90% of all B2B buyers in a recent marketing survey by DemandGen reported that the last major purchase they made was initiated by the buyer. If nothing else, this one statistic should tell you one thing: The B2B Marketing game has changed.
The rise of the search engine and the advent of online marketing have shifted B2B sales and marketing enough that traditional strategies are beginning to noticeably lag behind the reality of B2B purchasing.
But it doesn’t end there: Over 75% of the respondents reported that their purchasing decision did not follow the traditional B2B purchasing model:
What does all this tell us? Traditional outbound marketing relied on a heavy imbalance of information favoring the vendor. That equation has been flipped: information is easy for B2B buyers to find and a multitude of vendors are available for contact at the press of a key.
So how do you take advantage of the informed and empowered B2B buyer? 3 Steps – Acquire, Convert, and Grow.
Acquire: The Top of the Funnel
75% of the buyers reported that their purchasing decision began as an informal search for information. The research is clear, B2B buyers use Search Engines, Social Media and Email to develop their consideration set. Our Healthcare Manufacturer data is just as clear- real companies and real buyers are using Search to initiate purchases of healthcare equipment and services.
What this means for vendors is that it is critical for your company to begin integrating Search, Social, and Email marketing into your top of the funnel prospect acquisition process.
With over 200 million searches daily just in the US, and over 50% of survey respondents saying they reached out to industry and peer networks during the initial phase of their buying cycle, it becomes clear that inbound marketing via automated channels can quickly become the most effective and efficient way of filling your sales funnel.
Convert: The Middle of the Funnel
Almost 70% of buyers reported that “consistent and relevant communication provided by both the sales and marketing organizations” was a key reason for choosing a particular vendor. Because while buyers may now have all the information they need at their fingertips, one thing they are short on is time and attention. It is no surprise, then, that “timeliness of response” was also one of the top-5 factors. This is where Endai’s Convert method shines.
Utilizing a key set of analytics measures and building upon every previous touch point with a prospect, the Convert system automates the process of carefully tracking every prospect as they wind down your sales funnel, algorithmically determining when the next optimal outreach or touch-point is located, and what kind of information will make the most impact and drive them closer to your next target: the close.
Grow: The Close, and Beyond
With less than 10% of purchases initiated by cold-calling techniques, customer retention and growth is no longer simply a convenience, it is a business necessity. And with so many buyers reporting appropriate, timely, and relevant communications as being such a vital part of their purchasing decision, customer retention becomes significantly more challenging than a monthly email blast.
60% of those surveyed said that they shared the things they learned from their purchasing experience with peers in their field. So now a good follow-up and client-growth strategy is no longer about the cost savings and convenience of client retention, but an offensive tactic. One that can put pressure onto the buyer to either directly through Social Recommendations or indirectly through Search Citations and Mentions assist in driving new prospects into your inbound marketing funnel. The more effective your follow-up communications, the more the buyer can be leveraged to push new business at your company and the more likely they are to become steady repeat customers, using your company as a preferred vendor.