B2B buying has evolved. How can you adapt to it?

B2B

The B2B landscape has changed significantly over the past decade. The evolving technology has made an impact on how sales and marketing functions. With the rise of social media platforms, sales reps have more opportunities to build relationships with their potential buyers. Making cold calls or email just isn’t enough. A sales rep needs to create a personalised experience for the potential customer in order to influence them. Traditional sales strategies are not very effective in this digital age.

 In order to stay relevant to your audience and convert them into customers, it is important to understand how they operate. Let’s take a look at a few key factors that impact your buyers and your marketing strategy.

 Buyers like to do their own research

 There has been a drastic change in the buying process. Instead of the sales reps calling the potential buyers to sell, buyers are now coming to the sales reps with all the information they already have. At one point in time, marketing teams were investing a huge amount of money to generate more clicks on their website where they would offer free downloads in return for email addresses or any contact information. This strategy was a success, however the ROI on pay-per-click and generic forms have eventually reduced.

 The reason is simple. Now buyers are capable of doing to research on their own instead of relying on a company to provide them with information. They can easily learn more about your product or service. The have become more careful about how to manage their time in terms of who they want to do business with. They will research content like vendor reviews, eBooks, testimonials and websites before they contact any company. Once they are convinced that you are credible, they will contact a sales rep for more information.

 Buyers don’t want to ask you

 As discussed above, buyers are doing their own research and thereby changing the buying process. Buyers would not engage with any sales reps till the time they have done their own research and are sure about investing in a company. B2B buyers sometimes choose not to engage via lead forms thus leaving little information for communication. These buyers might dodge sales representatives until they themselves decide to make contact on their terms.

 How do we deal with this? Here are a few solutions in order to ensure your buyer’s interest:

 Display Advertising

 Driving more traffic to your website is an integral part of B2B marketing. There are multiple ways to do this, including search ads, display ads, retargeting, SEO, social media, social ads, site referrals etc. Regardless of what you choose to do, be sure to guide your potential buyers. Take your visitors to landing pages that offer solution to specific problems or any shortcomings related to the industry. Provide relevant information to the buyers that will encourage them to take the next step. Here are some ways in which display advertising can be used in your marketing mix:

  •  Branding and awareness
  • Lead generation, encouraging prospects to visit your website
  • Education through downloadable content
  • Customer success which ensures that customers are engaged with your product or service

 Using Personalisation

 Personalisation refers to tailoring content in display advertisement that is relevant to your customers. It does not use the “one size fits all” approach. Why should one use personalisation? Personalisation helps you gear your efforts where necessary. It will cut down on a lot of chaos and help you focus on prospects that are relevant to your company. It shows the customers products or services that they are interested in. Moreover, personalised emails have more open rates. It sounds great but the real question is how should marketers implement personalisation? And who should be using this in the first place?

 Who should use it?

Personalisation and the efforts taken to implement it, is not for everyone. Here is a list of criteria to determine if you actually need personalisation:

  •  You are aiming to increase your revenue
  • You are already managing to drive more traffic to your website (monthly 10K unique visitors)
  • Your goal is to increase conversion rate on unknown visitors to known leads
  • Your company has a competent marketing team, that has experience with marketing automation, lead generation, email drip campaigns etc.

 It is not necessary to follow all the criteria, but you are more likely to succeed if you fit into any one of these.

 Implementation

You cannot use personalisation unless you understand your prospects. Let’s look at ways how you can narrow down your prospects.

 One way is that you tailor your advertisements based on the behavior of your website visitors. You can add inclusion and exclusion segments to your campaign. These segments allow you to add filters in order to specify your target audience for the campaign. It can take some effort to planning, maintaining and executing this approach. For example, you can set up an ad campaign to highlight an ebook if the person has visited a landing page for it. Then you can set up an exclusion for visitors who have already downloaded the e-book. This results in personalisation based on page loads. Your ads should be relevant to your buyers.

 Another way for a deeper personalisation is to get your buyers demographic data. If a prospect has become a known lead in your automation system you can use demographic information through submitted forms. This can include industry, title, or budget fields to optimise your display ads. You can also use marketing automation data like buyer persona, lead score etc. for a deeper personalisation.

 Here are a few examples of how you can create ads based on these criteria:

  •  Job title: highlight your benefits for a specific job title
  • Industry: use relevant language present your solution for a particular industry problem
  • Company: determine how you can help solve a problem for a target company
  • Lead score: target leads that are above or below the lead score in order to increase ROI
  • Buyer Persona: highlight pain points or problems that are familiar to your buyer persona
  • Lifecycle stage: based on a lead’s CRM stage continue or expire an ad

 The success of your digital ads does not depend on click through rates alone. In order to measure the success of your display ads take a look at whether your target audience took the desired actions or not.

 Conclusion

B2B marketers must realise that buyers have evolved. They make informed decisions and it is going to take more than a call or email to convince them to invest in you. Using these measures can help you become relevant to your buyers and ensure that you maintain a valuable relationship with them.   

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