On the awareness stage, the prospect is experiencing and expressing symptoms of a problem and is researching in order to understand and give a name to their problem.
On the consideration stage, the prospect has clearly defined and given a name to their problem and is researching available ways to solve it.
On the decision stage the prospect has decided on a strategy to solve their problem and is now ready to make a purchase decision.
Companies who understand this journey and create content that will help B2B prospects down their journey from awareness to consideration to decision, are the companies who will win over the prospects.
2. Wider stakeholders circle
An average B2B purchase is typically more expensive than a B2C purchase, which means that financial department might need to request approval from a high level executive officer. In most cases, there is more than one decision maker taking part in considering a B2B deal. Businesses often have policies and processes in place to control and regulate procurement. Typically, that would mean that each purchase goes through a standard workflow, where on each stage it is being evaluated by a specific stakeholder according to certain criteria that lie within his competency.
A wide stakeholders circle often results in “authority issues”. A company can nurture and be in touch with a prospect for several months, only to realize at the last minute that there’s another decision maker in place, who is was not part of the relationship and will (naturally) not sign off on the sale. Understanding this at an early stage of the sales cycle can guide B2B marketers and sales reps when tailoring brand messages. The idea is to help out your prospect when having to explain the proposal to the rest of management. This can be done by creating relevant content that answers common objections that other position holders tend to bring up. As early as possible in the sales cycle, it’s recommended to ask the prospect if there is anybody else who should be on the call/meeting. Try and get the relevant personnel on board, and don’t count on your prospect explaining your offer well enough. That’s almost always a recipe for failure.
3. Narrower audience
Along with a wider range of stakeholders to target, B2B marketers typically have a narrower scope of entities in their lead pools. One can go on forever about the benefits and the possible drawbacks of this situation. On one hand, limited scope of customer base means that competition is tough. On the bright side, your customers are easier to research, so you can meet their needs with less effort.
Not having a clear understanding of your target audience is as playing a slot machine – your chances of winning aren’t high. With narrow audiences this is even more critical. The way to go about it is to map out buyer personas – those semi-fictional representations of your ideal buyer. Figure out what your buyer persona’s goals and challenges are. Then strategize your marketing to those personas and forget everyone else.