In our last blog, we covered the buyer-driven experience -- and how B2B buyers are willing to do more research before interacting with sales representatives. This makes building an effective buyer-driven experience key in reaching these buyers. In this blog, we'll cover tips on building an effective buying experience.
1) Create Initial Awareness and Interest
Think of this as an introduction to your business.
Buyers want communications that make them feel they spent their time wisely; that they’ve learned something relevant and new, so make the most of your introductory content. Focus on the value you bring and start building trust by being authentic and honest in your communications.
When working on awareness content, consider your target buyer’s perspective:
How/where will they find your content?
Does the content fit with the expectations created by the source it came from?
Is the content easy to access and consume?
Is the content in a format that the buyer prefers?
What did your content help them accomplish?
2) Nurture Leads
Getting attention is the first step, now you must keep it.
B2B buyers need to gather information to decide to buy something new and complex, especially if it is an innovation or departure from what they’ve bought before. They will want to know how your product or service solves their or their organization’s problem.
They’ll also want to know about the bumps they may encounter along the journey, so include information about constraints and complications that may come up and how to prepare for them. The more helpful and transparent you can be, the more trust you will earn.
And you need to give them this information at points when they are ready for it.
That’s where nurturing comes in.
Because buyers now prefer self-service engagement in the initial stages of research (only 21% engage with sales reps in the early buying stages), it’s critical to boost your ability to create self-service engagement.
Buyer-driven experiences must shift prospects from interest to consideration.
Keep in mind:
The challenges a buyer faces:
3) Enable the Purchase
One of the main reasons most buyers don’t engage with sales early in the process is that there are so many facets of the decision to address. (And sometimes they don't want a salesperson calling them when they are just looking!)
Now, if steps one and two go well, your buyer will have most of the information they need.
In this stage, try to make the purchase process as effortless as possible by eliminating any friction or barriers.
In a complex buying environment, customers want information that helps them simplify the purchase process, so consider if a checklist, buyers guide or well-designed webpage that walks the buyer through each step would be helpful. And don't forget to offer live assistance to those who want it! Buyer-driven doesn't mean automated, especially in the B2B world.
Suppliers who can provide buyers with clear information will be rewarded. In fact, Gartner research shows that customers are three times more likely to buy a bigger deal with less regret when suppliers provide information perceived as helpful in advancing the purchase process. (2)
4) Experiment, Measure and Improve
Effective buyer-driven experiences will evolve as buyer’s needs and technology changes.
Taking Action to Build Effective Buyer-Driven Experiences
There are a lot of moving parts in a buyer-driven experience. Where do you start?
Take another look at the diagram above. Are there gaps in the experiences you’re providing today? Where in the continuum do they fall? Address those first and then add more.
Put yourself in their shoes and go through the experience you provide -- what would you change to increase its effectiveness? Does it feel “buyer-driven” or are you overtly pushing your sales agenda?
Taking this customer-centric approach will help shift your mindset and help you see what’s required to put the buyer first and help them want to do business with your organization.
Thanks for reading! If you need help with identifying your prospective customer's buying journey, or would like help in creating effective B2B content, please contact us.
Do you have additional thoughts on this? Please post them in the comments or contact us for more information.