We have a great deal of research now about how B2B buyers travel through a specific process before they ultimately purchase. As sales and marketing teams adapt to this new world order, what roles should they play at each stage of this journey?
1. Recognize that it’s the a problem-solving journey – “buying” is a means to an end. The first step in solving any problem is admitting that you have one. When sales and marketing teams understand that this is not a “sales cycle” or a “sales process” or a “marketing funnel” then they have shifted their focus to the customer. The customer is only going to buy something if it helps them solve a problem – so think of their journey as a problem-solving process. Focus your time, energy, and resources on helping them solve the problem.
2. Deliver very specific content and services at each stage of the journey. Don’t send the same content or information to the buyers when they are progressing through their journey. At each stage, they need something specifically relevant and targeted to what will help them then and there. The same case study is not necessarily useful when buyers are just figuring out the scope/extent of their need and also when they are doing a vendor selection.
3. Play a different role at each stage of their journey. Marketing and selling in a complex solutions-oriented world requires that the people involved be able and willing to play the role best suited to the customers’ needs. At one point, being an industry expert is very useful (early on) and at another a facilitator of technical answers (later).
Here is a quick reference guide for marketers and sales people in working with prospects at all phases of their journey: