In the world of businesses who sell to other businesses, the buyer’s decision-making process has grown increasingly complex, leading to longer sales cycles and lower conversion rates.
But some organisations have solved this challenge. In this blog post, we will explore actionable tips for navigating this complex B2B decision-making process. In short, success means providing the right message and content, at the right time, to the right people in the buying centre. Master this and you will become dramatically more successful.
Doing your bit to streamline the decision-making process is crucial for improving conversion rates. Organisations should focus on providing support in the form of advice, guidance, information and resources to clear the path to purchase of any obstacles that might be in the way. Certainly remove any unnecessary complexity and bureaucracy in dealing with your own organisation, to avoid decision fatigue and ensure decision-makers have the necessary information at each stage. By providing effective support of the buying process, businesses can enhance the likelihood of converting leads into customers. Map your processes carefully to the different stages of the buyer’s decision path. g2m’s TrustPathTM method, defines the buyer’s stages as Trigger, Learn, Try and Buy. Are your marketing and sales processes aligned and mapped to the way your buyers purchase rather than your internal processes? Are your sales people trained to aid, guide and assist buyers, rather than simply flog the features and functions of your solution? Do you have the best decision support information and content?
Engaging with key decision-makers is vital to drive conversion rates. We recommend conducting thorough research to understand the decision-making structure within your target organisations. If this isn’t possible due to cost or time pressures, then at least thoroughly interview your salespeople, who can act as your voice of the customer. By identifying the roles that hold the decision-making power, businesses can tailor their outreach, messaging and content to address each buyer’s specific needs and pain points. Typical B2B buying centres comprise 6-10 people, each all with different roles and levels of influence.
g2m’s TrustPathTM method builds a Key Decision Maker (KDM) matrix across the four steps of the buying path. Identifying how decisions are made allows salespeople and marketers to be much more precise in how they build influence over buyers. Building relationships with these decision-makers is essential for moving the decision-making process forward. Remember not all decision makers are involved at each of the four stages of the buying path. In addition, while some buyers may not have the authority to say “yes,” they do have the power to say “no” and effectively scupper the deal. It’s crucial you understand how to wield influence over the full buying centre.
Produce Persuasive Early Stage Content: Persuasive content plays a significant role in influencing B2B decision-makers. We can’t emphasise enough the importance of developing content that educates, informs, and addresses common objections and concerns at the early “Trigger” and “Learn” stages of the buying path. The outcome of doing this well is a greater level of trust in you, the seller. This means being genuinely and authentically helpful and at this early buying stage resisting the urge to show how your offering delivers value, instead focusing on understanding and sizing the problem and helping buyers see the benefits of fixing it. This is the most effective way to steer decision-makers towards choosing your solution.
Offer Customised Solutions: Tailoring solutions to meet the unique needs and challenges of each prospect is essential for improving conversion rates. We recommend avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach and instead demonstrate a deep understanding of each prospects’ specific requirements. By offering customised solutions, businesses differentiate themselves from competitors and position themselves as trusted advisors throughout the decision-making process.
Foster Trust and Build Relationships: Building trust is a critical factor in complex B2B decision-making processes. Invest time in building relationships with decision-makers. By engaging in meaningful conversations, actively listening, and providing transparent information, businesses can establish themselves as trusted advisors. By fostering trust and nurturing relationships based on mutual respect, organisations significantly increase their chances of success.
Alignment matters. Marketing and sales must speak with a unified voice. It is unsettling for a buyer when the messaging they get from marketing is not aligned to discussions they maybe having with a sales or a customer service person.
Successfully navigating today’s complex B2B decision-making requires careful planning. It starts with all functional areas that deal with prospects and customers aligning themselves to the buying path, not their internal selling path. Then mapping who sits within the buying centre and wields influence at each of the different buying stages. Ensure your content and messaging is aligned to each stage of the buyer’s path. Don’t be surprised if you find gaps in your story, most of our clients do when they perform an audit. Focus your content and information generation efforts on plugging those gaps. By doing this your team will speak with one voice and in ways that are designed to genuinely support buyers as they move along their decision-making path. Employing this approach requires some initial commitment but the rewards will come in higher conversion rates and faster decision making.
If you would like to find out more about our TrustPathTM method and discuss your own circumstances please feel free to book a time, we love nothing more than discussing how to use messaging and content to speed up your funnel.