B2B buyers are facing an increasingly complex world of vendors, content, reputations, advertisement and sales pitches when they need to make a purchase decision – and their actions are becoming increasingly complex to match.
By reaching a buyer in the middle of his or her decision-making process, you can ensure your brand is top-of-mind when a purchase is ready to be made. Here are a few ways you can reach buyers when it matters most.
Before a buyer even gets to your site, they are 57 percent of the way down the path towards a decision. But how are they getting to your site? Many brands believe that branded search is the answer – that buyers are actually searching for you or your product before landing on your site. However, research from Google shows that 71 percent of B2B buyers actually start their research with a generic search, and that, on average, they do 12 searches before engaging on a specific brand’s website.
So what does this mean for you? Don’t discount generic search terms when planning your advertising strategy. Decision-makers often don’t know about your brand before they start searching, so if you can appear near the top of search results for generic terms, you will attract more first-time visitors nearing their decision to your site.
B2B buyers consider their peers to be among the top three most important influential factors when making a decision, behind only web searches and vendor websites. And B2B is mirroring the consumer purchasing world when it comes to the trust put into review sites, with 55 percent of buyers ranking reviews as a very important point of consideration.
So what does this mean for you? Build trust. Leverage past, happy customers and include their testimonials on your website and in case studies. Encourage referrals and public reviews. Partner with influencers in your niche and create co-branded content. You can never have too much trust.
As your buyer gets closer to making a purchase decision, he or she will begin to compare features of the vendors they are considering. It is at this point that they will want to see demos, case studies and more from your sales team – and the sales teams of your competitors.
So what does this mean for you? Make sure your sales team is equipped with as much knowledge about each buyer as possible. Personalize the sales pitch based on data gathered from social media, past engagements with your brand and other signals. The more readily you can address a potential buyer’s concerns, the more likely they will be to choose you over your competition.
According to recent research, over half of B2B buyers seek out content from the brands and industry they are interested in before making a purchase. And 47 percent view three to five pieces of content before they engage with a sales rep.
So what does this mean for you? As your buyers progress along the buyer’s journey, they will become more aware of their needs and the criteria they want their vendor to meet. This is where content marketing comes in – you can use white papers, blog posts, ebooks and more to showcase your company’s credibility in the industry. As an added bonus, gated content can be used to build an email list for lead nurturing campaigns as buyers show more interest in your product or services.