The buyer revolution is in a frenzied uprising. More empowered and influential than ever before, buyers are letting it be known of their dissatisfaction. Several reports during the past year indicate buyers frown upon self-serving as well as product-based content marketing and sales approaches. The power of revolt now a mere click to the trash icon.
What buyers today are beginning to voice is the higher expectations of knowing about their business. With these higher expectations comes a new standard, which must be met. B2B organization must come to the table with business related advice on how to solve business issues – and at the same time, demonstrate how it will improve the business outlook of a buyer’s organization. Pushing product-centric strategies and tactics today will get you pushed out the door.
The Wrong Focus
In the B2B world of literature and reports, the focus has been on the buying process. And, B2B leaders are consuming such content in volume. This may be the wrong focus given how buyers are voicing dissatisfaction. The problem is too much focus on how to push more content and products through the buying process faster. I am not sure this is what buyers are asking for.
What buyers appear to be asking for is greater understanding of complex business issues. Which means, to stop wasting their time with unrelated product solutions. Just as well, to stop making them work so hard to get the information they need. Making the job of solving business issues harder today with increasing volumes of content and sales presentations.
Find the Right Direction
B2B leaders today are faced with the challenge of needing their buyer understanding to become more expansive in order to grow customer acquisition. The standards have changed. It will become clear, obvious, and visible to buyers if companies cannot meet the standard of understanding relevant business issues. And, offer specific plans on how to address. This means more balance as well as a shift in how B2B businesses conduct buyer insight research.
For some, buyer insight research has meant querying the sales force and CRM-based reports. For others, they have put time and effort into quantitative survey methods as well as direct qualitative buyer interviews. With the focus predominantly on selling and buying processes, it leads to not enough as well as insufficient buyer insight research.
It is very much like buyers are going in one direction while sellers are heading in another. While sellers are trying to determine the direction of the buying process to squeeze more content and sales into, buyers are engaged in more encompassing non-linear thinking. This can often mean sellers are not on the same page as buyers.
What Should We Know?
While understanding the buying processes of buyers is one important element, a focus only on this can lead to tunnel vision and being out of touch with buyers. To elevate effectiveness in helping buyers today with complex business issues, B2B leaders should consider gaining more insight about the impact of the following key five elements:
- Organization Impact: Knowing how business issues impact the organization and how new technologies affect organizational behavior is something buyers care about. They are searching for answers and counting on businesses like yours to provide them.
- User Impact: Business leaders and deciders are often grappling with a business issue, which affect their teams. Their teams are often the users of solutions and are gaining a powerful influential voice. With the rise in new technologies in the digital age and flatter organizations, not understanding how to help business leaders in this area is a barrier to growth.
- Customer Impact: Oftentimes, buyer research can be oblivious to a business issue impact on a buyer’s customer base. Insight generated in this area can be profound, especially for businesses struggling with growth or customer retention issues.
- Collaboration Impact: Solving business issues today can be characterized as a team sport. Not knowing how different team members – buyers – behave in relation to a business issue is a serious drawback. The advancements in digital technologies fostering collaboration around business issues are spreading fast. Can you keep up? Do you know how different buyers seek solutions and collaborate with each other?
- Information Impact: As nice as it would be to believe buyer’s are only coming to your site for information, this is not realistic. It is important to identify the sources of information buyers go to when researching business issues. And, whom they delegate as well as collaborate with in the gathering of critical content.
These five elements give us the multi-dimensional perspectives needed to understand buyers today. While buyer research in understanding how to move a buyer from one stage of a buying cycle to the next is helpful, it can lead to a one-dimensional perspective. Which, will actually slow down customer acquisition quite a bit and produce frustrated prospect buyers.
Today’s B2B leaders have to move beyond basic sales-centric and product-centric intelligence about buyers. If you are a leader wondering why, after getting such intelligence the growth needle is not moving, then it may be time to realize buyers have moved on. If you do not get insight into these five key areas, you may be on the platform running to catch the train buyers are on, which has left the station.
(Schedule time with me and a conversation to help you gain more insight into buyers. I am very interested in getting your thoughts and perspectives on how to grow customer acquisition. Please share widely – your peers and colleagues are hoping not to miss the train buyers are on.)