Why Critical Buyer Insights Should Not Be M.I.A. In A New Era For B2B

Buyer Insights
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Tony Zambito

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Marketing and Sales Leaders Will Need To Activate Critical Buyer Insights To Meet New Buyer Behaviors in a New Era for B2B

Getting your hands on critical buyer insights that show how to gain the attention of buyers remains the most significant challenge facing B2B leaders.  It was of significance pre-pandemic.  Now, as we enter a new era for B2B and buyers are faced with new realities as we rise out of the pandemic, this challenge will only intensify.  If B2B leaders, like yourself, are expected to succeed at newly formed or reinvented go-to-market strategies, one element that cannot be missing in action is essential buyer insights. 

What we do know is that buyers are living and working in a new reality.  Relationships and interactions with buyers have been disrupted and in some cases, severed.  Resulting in new buying behaviors accompanied by new buyer goals and preferences.  What B2B organizations will still struggle with, even more so post-pandemic is how to better understand shifts in buyer behaviors.  And to gain insights into what these shifts mean to them.

Buyer insights and buyer personas can go a long way towards helping leaders and teams to resonate with buyers.  When I have been asked to examine previous buyer persona work, there are several issues I typically see.  Usually, what is captured is product and sales intelligence about buyers related to their initiatives or priorities, the ubiquitous term of pain points, role-specific details, and generic versions of buyers’ journey.  In other words, critical buyer insights remain missing in action. Resulting in ineffective buyer personas.

The outcome is the struggle remains hard to transition from a product-centric mindset to a true buyer/customer-centric mindset.  One of the biggest reasons why we hear the complaints of buyer personas not being actionable or operational is due to confusing buyer personas with intelligence-based buyer profiles.

What is important to focus on?

There several considerations B2B leaders can make when it comes to making sure critical buyer insights are not missing in action:

1 – Focus on buyer behaviors

Buyer insights and buyer personas arose out of the need to understand buyer behaviors.  We are experiencing a period and a new era where the shift in behaviors is substantial.  Affecting everything from how buyers source for knowledge to how they interact. 

2 – Buyer goals matter

The origins of buyer personas and buyer insights come out of a movement to understand goal-directed behaviors and how they impact choices and decisions.  Goals are foundational to buyer personas.

3 – Insights into buyer interactions

Especially today and in the next few years, digital-based interactions will accelerate much more rapidly post-pandemic.  Altering the landscape of how buyers prefer to interact.  More importantly, how they discover new interactions they adapt quickly.  For example, a significant shift during the pandemic has been the accelerated preference for digital-first and seller-free interactions.  In which, Gartner, claims rose to 43% of buyers surveyed. 

4 – Buying scenarios will have changed

The how and why of buying are being drastically transformed.  Pre-pandemic, we saw many perspectives around buying teams or committees.  Recent interviews indicate strongly that these are metamorphizing into collective buying networks that operate in completely different ways.  Especially on an enterprise level.  This development means generic-based or flip-the-funnel type buyer journey mapping just will not cut it. 

Why buyer insights are important now?

There has never been a more important time to align with buyers.  Leaders will need to reengineer marketing and sales processes to align them with shifts in buyer processes.  To do that, critical insights are needed.  Not just intelligence-based profiling.

B2B leaders will need to develop marketing and sales teams’ abilities to truly understand buyers.  Equipped to activate buyer insights and put them in action.  Marketing can up their level of resonating with buyers.  Delivering just-in-time content and details that inform the buyer in a way that matters to them.  Sales can engage buyers with more meaningful conversations that do not stall with timely buyer insights and buyer personas.  Overall, B2B organizations will benefit immensely by creating buyer insights DNA that translates to not only accelerated revenue growth but also innovations. 

As we look ahead to the next 2-5 years, one thing B2B leaders can ill-afford is to have critical buyer insights missing in action.  It just may result in your organization going missing in action also.