For B2B business owners and marketers, it is understood that your business strategy should not be a “one size fits all” approach. You must personalize your sales and marketing process by understanding the buyer’s journey – an important foundation that should be used to outline your marketing strategy. If it’s done correctly, it can dramatically boost your sales. In addition, as a B2B marketer, you will understand what your clients are doing and how you can help them move from one stage of the B2B buyer’s journey to the next. In this blog, we will further define the B2B buyer’s journey and help you understand just how and why it should matter to your business.
The Fundamentals of The Buyer Journey
Anytime you purchase a product or service, you embark on a journey. The more complex the product or service, the more important the journey will be. Think of the last purchase you made, whether it be a business purchase or a personal one. Was it on a whim? Probably not. You most likely put in hours of research, careful consideration, comparisons, and planning. Only after these stages were complete, you come to a decision. This, in a nutshell, is the buyer’s journey. However, for a B2B buyer’s journey, it is more intricate.
The B2B buyer’s journey has three stages:
Awareness: Prospects are researching products and services, looking for options that could potentially solve a problem or meet a need. In this stage, the prospect may not know about your business. Your marketing strategy should target creating awareness of your product or service to those in this stage.
Consideration: The prospect begins their research to consider and compare products and services. During this stage, they have narrowed their search down to a few vendors. As they begin to conduct more research, it is important to realize how your content is presented through your business strongly affects whether the potential client will pursue your business or not.
Decision: The prospect decides on a solution. At this stage, the prospect has not only completed their research process, but they have already gotten the approval needed from upper management to select a vendor and make a purchase.
We all go through this journey anytime we buy a product. Let’s put it into the perspective of a B2B business. A B2B’s buyer journey is unique because a B2B customer is often more than just one customer. In a B2B business, you are selling to an entire team of people who have input in the purchasing decisions, causing the decision-making process to be longer and more intricate.
How and Why The B2B Buyer’s Journey Should Matter To Your Business
Understanding the buyer’s journey for your B2B business is vital to convert them from potential buyer to a client. For example, if your prospect is in the decision stage, you probably don’t want to provide them with technical information about your solution. They’ve finished their research, now is the time to make a decision and you have to know how to convert them towards your solution. In contrast, if they are only becoming aware of their needs and your marketing is forcing them to decide, you run the risk of alienating them. Are you starting to see why the journey should matter to your business?
As a B2B marketer, you should meet your client in the middle of their buying journey whenever they are researching. The vast majority of your clients are finding the research they need to make their purchasing decision on their own. They will most likely have made up their minds before they reach out to you. Make sure your business is the one providing prospects with everything they need to make the right decision by supplying them with valuable content that helps in their decision-making process, drawing them closer to buying from you.
You’re able to impact a prospect’s buying decision by providing them with value and answers at every stage. If done right, they will make the decision you are looking for – to close a deal with you! This way, you’ll avoid the mistake of following a more traditional approach, such as waiting until they come to you to deliver a hard sales pitch. Instead, you can give them the exact information they are researching for at any particular stage and help them move further in your direction.
Another reason the B2B buyer’s journey should matter to your business is that by supplying a prospect with your expert knowledge of the products, and your guidance instead of aggressively pitching at them, it will help to build trust with your business.