Is it true that 74 percent of business buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase? According to Forrester, yes. Does it matter? Yes, but only as it pertains to your specific buyers. As Forrester analyst Lori Wizdo explains, "savvy marketing practitioners know that it's irresponsible to build your customer engagement strategy on aggregate trends. The behavior and proclivities of your buyers might be very different from those averages."
So while aggregate stats about the average buyer may serve little purpose in your marketing strategy, understanding as much as possible about your specific buyers and examining their experience can reveal crucial insights on positioning your selling assets for greatest impact.
"Get started by developing a complete understanding of your current buyers' journey and align your selling assets to that journey to ensure maximum effect."
What is the buyer experience? Why does it matter?
In working with B2B organizations we've seen first-hand how a differentiated experience is the most important growth lever for B2B organizations today. As we explain in the whitepaper, "Differentiating on customer experience – Your key to success", "B2B buyers are people, too. And as consumers, they are enjoying stellar experiences in the B2C world and comparing these with your customer journey. Whether you like it or not, the best of the B2C customer experience is serving as a benchmark across all industries."
What's the first step? Be the Buyer
Where do you start? Execute these four steps to develop a complete understanding of your buyers' journey and aligning your sales assets with that journey to ensure maximum effect.
1) Understand your customer
Compile existing data and conduct additional research on the demographic and psychographic details of your customer base.
2) Understand their decision process
Examine the information they seek throughout that process. When do they reference information supplied by
- Your organization?
- Their trusted advisors and professional networks?
3) Understand their engagement methods
How and when do they engage with you? What is the mix of in-person vs. online?
4) Map your content based upon their process (not yours)
When developing your content strategy, step into your buyers' shoes. Buyers' journeys can take a variety of shapes.
Anticipate their informational needs and communication preferences. Harness the information garnered in the above four steps to map out and align your value-based (buyer-centric) selling assets with their decision process.
- Identify when these assets are referenced in the buyer's decision process.
- Identify how they are provided/delivered to the buyer (and by whom).
As outlined in my prior post on B2B's biggest marketing challenges, "In today's B2B reality, you can't sell the way you want to sell — you have to sell the way your customers want to buy." Understanding the process that leads your customer to the purchase decision is the first step in engineering a differentiated customer experience specifically tailored to your unique buyer."
Find out how Baker Tilly can help you continue the process to drive marketing effectiveness and increase growth.