When you think of traditional business to business (B2B) selling, you probably think of salespeople making cold calls to dig up leads and convince them to try their product or service. While tradition sales prospecting techniques still have their place in the sales process, the latest research points in a different direction.
Research shows that up to 60-90% of decision-making in B2B is made before the decision-maker approaches the supplier:
“A CEB (Corporate Executive Board) study of more than 1,400 B2B customers found that those customers completed, on average, nearly 60% of a typical purchasing decision – researching solutions, ranking options, setting requirements, benchmarking pricing, and so on – before even having a conversation with a supplier.”
“SiriusDecisions reports that 70% of the buying process in a complex sale is already complete before prospects are willing to engage with a live salesperson”
“Two-thirds to 90% of the buying cycle is completed before a B2B buyer ever speaks with a sales rep.” – Forrester
“Business buyers spend just 21% of buying cycle in conversations with salespeople, instead spending 23% of the time in conversations with peers and colleagues and 56% of the buying cycle searching for and engaging with content” – IDG Connect
At the extreme, a buyer will get 90% of the way towards making a final decision on whether to purchase your product or service before speaking with a sales rep.
That’s great news for companies with effective digital marketing strategies. The more informative content you can give the potential buyer, the better your chance of making the sale before you even speak with him or her.
But you need great content, and you need your potential buyer to be able to find it. To do that you need your digital marketing to include:
1. Creating the right content that will inform and engage.
2. SEO – Optimizing that content for search engines to find.
3. Sharing that content on relevant social media platforms.
There’s still a role for a great salesperson who can build relationships and close deals. But the process of generating those leads has changed. Consumers want as much information as they can get to base their decisions on. And there’s plenty of information out there in the digital sphere for them to use.
To be successful, B2B companies need effective digital marketing strategies to create superior content and get it in front of their potential customers.