B2B marketing has undergone a sea of change in recent years. It was not so long ago that sales reps struggled with cold calls for prospecting waiting for leads. Now everything operates in cyberspace. The methods of prospecting, connecting, and converting have all transformed into the digital landscape.
Let us delve into the transformations that the B2B buyer behavior has undergone in the last few years:
The basic reason for the transformation was the advent of technology. The easy access to data for the B2B buyer transformed the buyer behavior drastically. Today’s B2B buyer is aware of his needs and prefers to do his own research to find out about products/services that will satisfy his needs. He approaches the sales reps at a much later stage in his journey. To cater to the needs of the modern buyer, the sales reps need to understand the buyer’s journey, his persona, and use the right strategies for connecting with the buyer.
As already stated, the modern buyer conducts his own research about the product/service he requires. Therefore, it is imperative that a seller establishes himself as an authority in his field. This is because the buyers will choose to connect with sales reps that are knowledgeable about their field. A sales rep can establish his authority in his field by publishing relevant content about his product/service. Therefore, in the current marketing arena, sales and marketing teams need to work in alignment. Marketing teams need to provide content to the sales according to the needs of the customers.
Next comes the question of how and where to present the content to the buyers. Stats prove that modern B2B buyers exist on social media platforms. (75% of the B2B buyers use social media to support their buying decisions as per Hubspot). The onus is now on the sales reps to identify the platforms that their audience uses and the timings at which they are active on those channels. They need to interact with their audience on those timings. A large proportion of B2B buyers are active on LinkedIn. According to Hubspot LinkedIn is 277% more effective than Facebook for generating leads.
When strategizing your marketing, it is essential to identify who your audience is. In earlier times, the key decision-makers in an organization generally belonged to the older generation and they were few in number. However, this has changed in the context of the modern B2B buyer. In fact, stats reveal that most B2B researchers in the current times are Millennials(age group-18-34 years). Therefore, B2B marketing strategies need to focus on Millennials.
Another aspect that has changed in the buyer persona is the fact that B2B purchase decisions are no longer taken by senior executives alone. On the contrary, non-C-suiters also have a major impact on decision making.
B2B buyers of today are not impressed by general marketing messages. Modern buyers demand a hyper-personalized marketing approach for conversion.
Other transformations witnessed in the buyer behavior include, most buyers researching on their mobiles. It is, therefore, vital to have responsive web-designs with pages that load quickly on mobiles. Videos have become popular among B2B buyers.
Once a sales rep is aware of these changes that have taken place in the buyer behavior, he needs to strategize bearing these aspects in mind to connect with the B2B buyer.
How can sales reps strategize to connect with the modern B2B buyer?
Step 1: Understand your Audience
Identify your audience and understand them. Research details such as their needs, pain points, and channels they use for communication, methods they use for researching information, etc. All this information will help you prepare a customized marketing strategy for your audience. Data Analytics comes in handy while researching for these details. You can find out all about your audience by leveraging Big Data.
Step 2: Establish your Goals
The next step would be establishing your strategic and measurable goals. The strategic goals are the marketing goals that determine how your brand will set itself apart from its competitors. While measurable goals help determine whether the strategies you have been following are providing the desired results.
For instance, you can track the results of your strategies based on the following metrics:
- Number of new website visitors
- Average time spent by the visitors on your site
- Qualified leads captured
- Customer Retention Rate, etc.
After implementing the strategies for marketing and establishing the metrics for tracking the progress, ensure that you have a system of refining your strategies based on the feedback received from the system. You can try different variables in strategies and run A/B tests to find out the messages, layouts, and mediums your B2B buyers’ best respond to.
Step 3: Personalization is the Key
As per Salesforce, 83% of the B2B buyers say that “being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business.”
You can personalize your marketing by:
- Target your buyers through channels they prefer to use for gathering information.
- Determine the best way to target high-intent prospects.
- Determine the content pieces and CTAs that will motivate the buyers to move in the next stage of the sales funnel.
- Anticipate the needs of your buyers as they move through the sales funnel and offer them instant solutions.
You can deliver personalization through your website, landing pages, paid ads, content, etc.
Step 4: Optimize your Website
Your website is the first impression of your business online. Ensure that you make a good first impression. You will need to optimize your website because your audience will keep coming back to your website if it is engaging.
According to Blue Corona, 46% of the stakeholders will leave a website if the messaging does not clearly communicate what the site has to offer.
Step 5: Don’t Forget SEO
It is important to make your website search engine friendly to attract the audience. Therefore make sure that you use the right keywords appropriately.
Step 6: Content is King
Make sure that you create and share relevant content on the relevant channels with your audience. Ensure that you share unplagiarized, quality content that is informative and optimized with the keywords. As per Blue Corona, 62% of the buyers say that they can make buying decisions based on online content alone.
Step 7: Customer Retention
It is not just enough to capture leads and nurture them, but you should also ensure that you retain your customers. Modern B2B marketing also entails brand loyalty. You will need to support your customers at all stages post-purchase to win their loyalty.
The Bottom Line
B2B buying has come a long way since the time when the seller initiated and controlled the marketing to the present stage where it is the buyer who is in charge. It is time for sales representatives to strategize their marketing according to the needs of their buyers.
Author Bio: Ken Burns of Sales for Life is the author of this post. Ken is a Marketing Manager at Sales for Life. He has years of experience in creating content for different types of businesses.