Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2022-01-12
Omnichannel marketing is living up to its name. Today’s B2B marketers are using all of the channels when it comes to reaching the right prospects for their offers and moving those prospects through the funnel. And buyers expect as much.
Recent research from McKinsey shows how B2B buyers’ attitudes and actions have changed since the start of the pandemic. By now, most of us have seen firsthand how the COVID-19 pandemic affected B2B business. No longer easily able to meet in person, digital communication became an imperative and the businesses that were already set up had a leg up on competitors. Yes, we all started video conferencing more, but we also changed how—and where—we targeted prospective customers.
Here are some of the stats from the McKinsey research that caught my eye and how B2B marketers can leverage this information to adapt to the changing business landscape.
Nearly all buyers say omnichannel is as effective as pre-pandemic methods.
It’s a question marketers have been asking since the start of the pandemic — is this new method of selling really working? McKinsey’s early research indicated confidence was so-so, with 65% of buyers in April 2020 saying new sales models were as effective as previous methods. But that number has steadily risen, jumping to 85% by February 2021 and now to 94% in the November 2021 study.
Additionally, buyers are willing to spend more through remote and online sales channels. McKinsey noted that 35% of buyers are willing to spend $500,000 or more (up from 27% in February 2021). Digital channels aren’t just here for starting a conversation or sharing information, but digital buying methods are becoming more prevalent, too.
Omnichannel has many channels.
The number of channels that B2B customers use has doubled in the past five years, according to McKinsey. B2B customers interact with sellers through 10 or more channels, up from an average of 5 channels in 2016. Which makes sense as buyers today are more likely to conduct their own research and there are more options, including webinars, social media content, review sites, industry experts and peer recommendations.
These various channels mean there are many ways to reach a single prospect – that can be good or bad, depending on your data quality. Omnichannel outreach will only be as effective as the quality of your data, so it’s important to ensure you’re sourcing third-party data from a vendor that guarantees validity and doing your due diligence to keep your own data clean with routine data cleansing.
Buyers want a combination of channels.
McKinsey says what B2B customers want is nuanced, but a general “rule” has come through: customers employ a roughly even mix of traditional sales, remote (such as videoconferencing and phone discussions), and self-service (e-commerce and digital portals) at each stage of the sales process. What does this mean? B2B buyers want options. It also means that B2B marketers need to think in terms of omnichannel when planning everything from acquisition campaigns to customer retention. Additionally, it means they need to have content prepared for each stage of the buying journey including the educational phase along with the purchase phase. And brand name testimonials go a long way toward building trust.
B2B loyalty must be earned.
Speaking of customer retention, the rate at which consumers have been changing brands or retailers since the pandemic has been increasing, and McKinsey research suggests that B2B customers could follow suit. The majority of B2B customers surveyed say they will actively look for another supplier if their main needs are not met.
This means B2B sellers must work hard to ensure buyers needs are met, but it also means there are opportunities to target prospective customers looking for a new solution. One of the best ways to find those buyers is intent monitoring to find out who’s searching for your solution. Search engine queries, repeat website visits and content downloads are powerful signals that can indicate a prospect is in-market. This intent data can provide valuable insights, and when coupled with high-quality contact data, makes it possible to reach and target potential companies – who are in-market for your solutions -- at scale. Additionally you can use intent data to identify members of a buying group by tracking IP addresses mapped to the same company. At OMI we process more than 14 billion new intent signals for our clients each week as part of our intent monitoring services.
As McKinsey noted, omnichannel is “everywhere, every time” when it comes to B2B sales. If you’re not already employing a multi-channel strategy, 2022 is the year to start because omnichannel is here to stay.
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, where 95% of our email data matches the identity graph for use with display ad marketing.
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