The 4 B’s of Buyer Experience Innovation


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Many executives, in particular those of B2B and service oriented organizations, are faced with the challenge of having to rethink how to succeed in today’s digital age.  This rethinking raises questions as well as the dialogue today on the effectiveness of the traditional functions of sales, marketing, support, and customer service.   Perplexing executives as well is the rapid infusion of digital and social media that buyers are engaging with at an increasing rate yet with no clear discerning picture of what the future holds. 

An inherent issue is that the necessary rethinking can fall prey to the traditional function-based approaches organizations have done over the past quarter-century.  Viewing what each function is capable of in isolation and missing the harmonizing around the buyer experience.  Buyer Experience Innovation offers a framework for executives to rethink and discover insightful means of creating memorable buyer experiences that its organization can deliver on.  Leading their organization like an orchestra to understand how, in perfect harmony, they can create the sweeping composition that rivets the attention of buyers. 

Such a composition can be written and designed when executives can harmonize around the 4 B’s of Buyer Experience Innovation.  Creating a new way of thinking that transforms the company that is in harmony with its buyers.

Buyer Insight

The fact that the buyer-seller relationship is undergoing transformative reshaping is backed by many quantitative oriented surveys and studies.  However, gaining true insight into buyer behaviors, attitudes, perceptions, patterns, and etc. can be gained via qualitative efforts that are grounded in ethnographic and anthropological principles.  Buying today has become more sophisticated and has a multitude of variables that did not exist even a decade ago.  It is fair to say that many organizations are adopting specific buying strategies whereby primary decisions are often made well ahead of any sales involvement and secondary decisions are more about who to purchase from versus what to purchase.  Without investing in informing buyer insights, executives will be in the dark on how to craft buyer experiences that makes them part of an organization’s buying strategies.

Buyer Personas

Buyer Personas, archetypal representations of real buyers, have enjoyed increasing attention over the past few years.  My colleague, Angela Quail, and I have been involved with personas in general for more than a decade and pioneered the first buyer persona methodology nearly nine years ago.  I have written extensively about the concept of buyer personas and how they are vastly different than profiling.  Buyer personas, constructed in the framework of profiles, fall far short of their potential for executives to utilize as a resource for understanding who their target buyers truly are and for using buyer personas as an executive communications medium to harmonize the organization around buyer experience.  Buyer personas have their roots in design principles and are of immense value when they are built on the foundation of qualitative research and put into action contextually through scenarios, narrative stories, and mapping.  Executives can use buyer personas to bring the focus on buyers and the experiences that will endear them to the organizations.

Buyer Journey Mapping

Buying processes and buying decisions are being restructured many times over.  This is contrary to prevailing conventional perspectives that buyers, in general, take a similar linear path to making buying decisions.  There has been much realization that the traditional “funnel” as we know it has been radically changed yet what a new modified funnel may look like continues to be applied to the general as opposed to the one-to-one.  Buyer Journey Mapping, when conducted on the basis of qualitative research, can provide tremendous insight into not only the paths buyers take but also highlight the critical moments of truths that are relevant.  One company who understood this is HP.  Working alongside a trend setter in this area and challenged by one of HP’s senior executives, Kevin Hooper, Angela Quail and I developed an innovative methodology for creating Buyer Journey Maps for specific vertical markets as well as specific solutions.  Thus, enabling buyers in each vertical markets or solutions orientation to encounter a buyer experience that was in-touch and relevant to their environment.  Buyer Journey Mapping, when done for specific markets and/or solutions, provides a critical integrated view of the buying process and how building blocks can be formed to create a harmonized buyer experience. 

Buyer Experience Design

Integrated design thinking will be critical to designing buyer experiences that resonates with buyers on an individual level but also creates alignment with organizations creating buying strategies.  Informed with buyer insights, buyer personas, and buyer journey mappings, executives can lead their teams through initiatives of designing and innovating unique buyer experiences.  We’ve seen new approaches and services arise out of the rapidly changing buyer landscape related to terms such as demand generation, marketing automation, and sales enablement to name just a few.  Buyer Experience Design can provide the guidance needed by executives to design the right composition of new approaches and technologies that will help their organization deliver extraordinary buyer experiences.

Like HP, which has been exceeding growth expectations in a down economy, organizations can focus on the 4 B’s of Buyer Experience Innovation and create harmonized buyer experiences that aligns their efforts with specific buying strategies.  Executives who can shift the thinking of their organizations to integrated buyer experiences will have their buyers listening because they will have proven a simple fact – they cared enough to listen to their buyers. 


Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tony Zambito
Tony is the founder and leading authority in buyer insights for B2B Marketing and Sales. In 2001, Tony founded the concept of "buyer persona" and established the first buyer persona development methodology. This innovation has helped leading companies gain a deeper understanding of their buyers resulting in revenue performance. Tony has empowered Fortune 100 organizations with operationalizing buyer personas to communicate deep buyer insights that tell the story of their buyer. He holds a B.S. in Business and an M.B.A. in Marketing Management.


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