B2B buyers spend just 17% of their time meeting with potential suppliers, while 45% of their time is spent researching independently, according to Gartner.
Out of that 45%, B2B buyers spend 27% of their time researching independently online and 18% of their time researching independently offline.
With approx. 62% of buyers time spent on research and meeting with suppliers, what can marketers do to help buyer’s research and sales efforts?
There are plenty of things that marketers can do. I want to share
- 2 tactics that marketers can employ to help buyer’s research efforts
- 1 recommendation to support sales teams
The two tactics are search optimization and content marketing:
Let’s think about how B2B buyers do research. First of all, they type problem statements or keywords into Google or other search engines to get relevant links and content. Buyers will generally click on different links to view content.
So, first and foremost, marketers can facilitate buyers’ research by focusing on search optimization on your websites and content.
You need to understand a list of keywords or problem statements that buyers are likely to type, then make sure that you seamlessly add them to your website and content. In order to do that you’ll need to have buyers’ personas and a clear understanding of buyers’ challenges as well as how your products resolve those challenges. The pre-requisites of search engine optimization are to have a deep understanding of your buyers’ personas and the ways they search or research online.
Obviously, keywords and challenges are not only helpful for website and search optimization, but they are also beneficial to determine what keywords to buy if you run paid-search which is Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Search optimization is tedious tactical work, it’s a specialized marketing discipline of its own, but it’s super-critical to create a solid digital presence online. For my own website, I allocated budget for continues search optimization efforts. Website and search optimization is something you have to do on a regular basis. It doesn’t help.
Now, let’s talk about content. For B2B buyers, content is still king when it comes to digital research. After search optimization of your digital presence, content is an important component of marketing outreach. The challenges for content marketing are what to communicate and what formats of content to create. “What to communicate” comes down to understanding customers’ buying journey from awareness and consideration to purchase. Identify questions that buyers may ask at each stage and create content to address those questions.
For example: what are some questions that buyers may ask when researching the purchase of a marketing automation tool.
- What is marketing automation?
- Or, what are the top 10 marketing automation tools?
- What do people say about different marketing automation tools?
- What is the pricing of different tools?
List a set of questions that your buyers may ask. Address them through content. Regarding the formats of the content, you need to do some research and find out what formats resonates with your buyers. For the same topic, you may have different formats of content.
These content pieces, in theory, should reside on your website. Then, you promote the content through different paid and organic traditional and social media channels and drive traffic back to your sites.
Search Engine Optimization (organic search) and Search Engine Marketing (paid search) coupled with relevant content can certainly facilitate buyers’ purchase journey.
There are different mixes of marketing channels, such as:
- e-mail marketing
- events, sponsorships
- influencer outreach
that you need to consider when planning how to reach out to your buyers.
For B2B marketing, the least you can do to help your buyers during their research stage is search optimization and content marketing.
The third way to help buyers during the research stage is to help your sales team through account-based marketing (ABM).
ABM is strategic and personalized marketing outreach and engagements with people at target accounts through close collaboration between sales and marketing. Basically, as a marketer, you allocate some marketing budget and align some of your marketing efforts with your sales’ account-based outreach. Marketing complements sales outreach to increase the probability to win a deal. I talked about Influitive’s ABM marketing example on episode 49.
Now back to Gartner’s statistics: Although B2B buyers spend just 17 percent of their time meeting with potential suppliers, 45 percent of their time is spent researching independently. As a B2B marketer, you can make a large impact on that 17% and 45% if you focus on the right tactics.
So, if you have marketing questions, you know where to find me – @pamdidner
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Before you leave, make sure to check out the previous podcast episodes!
Keep hustling, my friends. You got this.