In the many stages of the purchase process, from discovery of a need to learning about the products and services that meet that need to the eventual purchase, buyers are seeking out the information that can help them reach a decision. In today's hyper-connected and digital world, it's likely the buyer you're trying to reach has already done a considerable amount of research on their own and has some understanding of what it is they're looking for and where they can find that information. Are you aware of what they're looking for and where to deliver it? If not, keep reading.
What Type of Information Are Buyers After?
While every buyer and industry may be different, there are trends that emerge when you take a look at why types of information most buyers are interested in. A recent B2B Marketing report found that the most sought after information by buyers are pricing information (71%), technical/product/service specs (60%), and industry/competitive comparison (Tweet this!). While 32% of buyers sought the advice of a company expert, half that number looked for the opinion of their peers. Similarly, the most useful information according to respondents of the study came from a known friend or colleague.
What This Means for Your Business: When you create content, especially more robust pieces such as whitepapers and e-books, focus on these top 3 types of information. Blog posts with industry trends and what different businesses are using, a whitepaper with product specification differences, or an infographic with pricing information will all meet these needs.
What Do Buyers Want the Information to Look Like?
The findings from the report suggest physical events are highly effective ways to communicate with prospective buyers. One in three buyers attended a live event, and they were rated the single most influential information type (Tweet this!). Buyers want decks, presentations and SlideShare documents and are likely to turn to online sites where they can find information in this format before even speaking to a sales rep. 21% of buyers download presentation decks and perhaps one of the reasons this type of formatting is popular is because buyers can scan slides for the specific information they find most valuable without investing a lot of time. Over half (55%) of the respondents considered presentation decks to be influential in their decision making process.
What This Means for Your Business: While attending or sponsoring an event could be costly, it also provides your business with a great opportunity to connect and influence buyers. Find ways to participate in or host in-person events such as meetings, conferences and demos. Look for ways to create or repurpose content in a slideshow or presentation format and make it easily accessible for potential buyers. Content marketing is a hot topic of 2013 and the ways in which your content is formatted can either appeal to or drive away buyers. Make sure yours is focused on the former and can be easily downloaded as a PDF or printed.
Where Do Buyers Go to Find Information?
The most popular way of finding information was to go directly to a supplier website and 47% of buyers in the B2B Marketing study did this (Tweet this!). Perhaps one of the most shocking stats from this study is that only 29% of buyers went via a search engine. Other methods of information collection include an industry specific intermediary, email newsletters, sought advice or recommendations from colleagues and friends, and industry specific online communities.
What This Means for Your Business: If your business's website doesn't have, or doesn't feature, the types of content buyers are after, you could be losing out. You know the information they want and you now know that they are going directly to supplier or provider websites to acquire that information. Get your business website in gear and make sure you're delivering the content and information your buyers are after directly on your site.
Information that is too generic or vague, lacks in comparative analysis, or is too robust can deter buyers from working with your business. Look to find a balance between too little and too much information and focus on delivering content and information that is relevant, whether it's through a SlideShare, an in-person event or on your own site. Buyers are becoming more educated and seeking the information that can help them make a decision. Make sure you're delivering it.