The person buying your product or service wants to do so of their own volition. When you hear effective B2B marketers using the ‘don’t be too sales-y’ adage, this is what they really mean. According to SiriusDecisions, 67% of a buyer’s decision is already made before a buyer even reaches out to sales. Of course, as marketers, our solution is to therefore to align marketing and sales by reaching the buyer with marketing before they reach out to sales. This is called B2B sales enablement – sit tight, this article will walk you through how to do exactly that.
What is the buyer’s journey?
The journey can be defined through three stages – awareness, consideration and decision.
The awareness phase is when the buyer identifies some need, want or challenge in their lives. They may not even be aware that a product or service can help them yet. Julia needs collateral to be designed for the beauty spa that she owns.
The consideration phase is when the buyer has comprehensively identified their need and they are now investigating and evaluating different solutions. Julia visits websites of several different graphic designers, she searches for reviews through both a search engine and social media, evaluates portfolios on the designers’ websites and compares their offerings.
The decision phase is when the buyer has settled on a solution and goes ahead to purchase. Julia decides that a certain graphic designer meets her evaluation criteria – their portfolio is extensive, there don’t appear to be any bad reviews for them and she perceives that the price is worth paying for the quality of the product she will receive.
How to intercept
It’s your goal to reach Julia during each phase of her buyer’s journey so that you can show her that your product is the product that will provide her the solution she desires.
During the awareness phase, the best way to do this is by building trust and providing value. The buyer doesn’t necessarily even know that there’s a solution out there to their problem so they certainly aren’t ready to have a product put in front of them. Use your B2B lead generation to place inbound marketing tactics in front of the buyer – web content that addresses the issue and provides information in front of the buyer and SEO terms are best practice places to start. Not only are you proving that you have knowledge in the field, you are also establishing trust by not immediately trying to sell.
When the buyer is deep into the consideration phase, reviewing and evaluating the product or service, it’s time for you to prove your product’s worth. Ensure that your website clearly outlines the product’s benefits to make for an easy buyer comparison – which will happen. PR opportunities in reaching out to reviewers can be valuable here and you also want to capture your buyer as part of the audience that you directly talk to, often through email or social media acquisition.
The decision phase is often the ignored child of the marketing world. All the effort goes into initially converting the buyer to the company, however, as many an e-commerce site will know, so many of those conversions are left in shopping bags. The buyer has a mixture of excitement and unease at parting ways with cash so it’s important that you validate the decision that they are trying to justify with a seamless process that is easy to navigate, friendly and safe.
Ultimately, you want to create, not just a buyer, but a loyal advocate out of Julia. You’ve gained her respect and trust during the awareness phase, been transparent about your product in the consideration phase, and made her feel valued in the decision phase. Making a loyal advocate out of your buyer means that they are more likely to be repeat purchasers, and spread your product via word of mouth, inevitably reaching others at different phases of their buyer journey.