At B2B events, knowing what your prospect is looking for is half the battle won. If the goal of your participation is sales advancement, then its absolutely necessary for your sales teams to understand the prospect’s business as deeply as possible. In this blog, we explore how targeting customers based on their buying cycle stages can help you advance sales further and generate higher event ROI.
What is the buyer’s journey and why is it important?
In enterprise sales, a buyer is known to be more proactive about identifying his needs and searching for solutions accordingly. About 50% of the decision is already made even before they meet a sales executive. However, it isn’t easy for sales executives to grab their attention at an event. Events are typically rushed days when buyers probably meet multiple vendors. So it is important for sales teams to target them with a more specific pitch based on what they are looking for and how close they are to making a purchase.Typically a buyer goes through different stages between identifying a problem and actually making the purchase. This journey called the B2B Buying Cycle can be broadly divided into 4 stages: 1) Awareness 2) Consideration 3)Decision and 4)Expansion.
To understand this better, we dive into each stage of the buyer’s journey to understand the challenges and opportunities they present.
The Awareness stage
The awareness stage is the first step towards making a purchase. At this stage, organizations in the B2B space are more proactively involved in making purchase decisions as opposed to those in the B2C space. The process of identifying the problem is and arriving at what kind of solution is required is much faster. Prospects usually turn to Google to understand their requirements better. Opinion leaders play a crucial role in this stage as customers tend to look for opinions, product reviews, and research material to understand how best to interpret the issue. In addition to this, SEO can help drive visitors to your site based on the keywords.
Content marketing can play an important role in targeting decision makers and users with the long term value proposition of your product. At this stage, sales executives need to prove how the product will solve a real business problem and add value to the organization at large. This stage also calls for activation of prospects into understanding that a business function can be improvised. There may not be a problem, yet a process can be made better using a smart solution. Once this awareness is created, they will then move to the consideration stage.
Action items for this stage:
- SEO optimize your website content with relevant keywords
- Create a buzz strategy to draw attention to your brand
- Present the type of solution that educates the customer on how to go about solving their problem
- Focus on pain points and customer triggers
- Create product value data sheets, branding stories, industry trends reports and white papers
The Consideration stage
This is one of the most vital stages of B2B event marketing. At this stage, the buyer is aware of his problem and is actively looking for brands that address them. Interactions at this stage should resonate with the customer’s needs and how your brand can be the best possible solution. The customers in this stage keenly observe all the details presented by the brand. Before representatives arrive at the event, they carry out research to include or eliminate brands based on what they have learned in the awareness stage. Great care needs to be taken to prepare event material so that the message conveys all of the required information.
- Focus on product value and features
- Create content that highlights additional values such as single sign-ons and competitive pricing
The Decision stage
Every buyer approaches the decision making phase differently. One of the reasons is because there are multiple decision makers when it comes to making a business purchase. Furthermore, attendees often make the decision after talking to sales executives and understanding how these products can be customized to address their problems.
Communication, at this point, needs to be a combination of education and persuasion. Buyers are looking for relevant data points that back sales the pitch. Free product demos keep help them get more engaged as well as give him the actual product experience. Marketers can also present case studies and client testimonials to provide statistics that reinforce the brand’s position in the mind of the consumer.
- Ensure product experts are present to answer queries on customizations and technicalities of the product
- Display case studies and client testimonials on how your product has been successful in addressing a particular issue
- Introduce experiential marketing with product demos for the buyer to get hands on with your product
The buyer’s journey does not end with the decision stage. Organizations often look for a one-stop solution to multiple issues. If you product provides solutions to other business problems or other teams within your customer’s organization, cross selling and account expansion becomes an important stage. This requires marketers and sales teams to dig deeper into their customer’s businesses to provide extensive solutions.
The key to success lies in presenting your value proposition to influence customers by building on a pre-existent impression. Brand communication in this stage needs to be more influential and should convey how your product can be better than a competitor’s product.
- Curate research modules on how existing customers can help you expand your brand’s reach
- Create content around competitor events and what went wrong with them. Focus on how your product could have made them better
- Highlight benefits of using your products as opposed to competitor products
The B2B buyer cycle plays a vital role in understanding customer mentality and expectations. It is imperative to target your marketing strategy to acquire and expand customers at each of these stages. Only then can you build a strong marketing to sales funnel to generate higher revenue from B2B events.