When a B2B prospect is going through the conversion process, how much of their journey can happen digitally?
The customer’s buying journey is how they interact with your company from the time they first become aware of your product or service to the moment when they buy it. The customer’s buying journey is largely influenced by how well your business interacts with them at each stage in their decision-making process. This blog post will cover how much of the buyer’s journey is digital and how this factor influences marketing strategies for businesses.
What Is the B2B Buyer’s Journey?
Today’s buyer is savvy and informed, so it’s no longer the salesperson who holds all of the power in a conversation. Now they have a lot more options up on their screens than just what you’re selling them — which means pushy tactics won’t work as well for getting your message across any more!
To be successful in B2B sales today, companies must adapt their mindset from selling to helping. And the best way is by becoming intimately familiar with who buys and how they come on this journey: The Buyer’s Journey
Funnel marketing specialists have noticed how prospects are not following a linear buying process anymore. They are looking for information on social media, searching online reviews of the product or service they want to buy, and researching more than one brand before making their final decision. This is how much of the buyer’s journey is digital today – businesses cannot follow only traditional ways of marketing if they hope to meet customer expectations (also in regards to authority marketing)!
To clarify how much of the buyer’s journey can happen digitally, let us break it down into stages: Awareness Stage, Consideration Stage, Decision Stage (you can also say: a) top of the funnel (Tofu), b) middle of the funnel (Mofu), c) bottom of the funnel (Bofu). Also included below you will find some examples that demonstrate how your business should engage with potential buyers at each stage. Keep reading about how to apply middle funnel marketing strategies!
This is the moment when a potential customer becomes aware of you and/or your product or service. It can happen through digital channels such as social media, search engine listings (organic & paid), online ads, etc. You need to grab their attention with helpful content that answers questions and provides value: how much of the buyer’s journey is digital at this stage? A lot – without any information about what you offer, there will be no reason for them to move forward in considering either buying from you or looking elsewhere!
Once customers have become familiar with who you are and how well your products meet their needs — now it’s time to engage them in how much of the buyer’s journey is digital at this stage. They are now looking for further information, more details about what you offer, or how your product/service works — if they don’t find that on their own, maybe someone else has already answered it! This is why engaging content marketing strategies are important to spread awareness and generate leads through social media channels. Google likes to call that stage the “messy middle“.
The final step before making a purchase decision is when customers make comparisons between brands or products they have identified as meeting their needs. Also during this time, buyers will check whether the vendor offers services like how many days are left until Christmas Day, shipping options, etc.
B2B sales – how much of the buyer’s journey is online?
In a world where customers are increasingly relying on digital channels, the usage of these platforms for seller research is increasing. In fact, research from Gartner found that in B2B sales alone 80% occur through online sources and social media. Third-party websites make up another 20%. These statistics and the graphic below demonstrates how much more probable today’s purchasers are inclined to use digital channels compared to previous buyers. This is due in part to the fact that they engage in these sorts of interactions more frequently than face-to-face selling, which was formerly common practice but has decreased significantly over time owing to higher buyer expectations for efficiency.
Are you surprised by the lack of time spent with your sales reps? It turns out that B2B buyers only have a 17% chance to interact with them. This percentage is shown in Figure 2, which also reveals how many suppliers are involved in each customer’s purchase journey – on average 5 per supplier! So it makes sense why their access has decreased over recent years as more objective digital channels become available; customers can get all they need from these new sources without needing an expert advice-giver at hand.
What can your business do to reach the buyers/prospects/leads on the buyers journey?
It’s no longer enough to just be different than your digital competitors. Your B2B organization needs a seamless, easy, and informative digital experience that will blow away any other company in the industry. As more business customer learning & buying activity shifts online–as it did with retail companies long ago- comparisons are inevitable between these two types of industries; but what sets them apart isn’t always clear-cut when looking at how they operate day by day on their respective platforms.
The easy answer is: fish where the fish are and use digital channels to engage with your potential customers.
The answer lies within the buyer journey–the path that all customers take while figuring out whether or not a product/service meets their needs. This process varies depending on who your customer base comprises of and how much information buyers need before making purchasing decisions, but there will always be some form of the digital channel involved at one point or another during this progression towards completing transactions online.
Here are some channels to utilize to cover the buyer’s digital journey:
Awareness stage channels
- Blogging and generally inbound marketing incl. SEO campaigns to get found organically on search and social media
- Find your buyer personas, that are likely to experience the problem you can solve, through performance marketing and paid social campaigns with the help of targeted ad campaigns.
Consideration stage channels
- Once they have become aware of their problems your prospects will start searching for it: drive paid search traffic to your landing pages
- Retarget prospects who had already found you through search or social and have visited your website
Decision stage channels
- A free trial is a great way to get your potential clients hooked on the product. Offer them unlimited access for 1 week, two weeks, or even up until they cancel their subscription with no penalties!
- A piece of personalized content that is very close to the actual conversion. When a person requests a quote, it means they are really “hot” and in demand!
Here’s a more elaborate depiction of content and campaign types that can be used.
These statistics and the graphic demonstrate how much more probable today’s purchasers are inclined to use digital channels compared to previous buyers. This is due in part to the fact that they engage in these sorts of interactions more frequently than face-to-face selling, which was formerly common practice but has decreased significantly over time owing to higher buyer expectations for efficiency.
It’s no longer enough to just be different than your digital competitors. Your B²B organization needs a seamless, easy, and informative digital experience that will blow away any other company in the industry. As more business customer learning & buying activity shifts online–as it did with retail companies long ago- comparisons are inevitable between these two types of industries; but what sets them apart isn’t always clear-cut when looking at how they operate day by day on their respective platforms.