Why is it so challenging to sell to B2B buyers? For starters, there has always been a greater number of people involved in the purchasing process than B2C. And as it turns out, this number is rising.
Organisations often have formal buying committees that review purchase deals. It’s more difficult to sell to a group with varying objectives, rather than to an individual. Throw into the mix the generational shift with millenials taking the workforce by storm, and it’s enough to make any sales team hot under the (white) collar.
One report revealed that 73% of millenials are involved in some aspect of purchasing at their B2B organisation, while one-third are the sole decision maker. So, how do we define a B2B persona when there are so many individuals involved, and the landscape is rapidly changing under millennial influence and the advancement of technology? Don’t worry, it’s not all bad. The first thing to do is look at specific behaviours in order to understand them better.
Just like the traditional consumer, modern B2B buyers are conducting their own research using a variety of channels, in order to come to their own informed decisions. B2B buyers are spending more time online when shopping for vendors and solutions. The transparency of review sites and peer recommendations are extremely valuable, and professional social media sites such as LinkedIn are incredibly influential. It’s time to get out there and get that data!
Content is King
It’s essential to provide helpful and informative content at every stage of the buyer journey. Why should your brand be trusted with the buyer’s budgets, when the differentiation between price and core features is becoming increasingly narrow? A value-add content strategy captures the attention of the millennial B2B buyer, and by ensuring a B2B organisation’s data capture and analysis is transforming, this can be highly targeted. However, this needn’t exclude the consumption behaviour of older buyers. You can still create whitepapers, whilst also developing snackable video content for a younger audience.
The more information you can gather on the psychology of a buyer, such as the challenges they face and the attitudes they have, the better you can understand what is important to them and what will benefit them in terms of a solution. In today’s digital and connected world, despite the challenges of fast-paced evolution to keep up with, it’s also easier than ever to research the people involved in the buying process.
Beyond stepping into the buyers shoes, it’s important for B2B organisations to remain considerate of the end customer’s needs. B2B brands have to be vigilant to not only optimise their customer experience, but they must also evolve to have meaning beyond the products they represent. Millenials are looking for brand authenticity and a connection to core values, and this must shine through in all marketing communications, as well as the traditional emphasis on robust technical support and customer service. Authenticity counts for a lot.
The tactics used to engage a B2B buyer may be changing, but they are firmly rooted in the tradition of fostering trusting relationships with customers. Do that right and everything else will follow.