Guest post by Marie Johnson.
If you’re in B2B sales or marketing, you know how challenging it is to get the attention of today’s buyers. B2B marketers are struggling more than ever to get targeted prospects to engage; almost 60 percent say it’s a challenge for them to generate new leads, according to Chief Marketers’ 2019 B2B Marketing Outlook report.
Although B2B sales and marketing teams have more channels that ever through which to reach buyers, they also have more obstacles to overcome in order to attract buyers and encourage them to engage throughout the sales funnel.
B2B customers are using larger buying committees to review potential purchases, they’re gathering almost all of their product research from digital content, and they’re taking longer than ever to make final purchase decisions. Cutting through all this noise is making it extremely difficult for sales teams to connect with potential leads.
In such a competitive environment, how can your team connect with today’s B2B buyers? In addition to the six ways to connect with hard-to-reach business buyers previously detailed, here are three more ways to get their attention.
Appeal to the Customer’s Needs
In the B2B Marketing Outlook report, B2B buyers were adamant about their desire for sales to demonstrate experience with, and knowledge of, their industry. Whether it’s utilizing case studies or industry reports in your marketing materials, or making adjustments to your product offering to best suit your customers’ needs, be sure to demonstrate you understand their unique industry challenges and can offer a tailored solution.
In recent news, cloud services company Oracle recognized the busy schedules and workloads of the sales teams they were selling to. So they equipped Oracle applications in their suite of sales tools with chatbots that help to automate mundane tasks and increase sales productivity. By adding this feature to their product, Oracle is recognizing a customer need and offering a unique solution.
Create a Strong Social Presence
More and more B2B buyers are turning to social media and online review sites to research prospective products or services. Whether it’s sites like TrustRadius or B2BMarketing.Technology, or even Facebook or Yelp reviews, online platforms are becoming integral components in the product research phase of the sales funnel.
B2B buyers today will progress through the majority of the decision-making process without ever engaging a sales representative; 67 percent report that online reviews are a “very important” consideration in their buying decision.
This means B2B companies must make a positive first impression with prospective customers, before any one-on-one contact. Prospect are increasingly closer to making a buying decision before reaching out to a sales rep.
Having a strong online presence provides a way for buyers to research your organization, become familiar with your offerings, and decide whether or not they want to buy. Be sure to maintain a presence on review sites specific to your industry, and don’t underestimate the power of customer testimonials on your own site.
Reach out to a few top customers and ask them to write a powerful recommendation that you can share on your website or social media channels. Additionally, post consistently on your social media platforms to increase engagement with those that might be researching your brand.
Be the Hero (to Your Customer—and Make Them the Hero to Their Business)
While much of today’s B2B buyer research indicates that sales prospects dictate a great deal of the buying process, a CEB study also found that modern buyers are actually struggling to get through that process.
The noise that’s continuously proliferating in today’s marketplace not only works to the disadvantage of the B2B seller, but to the B2B buyer, too. With so much information at their fingertips and so many options to evaluate, many feel so overwhelmed that they suffer “analysis paralysis.”
As noted in the book Building a StoryBrand, almost every hero has a wise guide who helps him or her achieve greatness: Luke Skywalker has Yoda, Batman has Alfred, etc.. Make your customer the hero in solving their organization’s pain, but make your company and product the wise mentor who helps them achieve greatness.
If your sales team can be the one to step up and guide the buyer through their purchase journey, the CEB study anticipates that you’ll stand a stronger chance of closing the deal. They report that, “suppliers that make buying easy are 62 percent likelier than other suppliers to win a high-quality sale (one in which the customer buys a premium offering).”
Using your sales team as a helpful resource in the customer’s experience not only guides them to making a decision, but also creates a better relationship, positive experience, and lasting reputation.
Putting yourself in the shoes of your potential buyers and understanding what they really want is key to getting the attention of today’s B2B buyer. Utilizing the above insights will not only get you noticed, but will put you at the front of the competition to land the sale.
Marie Johnson is a contributor to Enlightened Digital, UX designer, and technology writer from New York City. When she’ not writing her latest blog post in her kitchen, you’ll likely find her strolling through Central Park, cappuccino in hand.