Understanding the B2B buying journey is essential when designing your digital selling strategy. Developing an understanding of who your customers are can help your business to tailor the buying journey to your target audience. When done correctly, this framework can help to improve the effectiveness of your marketing strategy and dramatically increase sales.
The internet has provided buyers with greater autonomy when making purchasing decisions. All of the information that they could possibly need to make an informed purchasing decision is available to them through a search engine.
It has become essential for modern B2B companies to meet their buyers on their terms: on the internet.
The buyer’s journey
What exactly is the buyer’s journey? HubSpot provides a great definition:
“The buyer’s journey is the process buyers go through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a new product or service.”
Ultimately, it is everything that a buyer does before making a final purchasing decision. Understanding your customer’s buyer journey can ensure that you are there to nurture them throughout this process and essentially towards purchasing your product or service. Having a clear understanding of what your customer expects at each stage of the process can help to make sure that you are providing them with essential information at the relevant stages.
The key to successfully guiding your customers through their buyer journey is engagement. Remaining engaged with your prospects throughout each stage of their journey helps to build trust and rapport between you and your prospect. If your prospect trusts you above the competitors, it can give you the upper-hand when potentially converting them into customers.
The buyer journey consists of three stages:
In the initial stage, buyers become aware of an issue that their business is experiencing. The buyer uses digital platforms in order to find a solution on how best resolve their problem.
At this stage of the buying journey, content marketing can be extremely effective. Informative, high-quality content increases brand awareness with your prospects. Content in the form of blog posts, videos, and e-books are among the most effective methods of marketing.
Companies that produce written content in the form of blog posts get 55% more website traffic than those who do not. According to Google, 71% of B2B buyers begin their research through an organic search. Ensure your blog posts are search engine optimized and include keywords in your writing without overdoing it. This increases the likelihood of appearing in the results of an organic search.
Write about the latest topics that are relevant to your industry. When prospects begin Googling these topics they will discover your solutions and, essentially, your product. Social media is a great digital tool for sharing your content. Understanding the social networks that your customers are active on can expand your content audience.
The buyer has identified the solution to their problem using the research conducted during the awareness stage. Now the buyer must research this solution and identify potential suppliers.
You are more than likely not the only business in your industry that is providing the product or services that meets their needs. This is where your detailed content becomes most effective. The quality of the content that you produce can guide your prospect through this stage of the journey.
If your content has been providing them with reliable information thus far, they are going to return to you as a trusted source. Engage with your prospects through the social media channels where you share your content. Building a relationship can push you ahead of competitors.
The decision stage
It is decision time. Your prospect has a list of businesses that provide the appropriate product or service that they are seeking and they are focusing on narrowing it down.
Customer reviews can prove important during this stage of the process. The prospect will conduct research into what products are the best fit for them, taking into consideration the quality and cost. Reading customer reviews minimizes the likelihood of a negative experience.
Providing testimonials on your company website can leave a great impression on prospects. Use your social media pages to share your success stories. Make sure you address any complaints and apologize for any issues that customers might complain about on social networking sites. Only acknowledging the positive reviews can cause further upset among these customers and mar your reputation with prospects.
Some final tips
These three stages make up the traditional B2B buyer’s journey. However, it would be foolish not to consider your customer’s experience beyond the final stage.
If they decide against you, which can occasionally happen, don’t give up on the prospect. Continue to do what you do best. Share your content and continue engaging with your prospects. Keeping in contact can keep your business fresh in their minds for consideration if their situation changes down the line. Your situation may also change. You may expand your business or develop a new product that could suit their needs better than your previous product. You have already done all the hard work so don’t give up.
When the decision goes in your favor the customer’s buying journey does not have to be over. This does not mean that the customer’s buying journey is over. Did you know, that the likelihood of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% compared to just 5-20% for a new customer?
Keep in contact with your customers following the sale. This can ensure that the customer is satisfied with your product while also showing that you care about their experience as a customer.
Satisfied customers lead to positive customer reviews which can help to acquire new customers down the line. Engage with your customer through quarterly or annual reviews. This can help to determine if your product is still meeting their needs and if they are in the position to be upgraded or introduced to a new product.