B2B marketing looks a lot different than it did 15 years ago, or even 15 months ago. There’s greater customer-centricity, more personalized experiences, digital transformation is on fire—and even the content and words we use are more personal and casual. In many ways, it’s becoming a lot more like B2C marketing.
And with that, there have been exciting, new ways to reach prospective customers and personalize outreach at scale. But if you’ve been focusing on reaching individuals, don’t miss the forest for the trees. As a recent Forrester article pointed out, your buyer isn’t a person—it’s a group. And that means your target audience just got way bigger.
The trend toward group decision-making in the B2B market is not necessarily new, but it’s becoming more pronounced. According to a recent Forrester study aimed at sellers, 94% of respondents said they sell to groups of three or more individuals and 38% sell to groups of 10 or more.
Keep these three things in mind to optimize how you reach prospective buying groups:
In the digital world, marketers have to look to online behavior such as search engine queries, repeat website visits and content downloads as buying signals. This intent data can provide powerful insights, and when coupled with high-quality contact data, makes it possible to reach the individuals most likely in-market and target them at scale.
“The best buying signal you will ever get is the presence of multiple individuals from the same organization researching your solutions at the same time,” Forrester says.
Use that knowledge to create a cohesive experience for not just the individuals you’re engaging with (through a coordinated, omni-channel approach) but also with the group as a collective. Identify sequences and triggers that make sense within the individual lead and for the group, recognizing that they all have some level of influence on the final decision, and the more you can get on board, the better chance you’ll have to close the sale. Just be careful: even though leads may be from the same company, they may not be part of the same group—there could be multiple buying groups.
As an example, at OMI our approach is to monitor company IP addresses and intent data as they surge to specific content on the internet. We process more than 14 billion new intent signals for our clients each week as part of our intent monitoring services. Our clients can make selections from these signals based on keywords and topics. The signals are grouped into buckets by industry and interest level, with additional insights added about the types of departments and contacts most likely to be associated with these buckets. From there, the data is matched by IP address to the company associated with the searches—and to the potential buyer contacts across that company as well, using our database of more than 17 million companies and 78 million contacts with email.
In recent years, Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has become a mainstay for B2B marketers, and at OMI, we’ve seen clients reap the rewards. By concentrating efforts on targets that have the highest promise and treating them as individual “markets of one,” you can create personalized campaigns that address their specific needs and have a better chance at converting them to customers.
Marketers utilizing ABM tactics already have a leg up when it comes to transitioning the selling mindset to buying groups, but you can’t just lump all the leads from an account together. Forrester notes there could be multiple opportunities within the same company, with different groups having different needs. Marketers and sellers need to be on alert for those needs so buying groups move through the funnel based on opportunities, not just by lead or account.
Yes, B2B marketing today is evolving at break-neck speed. And no, it’s probably not going to slow down. But with that, there are more opportunities to engage on digital channels, adapt to the environment, and find and reach the right customers.
A recent Ascend2 study showed that 68% of B2B marketers expect their digital marketing budgets to increase. With more resources to fine-tune your marketing, how are you going to better reach the right prospects and convert them to customers?
A good start is to recognize you’re not just selling to one decision-maker, but to a group.
Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate B2B data can enable you to achieve better digital marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Go here to find out about leveraging our SMB and medical market data on the LiveRamp Data Marketplace.