Inside The Mind Of The B2B Buyer


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Join DemandGen Report and for a live webinar and access to a free report on Wed., February 24th 2010, as we present the findings of a brand new study exploring the purchase patterns of the next generation B2B Buyer.

The verdict is in-- It’s clear that buying habits have changed and customers are:

•             More educated about solutions and competition than ever before
•             More opportunistic and impulsive in their buying behavior
•             More resourceful and connected to other buyers

In addition, the webinar will present case study examples of how emerging channels such as social media, blogs and peer groups are influencing and shaping buyer preferences throughout the buying process outside of the traditional sales funnel.

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  • Historically, the sales rep held all the cards when it came to distributing information about their products and solutions, giving them leverage in any deal they enter in to. Until recently, Analysts held all the cards when it came to product comparisons and ratings. Then the internet came and empowered the buyer with, in many cases, more information than the seller had– we refer to this as the “Google effect”. That was almost 15 years ago!Now with the emergence of social media channels, blogs and end-user-driven review sites, the buyer is armed with even more information and leverage. Sales and marketing professionals need to recognize and embrace this in order to succeed in today’s market.
  • As you’ll see in the next slides, we asked if the buying process followed a traditional BANT path, where budget was established, criteria outlined and then an RFP distributed to a pre-set list of solution providers—77% said the process DID NOT follow a traditional path.
  • New Path to Purchase: For Slides 5, 6 and 7: With the introduction of end-user focused business solutions, “departmental purchases” are becoming more common. By taking IT and Purchasing out of the mix, it’s becoming less necessary to pre-budget purchases of business solutions.You see this a lot with the emergence of SaaS applications. A few reasons for this are:Technical implementation is less necessary.Since there are no hard costs, such as expensive servers -- and maintenance is unnecessary, these systems can be turned on and/or off easily, relegating any long-term financial risk.Cost center allocation can be ambiguous– for instance, the purchase of a SaaS marketing tool, can many times be summed up as a marketing expenditure (which a department head can approve), rather than infrastructure, which requires approval from a number of people across an organization.
  • The channels influencing the selection process:70% indicated vendor web site, which was tied with SearchContent has an influence—54% pointed to white papers, eBooks49% said they had attended a webinarEmails and events lagged at 20% and 17% respectively
  • As we look ahead to the influence of social media—Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs and social bookmarking sites are having a real influence, particularly at the Solution Analysis and Problem ID phases of the buying process.
  • This demonstrates that it’s clear there is no one area in the buying process that people leverage social media in their purchase-making decisions. For instance: Topical-based information is usually very high up in funnel. Often, even before a buyer is really looking for a solution. They may not even know that they have a problem to solve yet. This is an area where you have the opportunity to help guide the discussion in the right direction. Usually, if someone is posting questions about a particular problem/solution, they are beyond the discovery phase. This is where you want to provide content relevant to a solution, and begin to focus the conversation down a path toward conversion. The more focused the conversation becomes, the more directly you can introduce a solution/product discussion.But remember, with social media, your job is to be helpful, truthful, and provide real value. This is something that Chris Brogan refers to as “Trust Agents”– but that’s another webinar all together.
  • This strongly supports the importance of “Pull Marketing” and “Lead Nurturing”. When people are out there researching solutions, where are they getting their information from– Impartial 3rd-parties (press and analysts), peers, or even more importantly, your competitors? It is important that you get your message out there as well, so when they search for it, you have a hand in the game. Before they pick up the phone, they should have exposure to you, your brand and your offering. Think of all the places they could be searching at any point in the buying process and be sure you are visible:SEO and SEMForumsSocial mediaBlogsYour websitePressPeers and peer groupsAnalystsTypes of content:Case StudiesBest PracticesTools that supported ROIVendor Comparison AnalysisWhite Papers/Business Cases
  • This is what we have built our entire business on at In a B2B environment, it is crucial to have the ability to see when someone demonstrates potential buying behavior. We’ve developed our solutions to alert the appropriate sales rep, in real-time, when any of their prospects take a qualifying action – while they are still on their website. If a prospect is demonstrating buying behavior on your site, you can bet they either just came from a competitor’s website, or they are going to when they leave yours. By alerting the sales rep, they can review the prospects online behavior and determine when and how to follow-up with them.
  • I’ll get into this a bit more in a few minutes. We recently ran a webinar titled “The 7 Rules for the Connected B2B Marketer”, where we mapped out the nuances of this. It’s important to provide useful, relevant content for any prospective customer at any point in the cycle. Keep in mind that they may enter at any point in the buying cycle. It’s up to you to help guide them through the process.
  • I recently attended an event that Joseph Jaffe, author of “Flip The Funnel” spoke at (If you aren’t familiar with him, I encourage you to look him up). His philosophy supports this 100%. The quote I remember most, was “retention is the new acquisition”. {Explain}As a SaaS company, we see this all the time. With the cost of implementation being low and the cost of termination being even less, the only we can make money as a company, is to maintain customers by making them successful and keeping them happy. And to take it a step further, as we saw earlier in the presentation, social media can make or break you. If a customer asks about a solution you provide, a product you sell, about your company, or one of your competitors, you want your customers to be there to support you. Nothing is more powerful than an endorsement from a happy customer. You’ve gotta love Yelp!
