In many B2B purchase decisions, the ultimate choice is often made by a small committee consisting of potential users, stakeholders and influencers. A new report from Gyro uncovers some insightful dynamics that impact the B2B sales process, and what marketers should do to get their product(s) selected by this committee.
For starters, more than two-thirds of respondents in the report pointed to content, research and expertise as the most likely ways to influence decision makers early on in the process. What else can businesses do to ensure their name rises to the top of the decision list? With help from Gyro, here are my recommendations:
- Start early: With much (most) of the decision process already made by the time a selection committee is formed, marketers need to reach influencers much earlier in the buying process than they may have previously thought.
- Identify your champion: The project champion wields the most influence on the purchase, which is why it’s important for marketers to identify and target this individual as early as possible. Then, determine how your business/solution meets their needs in a language that might best appeal to them. Even further, determine how it might help them personally. For example, if your champion comes from finance, perhaps an emphasis on figures and cost savings may be the best approach.
- Engage in other arenas: Don’t just rely on the champion to seek your content online. Try engaging via other channels, such as social media, blog posts, published articles and professional associations. Offer to set up online presentations in which the champion can address their specific challenges and ask questions.
- Provide helpful content: I can’t emphasize enough the importance of providing helpful content with guidance on how to solve a problem, along with data and research that verifies the benefits delivered to companies or peers who faced similar challenges. Case studies illustrating real-world success are best here, as opposed to just communicating the greatness of your product.
- Connect on emotions: Remember that even the most analytical of champions is still a person, and showing you understand and empathize with their plight will put you on the path to success. Connecting on an emotional level, showing you would work well together and that you are aligned from a cultural perspective should help ignite purchase decisions.
- Mind your manners: Even if you believe your solution is hands down better than the competition, never come across as arrogant or condescending. When given the opportunity to engage with the committee, ask great questions, be a good listener and follow-through with any promises on your end. Finally, even though your main target may be the champion, address all participants with respect and courtesy.
- Always be influencing: Once you have identified (and hopefully sold!) the champion at this firm, focus your marketing efforts on reaching other similar influencers who exist at other companies. Ensure your messaging is written with this champion in mind and offer materials that this person would find helpful and insightful. Consider ways to gather feedback and insight from these influencers by establishing listening panels or events, user groups or customer advisory boards.
Navigating group dynamics can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be rocket science either. Always remember that your buyers are still humans and making emotional connections should ensure your product is selected more often than not.
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