Subhakar (Stanley) Rao Surapaneni

Investor *Sales and Marketing Pioneer * Author* Technology Champion *Philanthropist * Leadership Mentor

Marketers should first expertise in B2B buyers’ journey-Why and How?

B2B buyers’ journey

Today’s customers don’t need a salesman, rather they find a business themselves once they have figured out their pain point.

The sales process and buying stages have changed. Thanks to the buyers who are more educated than before to access product details directly from sources rather than salespeople. This predicts the death of the sales role!

Buyers today are 57% the half way in the sales process before they contact a final supplier. While for some, it is 70% through to the buying decision before reaching the vendor.

The challenge to marketers

Today’s consumer expects engagement & entertainment to be controlled by them. This is the new reality.

Buyers remain invisible until they contact the vendor to purchase. Even if marketers are on their way to figure out potential prospects that are likely to buy, the variations and instability of B2B buyers’ mind owing to influencers (internal & external), brand choices and reviews makes sales more difficult!

A buyer goes through a series of mix and match of a number of mental processes -uncertainty, doubt, fear, conflicting egos, fickleness, changed minds and power grabs by strong brands taking control of the conversation are changing the fortune of brands.

At this juncture, how will brands stay up with the changing consumer’s mind via cross-channel experience?

Indeed, this seems a challenge for most marketers. But for some brands, they are turning this to reality through their smart moves. Today’s customer check their phones 150 times a day, browsing the product they like which they once glanced in website, send mails, texts or  answer mails. While these activities are termed as “new micro-moments” by “Think with Google”, that can take place any time, accidentally, planned or orderly. To gain control in those short moments, brands need to refine several stopovers of the B2B buyer’s journey before anchoring them into the sales funnel.

This post discusses about changing needs of B2B buyers journey and how best brands will address them in near future.

  1. Smart brands will help customers gain control over brand connection

It’s not about how brands connect customers; it’s about how customers connect brands. With consumer demanding more control over brands, tuning channels 24/7, digesting content they like, this will throw the onus upon what customer “wants” precisely rather than what brands supply. And not just real “needs”, brands need to identify the real “moment” and act on the needs in the moment.

  1. Raw consumer data will tell brands how to behave

Today data in the form of feedback and comments are flowing across each channel and each platform igniting massive conversations loaded with mixed reactions. With technology led analytical tools, now marketers have access to big data to interpret changing consumer interests and transform this data to useful customer insights.

Data is unstructured and chaotic. But at the same time, data is a goldmine for marketers generating signals for effective marketing. The test is how brands can reap the essence of data relevant data to organizations to outperform the competition.

  1. Brand fights in competitive marketplace will grow

With rising consumer expectations and demand on fulfilling brand experiences, regional brands will inch up in the overall market place. This will influence brand decisions that will generate a stiff competition amidst brands-popular, new or upcoming. The survival of big market players will depend on small player acquisition and market share gains. So brand fights will ideally take place forcing weak brands out of the marketplace.

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