and renewal in return.
 

Step 3 – Nurture your leads effectively with multiple channel touch point

 
22-percent.pngSo you have your buyer personas (step 1) and you’ve matched your content strategy to the B2B buyer journey (step 2), but what about those B2B buyers that aren’t quite ready to go ‘all the way’ just yet? The average sales cycle has increased by 22% over the past 5 years due to more decision-makers being involved in the buying process (yikes). But a ‘not right now’ isn’t necessarily a ‘no’.

It’s fair to admit that most marketing activity and budget is invested in brand awareness and lead generation. But if you’re looking to generate more leads from your existing marketing activity, it’s critical to effectively nurture your ‘not right now’ prospects before they go cold. And when Forrester research shows that companies excelling at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads with a 33% reduction in costs, turning that “not right now” into a sale will dramatically improve your bottom line and ROI.

Make use of influential digital channels like email, social media and sales enablement along with evolving marketing automation technologies to build an effective lead nurturing programme across multiple channel touch points. By carefully matching your marketing activity with each stage of the buying process, you’ll build key relationships with your buyers and become their first choice over your competition.
 

Step 4 – Build a community of brand advocates

 
67-percent.pngWhen it comes to making that all-important purchase decisions, 67% of B2B buyers agreed that they had heard of the chosen supplier before. On top of that, the Buysphere report found that B2B buyers consider ‘colleague/friend recommendation’ the most influential information source when it came to the decisionmaking process. So what does this tell you about modern B2B buyers?
 
B2B Buyers value community and human opinion as a highly influential element in the whole buying process… So if you want to win that well-earned business, it’s time you had an army of brand advocates ready to spread the word about your product.
 
“The most important characteristic of a winning b2b supplier was the best product. But note that familiarity with the brand comes in second. It clearly gives the buyer confidence to deal with someone they’ve heard of before” Baseone Buyersphere Report 2015.
 
Make use of influential digital channels like email, social media and sales enablement along with evolving marketing automation technologies to build an effective lead nurturing programme across multiple channel touch points. By carefully matching your marketing activity with each stage of the buying process, you’ll build key relationships with your buyers and become their first choice over your competition.
 

Conclusion

 
As the digital landscape continues to grow and expand, B2B marketers are seeing a growing risk of becoming disconnected from their buyers. Fall into the trap of creating impersonal content and robotic marketing communications, and you’ll soon see your buyers drift away to the competition.
 
In order to better influence the B2B buying process, generate more leads and drive better ROI, it’s time for B2B Marketers to get personal with their buyers on a human-to-human level. By following these four initial steps, you’ll be well on your way to understanding your modern b2b buyer

How can Lead Forensics help my B2B marketing?

Every day, 98% of the businesses visiting your website leave without contacting your team. Take control of your website conversion and access this bounty of new business opportunities with Lead Forensics. Identifying the businesses visiting your website, Lead Forensics provides contact details for key decision makers along with a detailed analysis of every visit to fuel your team with all the data they need to instantly follow-up opportunities with a tailored, impactful approach.

The Lead Forensics software can tell you:

1. Visiting businesses’ name and location, in real-time

2. Contact details for key decision makers, including email addresses

3. Full visitor journey analysis featuring referrals, pages viewed and duration

Over 50,000 B2B marketing professionals trust Lead Forensics to revolutionize their processes and take full control of their website conversion. Find out more- book your free demo today!

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