The web has changed the way we do business. The power has been taken from the company (where the sales person used to be the "gatekeeper" of information), and put it squarely in the hands of the customer. You might be surprised to know how much information people online can find about your services, products, and the way buying is done in your industry.
Website content -- meaning blogs, articles, video, guides, etc. -- is an underutilized way to really grab your B2B prospect's attention.
There are a couple of things that we know about the business to business sales process in this "new economy," and specifically about the buyer.
The B2B Buyer Has Risk
Because budgets for B2B purchases are typically a lot higher than a consumer purchase, there's often pressure on the decision maker to make the right decision for the company.
When a C-level executive delegates a task to purchase for the company, that executive will expect a recommendation, some reasoning behind the decision, and perhaps even a "plan B." To assemble all of this information, buyers turn to the web to gather data and mitigate that risk.
The B2B Buyer's Decision Affects More People
When a company makes a capital expenditure or hires a service company to do work for them, the stakes are high. Money spent can't be recovered unless there's a return on the investment, so it's important that the purchase "work out" well for the company.
Because budgets are on the line, it's important that there's enough research behind a decision to make a sound choice. Buyers will talk to peers, post to social media industry groups, search the web for product/service comparisons, etc. to become better informed.
Why Web Content?
High consideration purchases, like capital expenditures, require research, thought and confidence. Using the web to do early-stage research helps the B2B buyer understand different aspects of a purchase. They can justify a purchase to their manager when they’ve looked at alternatives and done their research.
If your company is able to address criticisms of your product or service, compare your solution with others, share success stories (and perhaps a failure of two and what you learned from it), then your company will be positioned for success during the buying process because there are fewer "unknowns."
As much as 60% of a purchase decision is made before a B2B buyer calls a sales person. The sales person is no longer the gatekeeper of information.
Questions For You
- How will your company adapt to this sales shift?
- Can you repurpose website content you might create as collateral for speaking engagements or trade shows?
- Is your sales process suited to handle "early stage" leads and nurture them to a point of sale?