Not Understanding How Your B2B Buyer Makes Decisions = Marketing Failure
90% of marketing and sales failures stem from missing something crucial in how your B2B buyer makes their decisions.
The B2B market has changed dramatically in the last couple of years.
The B2B buyer has taken control of the sales process:
- They strive to research everything on their own terms.
- They expect to find the relevant answers when searching on their own.
- They want to evaluate their options before talking to a sales rep.
- They give an advantage to companies who help them in their process.
Building your marketing based on your buyer’s decision-making process is still very challenging.
B2B buying decisions are often made by a long and complex process that involves multiple stakeholders.
Also, you will not know where your buyer stands at any given moment in the process and they can disappear without a trace.
On the one hand, B2B marketing is more challenging than ever, but on the other, marketers have never had as much influence on a company’s growth as they do today.
This article will show you how to reinvent your buyer’s journey and how it can be the key to unlocking your company’s growth potential.
Today’s Challenge of Deciphering the B2B Buyer Journey
The challenge is that the B2B buyer journey is non-linear.
Using all the data and scientific methods isn’t enough to truly understand how your potential customers decide to purchase.
Here are a few examples of the challenges we B2B marketers face today.
You need to account for the multiple stakeholders who will have a say, each with varying interests, concerns and goals.
There are technical specifications involved depending on the detailed requirements of individual challenges that your company is solving.
You can’t be sure where your buyer actually is in the process at any given moment. And the sales cycle can take what feels like forever.
You can celebrate one day because your prospect just moved to an advanced pipeline stage. And then you don’t hear from them for the next two months..
When you finally do hear from them, their level of understanding of your solution regresses to that of someone who has visited your website for the first time..
You Probably Don’t Know Your Buyer Like You Think
Now, you’re probably thinking, “I know my buyer and their journey, it’s one of the first things I mapped out when I first started the position”.
I’m sure you do have a buyer’s journey mapped out. But when was the last time that happened? When was it last reevaluated in light of changes in the market?
Your buyer is a human and sees things differently today than a year ago. This is definitely true in many areas of their life in general. When it comes to their problems in the perspective of where the market is today, your product/service has a good chance to have changed drastically.
The first place to begin the reevaluation process should actually be your ICP.
Don’t work on an entire 2023 strategy before covering these basics.
Developing a strategy can only begin after you have a clearly defined updated ICP and decision maker that reflects today’s reality. Read our article on updating an ICP in 2023 here.
How to Create A B2B Buyer’s Journey in 2023
There are many good B2B buyer journey mapping guides out there today.
This is not meant to replace those, rather, these pointers are meant to give you additional factors to use for further refining your buyer’s decision process.
1. Know your ideal buyer persona
Reevaluate your ICP and your ideal buyer considering the biggest shifts that occurred in their world over the past year. Personalize your messaging and make your sales funnel more effective accordingly.
2. Buying triggers
Focus on your buyer’s specific trigger that causes them to initiate the journey. When you map it out, you can clarify their pains and goals.
3. Know the buying shifting point
Every buyer has a moment when they decide internally if they want your solution. IT IS THE SELLING SHIFTING POINT. They are now ready to proceed and are looking for a provider who can provide the solution.
4. Always be learning and testing what works
Buyers are not robots. Every buyer makes decisions at a different pace. Find out what works and test variables so they can relate to different types of buyers.
A Different Approach to Your 2023 Go-To-Market Strategy
You might be considering going with the obvious and easy route for planning your 2023 strategy by replicating whatever ‘worked’ in the previous year. And, of course, dump whatever didn’t work.
For instance, a webinar you ran that was generated the number of leads to help hit the MQL KPI.
Well, that obviously means that there will definitely be a webinar this time as well. Right?
Or, maybe you tried to run an ABM direct messaging campaign on LinkedIn that didn’t generate enough leads – it will not be part of 2023’s plan.
While this may seem like a logical approach, it is, in reality, wrong and likely to set you on a path of failure.
Why One Tactic Worked And The Other Didn’t?
Looking back at 2022, Did you evaluate which marketing tactics actually worked and which didn’t?
How different is your 2023 marketing strategy from what you ran in 2022?
Will you be dropping the tactics that didn’t work?
You’re in the wrong direction if you’re focusing on the determining factors for which tactics will make the cut in your new plan because it’s not a question of one tactic or another.
It’s Not About Tactics, It’s About Knowing Your B2B Buyer
Your marketing efforts failed because they didn’t meet your buyers where they needed to. The reason for the failed campaign in 2022, is that you didn’t address what actually mattered to your buyer.
Go back and look at the offer. The messaging. How did you communicate the challenge that your buyer is experiencing? How did you communicate your solution?
If you didn’t see the success that you were hoping for, it’s most likely that your messaging simply did not resonate with your buyer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR