Modern B2B selling is a tricky process. To make B2B sales in today’s climate requires convincing entire purchasing departments to accept your offer, multiple touch points, and a lot of patience. And after all that hard work? Your prospects have often already made up their mind based on their own independent research long before you ever reach out. Despite these challenges, a deep understanding of your buyer’s journey and a well-planned outreach strategy goes a long way towards ensuring all your potential buyers are contacted at the right time, with the right content, primed for the sale and converted to repeat customers.
What is the buyer’s journey? It’s the process your buyers go through each time they make a purchasing decision. It is broken down into 3 stages: awareness, consideration and decision.
Below we outline in detail each stage and explain how to personalize engagement with your prospects while they pass through each phase on their journey to becoming your customer.
The Awareness Stage (Problems as far as the eye can see...)
In the B2B awareness stage, prospects are usually looking for explanations to their problems. They are most likely doing research online and searching for advice. Either they themselves or a superior has identified something that isn’t working as well as they want in the company, and they are now tasked with trying to gain understanding of that problem.
Create “diagnostic” focused content like blogs or ebooks, that provide your prospects with answers to their questions and solutions to their pain points.
Share your content through email drip campaigns with calls to actions that guide them to your website, and invite them to request more information. You can accompany your emails with priming calls to help them discover and understand their problems. Priming calls are like the primer you paint on walls before laying down your fresh new color: they prep your prospects for the sale, stimulate interest and nurture relationships. The goal at this stage is to be an impartial ally and offer them genuinely helpful information.
The Consideration Stage (There is hope on the horizon!)
In the consideration stage, prospects understand their problem and have identified the need of a product or service. As modern B2B buyers, they will continue to conduct their own online research and learn about the best options available to them via social media and thought leaders.
At this point they are looking for experts that will help them make the best decision and help them clearly explain the decision making process to their team. Discovering the best solution to their problem means “a job well done”, so they are highly motivated to interact and learn about all possible solutions.
Create content like case studies or expert guides that focus on the benefits and solutions you offer to solve their problems.
It’s important that the prospect has the complete picture of alternative solutions so they can prove to anyone involved in the decision making process (often large teams) that they considered different options. Make sure your content is available on your website, as not all of your prospects necessarily start their journey in the awareness stage. Follow-up with your prospects through email and calls to discuss all the solutions you offer and guide them to find the best solution for their company.
The Decision Stage (Offer YOUR solution!)
The final stage of the buyer’s journey ends of course, with the purchase. This stage is the most sale-focused stage of the process, in which the buyer has narrowed their focus and is comparing your company to a select few of your competitors. Content should be aimed at discussing the specific benefits your product or service offers, and clearly outlining your product and/or service’s most impressive qualities.
Create buyer’s guides, product comparison sheets and white papers. Offer free trials, demos, and incentives.
Don’t be shy, at this point you have followed your prospect through their entire journey and you have started to build a relationship with them. Reach out to them, talk about your company, show them your benefits, and keep your company top of mind.
Actively reaching out is crucial to better position your company for addressing the needs of your target audience and priming your prospects for the sale. Remember the different motivations your prospect has at each stage of the Buyer’s journey. Then be sure to educate your potential buyers on possible problems they have not identified yet, offer solutions and explain benefits, and attentively call and email with helpful information to aid their decision-making process.