The B2B buying journey has changed. Buyers now have all the information they desire at their fingertips – search engines, social media, analyst reports, media and other digital channels. This has made it easy for buyers to independently research solutions to their problems, rather than waiting for sales teams to contact them and share insights.
PR, AR, marketing, content and sales all needs to work together for full impact on sales and revenue growth. By combining digital and traditional methods, you can ensure your brand is known, relevant and providing helpful information throughout your buyers journey.
The Buyer’s Journey:
- Problem identification. “We need to do something.”
- Solution exploration. “What’s out there to solve our problem?”
- Requirements building. “What exactly do we need the purchase to do?”
- Supplier selection. “Does this do what we want it to do?”
- “We think we know the right answer, but we need to be sure.”
- Consensus creation. “We need to get everyone on board.”
To align marketing, PR and sales, it is important to use content, press articles and analyst reports to add to your outbound sales efforts. In the digital era, and with millennials becoming the main buyers of B2B technology, it is important to understand the changing buying cycle and the ways in which digital is used.
- 67% of the buyer journey takes place on digital channels.
- 75% of buyers say they use more sources to research and evaluate purchases.
- 32% agrees they do not only notice targeted ads, but that they positively impacted their view of potential vendors.
- B2B buyers spend only 17% of the consideration time meeting with potential suppliers.
- When buyers are comparing multiple suppliers‚ the amount of time spent with any one sales rep may be only 5% or 6%.
While B2B technology companies are beginning to take advantage of digital and to explore how PR can tie directly into sales, there are still barriers to really driving this agenda forward, including knowledge and skills.
Multiple stakeholders, long lead cycles and complex digital interactions make B2B marketing complicated. By combining the right analytical skills, technology, content, communications and PR skills, B2B tech brands can help the buyer at every point of their journey – no matter how disjointed it might be. This requires a new way of thinking that places the customer at the heart of your programme.
Here are the questions you need to ask to get the right PR programme rolling:
- Is your business obsessed with the customer?
- Do you really understand the customer journey?
- Are your data capabilities up to scratch?
- Do you have buy-in from stakeholders?
- Do you know which platform you should use?
- Does your organisation have the capabilities and skills to make marketing automation work?