Do Your Marketing Materials Support Buyer Enablement?
Running a B2B business comes with tons of challenges, that’s a given. The one major challenge that runs through all these struggles is buyer enablement and how it impacts your company’s growth.
So what are the responsibilities this entails?
First, you have to build an experienced team who is knowledgeable about your products or services; and second, a high-performing marketing strategy to draw attention towards your brand. When customers know more about your product or services they use on a daily basis, there's a higher chance that they'll return and spread the word.
Your marketing materials need to be on-point and teams need to be attuned to grab the attention of these potential buyers. The idea is to create an environment where your buyers don’t need to struggle to find information throughout their journey. A daunting prospect, considering that B2B buyers spend about 66% of their buying journey without interacting with a sales representative.
In the B2B space, attracting and retaining buyers is particularly vexing. Unlike regular consumers, B2B buyers, generally, are more skeptical and take more time to weigh their options before committing to a purchase. B2B buying has also become increasingly complex due to the presence of between 6-10 stakeholders in the buying group, and all of them looking at about five sources of information, Gartner researchers have found.
The global research company defines buyer enablement as “information or tools that support the completion of critical buying jobs.” Simple right? No, these “jobs” include:
- identifying the problem
- exploring solutions
- building requirements
- selecting a supplier
- validating the choice, and
- getting consensus on the choice.
In the buying cycle, buyers are often overwhelmed with too much information delivered too early or too little too late. This hit-and-miss scenario makes customers want to put off a buying decision rather than making one. The voice of your brand should be confident and amplified, yes, but also empathetic and timely. If you can provide prospects with the right information they need to make a purchase decision and seamlessly guide them through that process, then it will more likely result in conversion rates for your company. If prospects have clear information and guidance at the right time during the buying journey, they’re more likely to buy. This is where buyer enablement becomes crucial.
The Changing Face of B2B Buying
Traditionally, most B2B businesses focus on optimizing sales processes to drive conversions and amplify revenue. But considering today’s competitive landscape, it isn’t enough to woo potential buyers with great products or services alone.
Along with selling your brand, you should focus on resolving the problems of individual buying groups. Provide them with relevant and valuable information that addresses their pain points while highlighting how your products or services can resolve their problems.
This is crucial because modern buyers will likely go through various touchpoints before reaching out to your sales reps. According to Gartner, buyers spend only 17% of their time meeting potential suppliers. They prefer conducting their own research instead of engaging with sales reps. This trend has compelled B2B marketers to publish a wide array of relevant and valuable buyer-friendly content.
But this action has resulted in an overload of readily available information. You can’t attract new buyers unless your marketing material stands out from the crowd, right? Considering that today’s B2B buying decisions involve a group rather than just one person, the buying process becomes time-consuming and fragmented.
Instead of focusing on just selling, you need to hold the hands of buying groups while they evaluate various solutions and other stakeholders. This is where your marketing material can play a key role. Instead of creating content that solely focuses on top-of-the-funnel goals, it should support your buyer enablement strategy.
Understand the Buyer’s Journey
The first step in creating a buyer enablement strategy is to understand the buyer’s journey. There are three stages your potential clients go through before committing to a purchase:
However, in B2B buying, the journey doesn’t progress linearly. Keeping in mind that the buying group now consists of six or more decision-makers, the buyer’s journey today involves a series of steps. Instead of segregating it into linear stages, the B2B buyer’s journey comprises the following set of overlapping tasks:
- Problem identification
- Solution exploration
- Requirements building
- Supplier selection
- Consensus creation
Your goal in enabling buyer enablement is to support buying groups on this complex and overlapping journey and ultimately arriving at the decision to buy. The decision to purchase will not happen unless you have a deep understanding of the goals and pain points of individual stakeholders in a buying group. In addition, you must provide them with meaningful information that speaks directly to their queries. This is where your marketing material comes into play.
Get Marketing and Sales Working Together
Your marketing team is already publishing a plethora of content to attract potential buyers across various digital marketing channels. You’re also likely using lead magnets, such as e-books and white papers, for qualified lead generation.
Obviously, deploying these assets would be futile unless they’re geared to contribute to your company’s bottom line. One way of achieving this is to ensure that your sales and marketing teams are talking to each other and working together.
It’s crucial because your sales reps directly interact with potential buyers and have a deeper understanding of their pressure points. They can also provide valuable insights on how relevant your content assets are to the real-life buying experience. Using relevant marketing materials at the right time will help sales reps influence a buying group while they’re mulling different options.
Ensure Constant Communication
Keeping your sales and marketing teams on the same page requires you to establish clear lines of communication between both departments. Make sure marketing personnel send a weekly or fortnightly email to the sales department informing them about newly published content.
Consider involving your sales reps and managers in the content brainstorming process. Get them to share feedback from actual buyers on published content assets with the marketing department. Sales staff must also be able to offer input on what type of content buyers expect from your organization.
Involve Marketers in the Sales Process
Let marketing personnel listen to real-life sales calls to better understand their target audience. It’ll help them to get a firmer handle on the pain points of buyers and create more relevant content. Give them an overview of how their content assets have contributed to the company’s bottom line. Make sure your marketing goals are in sync with long-term business objectives.
Ask the sales team to share relevant, fresh content on their social media profiles. Or, they could personally email links to applicable blog posts aimed at specific buyers. Content sharing is a simple way to use marketing materials to support buyer enablement.
Develop Marketing Materials for Buyer Enablement
If your sales and marketing departments are working in tandem, chances are you’re already creating buyer-friendly content. However, if you want to achieve buyer enablement, you must ensure that all your marketing materials focus on empowering buying groups. This is crucial because 20% of supplier content assets are created to facilitate buyer enablement.
From checklists, whitepapers and case studies to free tools and demos—there’s a wide array of marketing materials you can use. Make sure you consider the needs and challenges of a buying group before providing them with any information.
Instead of showcasing how great your products are, leverage the power of technology to focus on simplifying the buyer’s journey and getting them to make faster decisions. Using a cloud-based tool, such as the Ingage suite, can help you to quickly create, share and measure your marketing materials.
NEWPRO, a home remodeling company, partnered with Ingage to wean their PowerPoint-fatigued customers off the tiresome and ineffective presentation tool. The New England-based outfit upped the ante and implemented the Ingage Suite in the Fall of 2018 and has used the iPad app to create a new presentation for each of its seven product lines. In some cases, NEWPRO leveraged content from their existing PPT slides but also created fresh pages from scratch.
The company quickly realized the immense benefits of partnering with an expert presentation company such as Ingage. Once a presentation was created, they could make edits on the go, with updates pushed out to all previous recipients automatically. NEWPRO Director of Training Peter Ladd said Ingage’s platform has enabled the company to add a “lot more multimedia content than ever before,” like a button to take customers to live reviews, time-lapse renovation project videos and before and after home photos.
“In our business, people make purchases based on the quality of stories. Making the change from static PowerPoint slides to interactive Ingage Presentations allows our salesforce to be better storytellers,” Ladd added.
Build a Buyer Enablement Plan, Close More Deals
Blowing your own trumpet won’t help you influence B2B purchase decisions in 2021. If you want to acquire and retain multi-person buying groups, you need a robust buyer enablement strategy. You need to ensure that the content you create empowers buyers to navigate the complex buyer’s journey and make the right purchase decision.
With the Ingage platform, you can quickly design interactive pages with your images, videos and text; instantly share the on-brand, up-to-date content on any device; and measure the real-time results and understand the impact on your business through rich analytics.
Ready to kickstart your buyer enablement strategy? Then engage with Ingage today and let us equip your teams with the tools to compete and succeed.