It has been widely accepted that buying habits have changed drastically in recent years for both business to consumer and business to business buyers. But what is the new buyer reality?
Buyers are operating in a digitally disrupted world. The buying process is now on their terms; it begins when they want to begin and proceeds how they want it to proceed. Buyers do 70% - 80% of their research online to purchase a product or service before they engage with an organization. They are no longer reliant on salespeople for access to information and insights, but will develop their own knowledge about products and services to determine their views and aren’t interested in speaking with Sales until they're ready. To try and curb this or sway this trajectory is pointless and may even have a negative result.
So how do marketers position themselves to be there when their buyers are ready for them?
The Buyer's Journey
The fact that marketers are dealing with a new buying cycle that is no longer linear adds to the complexity of the process. This buyer-centric reality has prompted a variety of well-respected subject matter authorities across the marketing industry to develop an almost unlimited number of interpretations and visuals of the buying process or The Buyer’s Journey. Most suggest there are as many as 7 – 10 stages or more in the buying process. These stages have been adopted by many thought-leaders and marketing organizations, and are arguably considered the “Standard” of defining the buying process. You can learn more about these stages in our guide: Understanding the New Buyer Reality.
While many marketers embrace and rely on the new tools available to help them reach their buyers when and how they want to be reached, it’s easy to confuse those tools with something separate and distinct: the techniques of effective buyer engagement. By confusing tools with techniques, critical marketing fundamentals that are the surest path to success get lost. For example, marketers might be increasingly reliant on ever-evolving powerful tools like the newest marketing automation technologies, but do they know how to optimize marketing performance? Can they enable buyer engagement throughout the Buyer’s Journey via the application of fundamental audience segmentation, persona development, message mapping, content creation, opportunity nurturing and analytic techniques of content marketing?
In order to embrace the New Buyer Reality, you need to understand your audience’s perspective…and win them over one at a time. This isn't always quite as easy as it seems - because many marketers have a tendency to market by touting our own capabilities—what we can do, how we do it and why we’re better. The ironclad rule is not necessarily talking about your abilities; rather, it’s all about your prospects’ needs and pain points. Asking questions to find out what is important to them, not spending time talking about what's important to you.
In other words, it’s not we (the company) that matters—it’s you (the buyer).
Learn more about the new buyer reality and the best way to reach your prospective customers by downloading our guide: Understanding the New Buyer Reality.