Businesses and marketers are constantly looking for more ways to generate leads and market their company more effectively. A 2012 DemandGen survey polled more than 170 B2B buyers involved in the purchase of a solution during the past year. The number of respondents who said they were dissatisfied with their B2B buying experience jumped by 50% over 2011. So how can your business increase the level of satisfaction that B2B buyers experience? Here are three ways to get started.
Provide the Research Content
Buyers aren't wandering into purchases blindly. With the internet easily accessible and stacked with information, buyers are doing their research before making a purchase. DemandGen found that 55 percent of buyers said they spent more time researching B2B purchases, compared to 47 percent in 2011. Because buyers are taking longer to make decision, your business needs to be sure it's prepared to support the buyer every step of the way. From providing research materials about different features of different solutions to a cost analysis calculator, there are different ways your business can provide buyers with the research content they are after.
- As we've written about before, timing is everything. Make sure you are providing buyers with the right content at the right time, whether it's in a blog post or email newsletter. Evaluate your sales funnel and segmentation, the types of content you're sending it out and when you're sending out to make sure your optimizing your efforts.
Be Industry Relevant
While broad topics may be a way to draw in buyers initially, broad generalizations aren't going to cut it. Relevance is important as buyers are looking for specifics about your product/service and their industry or type of business. 53 of respondents said that the relevance of the information a company provided was very important. According to this study, buyers were most likely to cite both the breadth of relevant product information and the educational value of that information as the most compelling elements of their chosen vendor's web site. Again, your business needs to make sure it's providing the right content. Broad content can be a great way to get initial exposure, but industry relevant information, such as case studies, can help you move towards a close.
- Make your industry, and more specific, content easily available. 73 percent said they aren't interested in using social sign-in tools to access content. Buyers are hesitant to request information when it is gated, so be careful when choosing to do so.
Stay Up-to-Date with Expectations
There's a gap between the buyer's expectations the provider performance that needs to be filled. 56 percent of all buyers surveyed rated their experience with a less-satisfied rating. Businesses and B2B marketers need to focus on the customer experience just as much as they focus on the sale. This survey found that 57 percent of the respondents ranked the timeliness of a vendor's response to their questions/inquiries as very important. By responding in a timely manner with the right information your buyer is after, you'll be able to improve their satisfaction with the entire experience.
- Evaluate the training your sales team is working with. Make sure your keeping pace with the buyer's expectations. Your sales and marketing methods need to change as the expectations of customer's do.
B2B buyers are looking for more when considering their options. They're looking for a relevant resource and a business that exceeds their expectations. Businesses trying to reach new customers need to make sure they're reaching out and staying connected to buyers, no matter where that buyer is in their decision-making process. In next week's post, we'll discuss the impact of following up multiple times and maintaining contact.
What was your business's experience with B2B buyers in 2012?