1) In a typical firm with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions. (Source: Gartner Group)
Buyers are more and more afraid to make a significant business decision on their own. Some of these fears are justifiable and some are not. The reality for your growth is learning how to market to and sell to a team of buyers. You must be perceived as a credible business partner and be able to get engaged with and understand the frustrations and challenges of different personality types involved. Every buyer needs a certain type of information, as well as a certain amount of information, in order to make a decision.
2) Today’s sales process takes 22% longer than 5 years ago. (Biznology)
Not only are the sales more complex due to the “team of buyers” discussed above, but budgets have also tightened over the last decade and companies have been operating leaner than ever. In addition, B2B sales environments have become much more competitive due to globalization and the internet. These factors and more have caused the sales process to drag out longer than in the past.
3) 93% of B2B purchases start with an internet search.
It’s simple. If you want to grow your business, you must be found when people are searching the internet. People will search using the products and services you provide and they will search based on a challenge or need they have. Either way, we work with our clients to ensure there are ‘motivation matching’ landing pages and content to match the searches being conducted. We collaborate with our clients to develop content that answers questions their potential customers are asking.
4) B2B buyers are typically 57% of the way to a buying decision before actively engaging with sales. (Source: CEB)
You must be visible in multiple channels so that your buyers become aware of you and visit your website. It is a necessity today to have a world class website that conveys credibility and communicates a strong, clear value proposition. The most important job a website has is to convert visitors into sales leads which then turn into revenue.
5) 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions. (Source: CMO Council)
When was the last time you added fresh, engaging content to your website that provided value to your potential customer? Do you put time on the calendar to meet with your sales and marketing team? Your buyers are spending more time doing their research prior to engaging your sales team, so you must help them learn who you are and how you can solve their problems. Plus, an educated buyer can help shorten the sales process.
6) 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information from a series of articles versus an advertisement. (B2B PR Sense Blog)
The primary objective of any advertising or awareness campaign should be to drive buyers to rich, relevant content on a landing page or on your website. In doing so, you can test which content resonates most with your buyers. This is not to say advertising can’t drive a return on investment. In fact, all campaigns should have built in, isolated tracking mechanisms to determine the overall effectiveness of the ad-spend.
7) 63% of consumers need to hear company claims 3-5x before they actually believe it. (Source: Edelman Trust Barometer)
We have all heard about the importance of “Top of Mind Awareness”. As previously mentioned, you must be able to communicate a strong value proposition. You must also have a compelling company story, a mission, and credible experience that help your buyers decide you are the company that is right for them. Once all that is developed, you then must be consistent with your distribution of your messaging in as many places and platforms as possible. Part of the work here is gaining an understanding of where your target buyers are doing their research.
8) Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. (Source: The Annuitas Group)
There are some great tools available to allow you to share your expertise with your target buyers. There is tremendous revenue value in educating your buyers about all the facets of your company and your capabilities. Putting this strategy in place is one of the most challenging initiatives a company can take on. In recent years, the market has become saturated with email marketing software – many of which are very good. However, all too often we hear stories from business owners and/or marketing directors who have invested for months in these software platforms expecting huge results, but in turn, were sadly disappointed when they didn’t fully utilize their investment. Why didn’t they? They did not have their lists segmented – or didn’t even have lists. They did not have supporting content created. They weren’t able to get the sales team involved to really think through a nurturing process that would fit into their sales process; this is almost always due to a lack of time. So, you must plan ahead first, and then invest in the software. Plan the work, then work the plan.
9) Top sellers use LinkedIn 6 hours per week. (Source: Jill Konrath)
Your target buyers are almost guaranteed to have a profile on LinkedIn. One of the most under rated aspects of LinkedIn is the messaging capabilities. Messages that get sent from LinkedIn –not inMails that are paid messages – get opened. This allows you to break through the “noise of email”. LinkedIn also provides quality information about your potential buyers. Herein lies the challenge for most marketing and sales professionals. Doing the research, the content development, the posting, and the outreach on a consistent basis takes time. Lots of time. However, this go-to-market strategy should absolutely be part of your B2B sales growth.
10) 84% of CEOs and VPs use social media to make purchasing decisions. (Source IDC)
Leslie Gaines-Ross, Weber Shandwick’s chief reputation strategist said, “Chief Executives are decidedly testing the social waters.” By increasing their online presence, CEOs are demonstrating that they “care about attracting the best talent, understand the need to better humanize themselves and are more in-tune with where their stakeholders are,” among other things. When you look at your LinkedIn connections, you should see your influence growing continuously among your peers and more importantly, your target buyers. Top executives in charge of revenue growth have always seen the value of networking and building relationships. Now more than ever, LinkedIn is readily available to help them do this globally at a much more rapid pace.