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The number of people involved in decision-making for B2B purchasing is growing, the B2B sales cycle is expanding, and expectations of buyers are increasing. B2B buying has changed just like every other thing in our life. Think about your typical workday. How are operations different than it was fifteen, ten, even five years ago? Record keeping is now done in computers instead of physical files. Apart from this, it’s likely that a lot has changed.
B2B buyers were never the easiest nut to crack. No wonder they are known as hard sells. We often hear about changes in trends when we talk about things like “the future of tech” and how the workplace is transforming. In the context of B2B marketing? Not much is here, but the truth is it does create a blind spot.
This is the age of millennials. They are the ones mostly responsible for B2B deals.
A new type of buyer has been created because of the changes in working style which posed a widespread impact on the B2B marketing and sales experiences. This new buyer is informed, connected and busy with all the other options as well. Researching the options is mandatory and second nature to this buyer. He knows what he wants and how he can get it. For millennials, trust is the most important thing because they have been deprived of it for so long. If you give them trust, they will blindly follow you. Data from Google and CEB shows that today’s business buyers complete 57% of the sales process on their own before they reach out to the company. According to this study, 8 out of 10 millennials read reviews before buying something. They know the value of insights from consumers over what is being advertised and marketed, and they are also more likely to write reviews to assist others with their buying decisions.
So how should you target this new buyer? It requires building credibility and attaining trust with your target audience by providing the educational resources they need and at the time when they need them.
In order to build integrity with the new B2B buyers, you need to be very well prepared in how you develop and strategize campaigns and carry out with leads. Below are some examples that will help you in understanding and targeting the new age buyer:
Today’s buyers don’t like when they are being sold to. Instead, they want to be dictated about how they can do their jobs better. This is where you come into the picture. There is a need for creative content backed with facts and figures that educate and add value to your target audience’s knowledge. It will also help you to instill trust in them.
Modern B2B buyers are mostly concerned with doing their jobs better and smarter in less time. You can lead with “why” and let “how” and “what” follow. The more you know, the more people will follow your lead. Millennials are firm believers in “knowledge is power.” When using search engines to promote your brand, your product description should be good enough to provide concise yet complete information about the product.
The more you personalize the experience for B2B buyers, the better are your chances to be in their good books. This personalization comes down to delivering the right memo to the right person at the right time based on their requirement in the buyer’s journey. TradeWheel.com has personalized content based on criteria as it demonstrates that you know who you’re talking to and what their needs are, which can vary from buyer to buyer.
The new B2B buyers do their research beforehand. This means that they’re looking at what people have to say, who they already look up to, and trust. As an outcome, it develops a relationship with influencers like industry publications who may then share your content and/or speak positively about your products/services. This will grant you exposure to new markets as well. A vote of confidence from a personality can go a very long way for B2B buyers. SAP develops enterprise software for different companies. They have made use of the benefits of working with third-party influencers to help them market their services. They work with an influencer who are independent business consultants, academics, and authors who have a strong influence on decision-makers in the types of companies likely to approach SAP products.
You need to be where your customers are, and that means going multi-channel. Your omnipresence state will definitely bring your product in the eyes of customers. The new B2B buyers do their research across all types of platforms, and the more you can cross their paths, the better your chances are to influence them and build trust.
Involvement of more people in the B2B buying process
There are more than one and approx. six people involved in the purchase process at 79% of companies where the survey was conducted, 44% have formal decision making buying groups or committees that review purchases. When you’re selling to a group, it’s harder to brief them on your product or service than it is with just one buyer. This is a major setback to the basic buying process to which we are used to.
It takes more time to sell to B2B buyers because they are not the sole decision-maker for their organization. They have to wait to get feedback from their fellow buying committee members. 61% of those in the survey say their sales cycle has gotten even longer since last year. No wonder: 45% are spending more time researching purchases; 45% are using more sources to research and evaluate purchases (45%), and 41% are conducting a more detailed analysis of ROI before they make a buying decision.
The B2B sales cycle might be getting longer than ever, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your laurels. In the first three months of the sales cycle, B2B buyers conduct the bulk of the research, outreach, and evaluation involved in making a purchase. Moreover, 41% say their companies frequently accelerate purchases because of rapidly changing business priorities.
Increasingly, B2B buyers are acting like B2C buyers. When shopping for vendors and solutions, (65%) look at influencers’ recommendations and reviews and (54%) use social media to thoroughly research the digital presence. LinkedIn is the most influential social media channel, used by 52% of B2B buyers. Take the example of B2B site; BeauteTrade, their immense presence on social media has helped them in creating a powerful client base from all around the world.
There’s no excuse for you to come to your B2B buyer encounters unprepared with an ocean of information available online and on social media. Before you ever reach out to a potential buyer, do your research and find out what they need. Showing that you have a firm knowledge of their industry and their requirements will show them that you are not selling them your product but presenting a solution to their problem which can be a valuable ally.
B2B buyers nowadays think far beyond making the purchase. Your interest in solving their problem will warm their heart, and they will surely come back to you for renewal. They want to be assured that your expertise will be there for them even after the sale. If there are problems along the way, your support team should be ready to assist them.
By following the valuable guidelines in this post, you can give your business an edge in wooing the hard-to-get B2B buyers.