  • Notice, above the funnel, there are all sorts of activities happening– this is where the high-level content comes into play. Providing the right kind of content for your prospects at every step in the process. To the left of the funnel, you’ll notice these elements are relevant throughout the entire process– including post-sale. On the right, are all of the necessary components to convert a prospect from an anonymous visitor, through to a sale. In order to achieve this, a few things need to happen. Providing great content is not enough– you need to have a mechanisms in place, like web forms to capture personal information, once a prospect is read and willing to take the next step. You need to have a mechanism in place to help carry the buyer through the process. A marketing automation system is ideal for helping to nurture buyers through the process. It is crucial to be able to identify qualified prospects and get them into the hands of the appropriate sales rep in a timely manner. Let’s see this in action. – next slide
  • Here’s a customer of ours: Lumension (not sure if we should call them out by name) Basically, Scott, our VP of Marketing happened to be following their CMO, and had commented on his blog at some point. Because of this, he decided to follow Scott on TwitterScott saw a keyword search term show up in Tweetdeck where the CMO was asking “why he was still using a low-end competitor (which will go un-named) when he could have automated lead management. Scottresponded, noting that he’s interested in helping him solve their problem.Theyexchanged email addressesScott checked our CRM and it turns out, the prospect had been on our site before and had already downloaded an e-book by filling out a form. In turn, it meant that the CMO had been through one of our nurturing programs previously, which means he had previous exposure to us. So he sent the info over to Sales2 weeks later, they were a customer– carrying on the process and tweeting about their success with us What more could you ask for?
  • In Summary: Your prospects are out there and more accessible than ever before. BUT… they are also armed with more information about you, your products, your customers and your competition than ever before. How do you do this?Extend Your Reach: Be there when they begin to search for a solutionBecome a resource to your buyerProvide relevant, valuable and useful contentFor every step in the buying process In a variety of formats – because every buyer consumes information differently2) Elicit Response:The most interesting part is what happens after you reach the prospect and they respond. The days of all content being locked behind forms are gone. Track responses on an anonymous levelProvide high-value content for eventual conversion  3) Develop Relationships:by delivering timely & personalized messages based on prospect profile and behaviorBecome a destination and continue to deliver valuable content over time4) Drive Revenue:Ultimately lead nurturing must feed sales.  If it doesn’t then its hasn’t fulfilled its promise.The nuances of “pull marketing” or “Content Marketing”, is to always progress the relationship toward a desired goal– Conversion to saleFinally, have a system in place to determine when a prospect demonstrates potential buying behavior 1) Extend Your ReachHow do you better reach and engage prospects interested in your market and solutions? There are over 50 million professionals on LinkedIn, 44.5 million users on Twitter and over 350 million fans on Facebook who are increasingly using these types of channels to find solutions to their business problems and answers to their work-related questionsToday B2B marketers can take advantage of this new buying process to extend awareness and influence purchasing decisions. Using URL shorteners like Genius URLs (gURLs) that are specifically designed to track both traditional marketing campaigns and ad-hoc social media conversations, any member of the organization can seed any online conversation, including Google Adwords, Twitter, LinkedIn, blog content, Facebook, or  any other social media activity.  The key, again, is to understand your prospects. Where are they engaging? Where can you provide content as “lead bait” to pique interest? How do you know when their interest is indeed piqued? 2) Elicit ResponseThe most interesting part is what happens after you reach the prospect and they respond Despite all the hype about Social Media, most marketers aren’t sure how to measure its effectiveness Also with more traditional methods, like Google AdWords, marketers rely on cost per click or they rely on landing pages to literally “capture” leads with re-copied content in a non-navigable landing page, and they track lead conversion against the landing page rather than the marketing activity (media buy or social source)  Use all of your available content as a place to “land leads where it makes the most sense” With all of the work you should be doing to make your website content map to your personas and with all the blogging you’re doing, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to track & measure all campaigns to lead conversion using your entire website? With the right system, you can use your most authentic content as a way to keep the prospect engaged and convert them into a leadThe results: More leads and complete campaign accountability back to the media or social source 3) Develop RelationshipsBuild Relationships by delivering timely & personalized messages based on prospect profile and behaviorThe only way – at scale - to determine whether someone is just responding or engaging is to employ a lead nurturing & scoring methodology & track prospect interactions against it Don’t bury your sales team with leads that are too early in the process. When a prospect has multiple relevant interactions with your marketing content, your social presence, or your people they go from “responsive” to “engaged” 4) Drive RevenueUltimately lead nurturing must feed sales.  If it doesn’t then its hasn’t fulfilled its promise. When a prospect is consuming the relevant content and either reaching the lead scoring threshold or exhibiting pre-defined behaviors that indicate s/he is ready to buy, it’s critical to get her matched up with the sales rep in a timely manner When the sales person has the right information at the right time, it serves the interest of both parties and completes the virtuous cycle that began with relevant content and ends with a fruitful, relevant person-to-person conversation.
  • Inside The Mind Of The B2B Buyer

