Real buyer insight. Or guesswork.
In today’s B2B sales world, self-educated buyers are, on average, 60-70% of the way to a buying decision before they talk to your sales people.
And according to Gartner, these same self-educated buyers spend only 32% of their time interacting with supplier-side content or your salespeople. This has stretched the role of the marketing team from simply engendering awareness and creating interest, to guiding customers throughout the buying cycle and much deeper into the funnel.
With sales not engaged in the early stages of the buying cycle, marketing is forced to deliver content that is both relevant and hyper-personalized to an unknown buyer that is researching options independently, relying on peers, consultants and familiar experiences to make vendor comparisons and determine if you’re qualified to address their problem. All without your involvement.
We rarely hear a recent buyer describe marketing content or a sales interaction that positively affected vendor consideration or selection.
Marketing personas are not connecting with the self-educated buyer
When marketing leads fail to convert, it’s tempting to blame marketing for bad leads or sales for poor execution.
But when you consider that many marketers are shepherding self-educated buyers from awareness through some portion of evaluation by faking their way through with a script aimed at a theoretical personality (a persona) – it makes sense that 79% of marketing leads never convert to sales.
It’s tough to argue with the logic behind “know your customer” – know their interests, preferences, fears and goals. But it’s difficult to imagine that buying decisions for ERP software, CRM solutions, or Marketing Automation systems align with things like our age, our job title, whether or not we like to manage people, or any other garden-variety details you find in a typical marketing persona.
Self-educated buyers are real people. They’re not reading your content, they’re blocking your ads and they’re not engaging with your salespeople.
- Ad blocking growth in the last 12 months 41% 41%
- Unread B2B emails 63% 63%
- Unread B2B marketing content 73% 73%
- Marketing leads that never convert to sales 79% 79%
Forget about fictitious or ideal buyer personas and uncover what matters to real people as they make the buying decisions that you want to influence.
Buyer Insights drive sales results
Instead of getting caught up in all kinds of details about your buyers that may or may not actually matter, buyer insights focus on the things that actually influence a buying decision. The various triggers that cause people not only to engage with your company, but also to make a purchase.
The purpose of buyer insights is to understand the buying decision so well that you know which questions self-educated buyers will ask and the answers they want to hear, so you can create the marketing messages and sales collateral that align exactly with the buyer’s expectations. So you know what the self-educated buyer wants, before they do.
The key is getting to insights that matter. What motivates buyers to find a new supplier? What capabilities self-educated buyers prioritize and why? What they dislike about a lot of the providers they have used in the past, the barriers that prevent them from finalizing a purchase and a score of other specific details about how self-educated buyers make a buying decision.
More often than not, finding those insights isn’t something most marketers are very good at.
So let us help.
INSIGHThought used buyer insights to spot a market shift and drive $2M in revenue.
A provider of ERP applications in the utility market space was struggling to gain the attention of buyers. Their product team had developed a suite of new application features that they believed would significantly change their competitive position in the marketplace but found no measurable jump in adoption.
Our buyer interviews revealed that senior managers at the utility companies had been blindsided by changes in state regulations that were recently reviewed and passed and were now totally focused on avoiding significant fines and penalties due to non-compliance. Our client tested the implications of these new regulations in a survey across their market and confirmed the cost impact that the new regulations would impose and the shift in buying behavior.
Our client responded by quickly developing a monitoring component to their application that they highlighted in a demand generation campaign aimed at helping utilities understand the cost implications of these new state regulatory changes. The campaign was incredibly successful generating over 20% response rate and closing 3 large deals exceeding $2M.
INSIGHThought used buyer insights to stop a competitor and prevent 60-75% discounting.
A provider of CRM software to the financial market was losing 80% of their deals to a single upstart competitor. The sales team was planning to discount by 60-75% to stop the bleeding and brunt the success of this competitor. They were going to win the battle but lose the war!
Our buyer interviews revealed that the competitor had tapped into the key capabilities that buyers were looking for (the same capabilities that our client provided but had considered unimportant) and were successfully positioning these capabilities as their strengths and our clients weaknesses. “I’m looking for the technical details that explain the capabilities of your CRM system said the buyer. I didn’t see any mention of them in your website or marketing materials.”
This executive then went on to describe the particular capabilities that he was looking for and the perceived limitations of our clients solution. Our client responded by revamping their website, content marketing and sales playbooks to address the capabilities and obstacles that were preventing buyers from choosing their solution. They have won 5 of the last 8 engagements.
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