I recently saw this interesting Infographic which offers a peek into the Marketing Mind. As B2B marketers, it would be of tremendous value to us to get a similar insight into the B2B buyer’s mind. There’s only one problem here—the B2B buyer is far more complex and changing more dynamically than the B2B marketer ever can or will.
Companies try to study and analyze buyers in many different ways. Here is one buyer behaviour report that dives deep into aspects such as how soon you should call a new lead, months of the year and how they impact buyer behaviour, which days of the week work and don’t work for lead conversion, and so on.
Let’s examine today some key behavioural traits that characterize our new age B2B buyer. How do you identify and recognize these traits? Then once you do, what changes must you make to your B2B lead generation strategy in order to attract, engage and convert this new, complex buyer?
6 Characteristics of the B2B Buyer and How to Manage Expectations
Search and Research Savvy. Today’s B2B buyer is very adept at using online search techniques to find out as much information as is available in the online world related to the product/service/industry of interest.
B2B Marketing Tip #1: Publish relevant content and make sure it is found by your prospective buyer in a variety of access and touch points throughout the buying cycle.
Always in a Hurry. Just like everyone else, the B2B buyer too is severely pressed for time. While this is true, the buyer will still take the time to diligently find the required information way ahead of a purchase decision. SiriusDecisions estimates that the average buyer’s journey is 70 percent complete by the time a salesperson is contacted. A recent CMO Council study of B2B buyers indicates that 87 percent of buyers believe that online content impacts their buyer journey from vendor selection to purchase decisions.
B2B Marketing Tip #2: Make it easy and quick for your buyers to find what they are looking for. If their patience wears thin because you take them through unnecessary clicks and insist they fill a form or make a phone call to get any real, useful information, you’ve lost them.
Averse to a Sales Pitch and Avoids the Salesperson. It’s a bit ironical if you think about it—on the one hand, marketing is all about personalization, but on the other hand, the buyer does not want to make contact with a salesperson or have any hint of a sales pitch until he or she decides the time is right, or that the interaction is even required at all. Take a typical example of an enterprise software that can be purchased online. The buyer wants to be able to get the relevant information, make the payment, download the product, understand the user instructions and troubleshoot any starting problems, all online. Your Live Chat representative may try hard to get some attention in order to upsell or pitch a complementary product at a discounted price. Most often, however, the buyer will simply close or ignore the chat window. This is normal and we as B2B marketers must expect that the typical buyer will be elusive and does not want to be hunted down.
B2B Marketing Tip #3: Ensure that you have robust tracking, monitoring and measurement tools and processes in place. Analyzing buyer behaviour throughout the online flow of information in the buying cycle can be predictive of conversion as well as repeat purchase. Ask that your lead generation program allows a 360° view so you can keep a close watch and carefully manage return on investment. Request a demo of the revolutionary, transformational lead generation program, MyLeads2Go.
A Victim of Organizational and C-Suite Histrionics. Much as the B2B buyer likes to stay in control of the buying process, there are factors at play within the buyer’s organization that throw up constant challenges. CMOs come and go, budgets get sliced without notice, accounts are lost and people fired mercilessly, new strategies come into play and targets get bumped up—all these things happen and the buyer cannot help but be impacted. Plus, the ‘buyer’ is usually never just one person in the B2B world, so there are inter-personal factors that also influence a purchase decision within teams. It is common for marketers to experience that dreaded “many a slip between the cup and the lip” or sheer surprise and delight over a very quick sale from a lead that had been deemed cold or even dead.
B2B Marketing Tip #4: Devise very high-quality lead nurture programs that proactively reach out to and engage buyers even through what may seem like inordinately long buying cycles. When the winds change suddenly, you will have the mechanisms in place to provide the right information at the right time to the right person.
Knows More than the Seller. Deny it all you want, but your ideal buyer is almost always likely to be better informed than your strongest salesperson. (Click to tweet this!) With information available at their fingertips anywhere and everywhere, these buyers have no patience to listen to a repeat of what they already know. They want something more valuable. They want the consultative marketer who advises them on industry trends, best practices, solutions to the toughest challenges, high-efficiency, reduced cost methods of operation and ways to garner greater return on investment.
B2B Marketing Tip #5: Play the devil’s advocate. Pre-empt the questions and concerns your buyer might have and strive to answer them proactively. Email newsletters, whitepapers, e-books, webcasts, etc. are great tools for this type of consultative selling approach.
Is Not A Machine. Buyers are tired of automated lead generation campaigns that treat them like a name on a list. This is one of the main reasons for marketing automation failure. B2B purchases are usually a fairly significant investment. Buyers want to feel comfortable and confident that they made the right choice. The only way to make them feel like that is by winning their trust. Read this piece on how to win your buyer’s trust.
B2B Marketing Tip #6: Even if the buyer goes all the way through to the sale independently without needing or wanting human intervention, there is life after the close. In fact, the post-sale relationship is a far greater contributor to ongoing customer loyalty and referral business than any other innovative lead generation campaign you may come up with.
Does the complex B2B buyer challenge your marketing and lead generation strategy? It’s a natural, logical and inevitable progression of our digital age. What is your organization doing to understanding the buyer psyche and tailor organizational strategy to cater accordingly? Share your thoughts and let’s discuss this on my blog.
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