    1. 1. Inside the Mind of The B2B Buyer: Influences Outside the Funnel <br />
    2. 2. Welcome Webinar Attendees<br />Your GoToWebinar Attendee Viewer is made of 2 parts:<br />1. Viewer Window<br />2. Control Panel<br />Type your question here<br />
    3. 3. Panelists<br />Andrew Gaffney<br />Editor<br />DemandGen Report<br />Matt West<br />Director of Marketing Programs<br /><br />
    4. 4. Who Controls Engagement?<br />Less than 10% of recent buyers were contacted cold by the solution provider<br />More than 80% said they contacted the solution providerdirectly<br />
    5. 5. The New Path to Purchase<br />Less than ¼ indicatedbudget was approved or allocated during the beginning of the year. <br />
    6. 6. New Paths To Purchase<br />33% of respondents indicated they determined “the potential impact through other adopters and built a business case for immediate adoption,” then received approval although the project was unbudgeted.<br />
    7. 7. The New Path To Purchase<br /><ul><li> 23% indicated budget was allocated after ROI was proven
    8. 8. 13% said budget was determined after multiple bids were collected
    9. 9. 9% indicated budget was taken from another lineitem.</li></li></ul><li>The New Decision-Making Process<br /><ul><li> 48% utilized a wider variety of sources
    10. 10. 48% took more time to research
    11. 11. 36% did more detailed analysis of costs/ROI</li></li></ul><li>The New Decision-Making Process<br /><ul><li> 30% had more internal team members provide input
    12. 12. 27% relied more on live customer feedback & recommendations</li></li></ul><li>The New Influences<br /><ul><li>78% started with informal info gathering
    13. 13. 59% engaged with peerswho addressed the challenge
    14. 14. 48% followed industry conversations on topic
    15. 15. 44% conducted anonymous research of a select group of vendors</li></li></ul><li>The New Influences<br /><ul><li>41% followed discussions to learn more about topic
    16. 16. 37% posted questions on social networking sites looking for suggestions/feedback
    17. 17. More than 20% connected directly with potential solution providers via social networking channels</li></li></ul><li>Connecting With The 2.0 Buyer<br />Reaffirming the importance of the consultative sale, almost 95% of recent purchasers said the solution provider they chose “provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process.”<br />
    18. 18. New Rules of Engagement<br />Nearly 80% of respondents indicated “timeliness of response” was an influential factor in selecting their vendor. <br />
    19. 19. Reaching the 2.0 Buyer<br />66% of respondents indicated the “consistent and relevant communication provided by both the sales and marketing organizations” was a key influence in choosing that company as their solution provider.<br />
    20. 20. The Post-Purchase Influence<br />59% said they shared learnings from their research and buying process with others. The forums they used included: <br /><ul><li> One on one discussions
    21. 21. Blog postings
    22. 22. Participated in discussion forums
    23. 23. Tweeted about experience</li></li></ul><li>What Does This Look Like<br />Drive to Website<br />Convert via form<br />Nurture<br />Alert Rep of Buying Behavior<br />
    24. 24. Let’s See This In Action<br />Drive to Website<br />Convert via form<br />Nurture<br />Alert Rep of Buying Behavior<br />
    25. 25. What Does This Mean to Marketers<br />
    26. 26. Thank you for attendingtoday’s webinar!<br />Matt West<br />Director of Marketing Programs<br /><br /><br />Andrew Gaffney<br />Editor<br />DemandGen Report<br /><br />