Take a minute and think about your typical work day. How is it different than it was fifteen, ten, even five years ago? It’s likely that a lot has changed.
We most often hear about these changes when we talk about things like “the future of work” and how the workplace is transforming. But what about in the context of B2B marketing? Not so much, but the truth is that creates a blind spot.
Introducing the New B2B Buyer
The changes in how we work have a widespread impact, including on the B2B marketing and sales experiences. That’s because they’ve created a new type of B2B buyer.
Who is this new buyer? She’s informed, she’s connected and she’s busy. In other words, she’s done her research, knows what she needs and she’s looking for a company that can add value and that she can trust. In fact, data from Google and CEB finds that today’s business buyers complete 57% of the sales process on their own before reaching out to companies.
So how can you target this new B2B buyer? It requires building credibility with your target audience by providing the educational resources they need where and when they need them.
5 Tips to Target the New B2B Buyer
In order to build the necessary credibility with the new B2B buyer, you need to be very strategic in how you develop campaigns and interact with leads. For example, you need to:
- Educate, not interrupt: Today’s buyers don’t want to be sold to. Rather, they want to be educated about how they can do their jobs better, and that’s where you come into play. You need to create content and campaigns that educate and add value for your target audience. Doing so will not only keep them coming back for more, but it will also help you build trust with them.
- Lead with the why: Similarly, because modern B2B buyers are primarily concerned with doing their jobs better and smarter, you need to lead with the “why” and let the “how” and “what” follow. For example, “10 Reasons to Introduce Marketing Automation” doesn’t necessarily pull you in the same way “Convert More Leads: 10 Ways Marketing Automation Can Help” does.
- Personalize the experience: The more you can personalize the experience for B2B buyers, the better your chances. This personalization comes down to delivering the right message to the right person at the right time based on their persona and stage in the buyer’s journey. Personalizing content and messages based on these criteria is critical because it demonstrates that you know who you’re talking to and what their needs are, which helps further both educational value and trust.
- Tap influencers and advocates: Part of the fact that the new B2B buyers do their research means that they’re looking at what people who they already respect and trust have to say. As a result, it pays to develop a relationship with influencers like industry publications and other leaders who may then share your content and/or speak positively about your products/services. Along the same lines, you should also tap customers to advocate on your behalf, as a vote of confidence from a peer can go a very long way for B2B buyers.
- Go multi-channel: Finally, you need to be where your customers are, and that means going multi-channel. The new B2B buyers do their research across all types of channels, and the more you can follow their paths, the better your chances are to influence them and build trust.
Know Your Leads
Of course, putting these tips into action requires you to know who your leads are. That’s where a strong marketing automation strategy can help.
Remember: Just because buyers aren’t coming to you directly to talk about their needs early on, doesn’t mean they aren’t interacting with you. As it turns out, they’re likely reading your blog, engaging with you on social media, downloading your content, attending your webinars and so on. It’s up to you to identify these leads and begin scoring them so that you can properly nurture them to the point where they’re ready to move forward with sales.