The world seemed to grind to a halt in 2020. Face to face meetings and events were cancelled, we had to conduct meetings over Zoom and find new ways to reach potential buyers online. But in reality, despite the challenges, the earth didn’t stand still – and neither did your business, your customers and definitely not your competitors.
One thing we were reminded of this year was a fundamental tenet of buyer enablement – the need to help buyers make better decisions. This principle applies wherever buyers are in the buyer journey, and also where they are physically, or rather, digitally.
And the challenge is even greater when we're all living and working in an environment of great uncertainty. Buyers are busy, dealing with unknown stresses. They want answers to their questions and their problems resolved. They don’t want distractions or confusion.
For any marketer trying to make up for any lost time, the rule remain the same – don’t ever begin by asking the potential customer to buy your product or solution. A marketer needs to lead the buyer to that decision in as straight line as possible, helping them avoid potholes and dead ends on the way.
Personas play a key role in buyer enablement by allowing you to deliver the right message in the right format to the right person at the right time. It’s not just a case of creating a profile (John in Sales, Maxine in Marketing) but also of identifying their role and position on the buyer journey. Research your target audience to uncover their challenges, weak points, fears, behaviours and where they sit in the sales cycle. The better you know them, the easier it is to hit them with the content that talks to their needs, and will more quickly convert into sales.
It helps to divide your marketing efforts up according to the various buyer tasks – problem identification, solution exploration, requirements building, supplier selection, validation and consensus creation. The last one is particularly important. The buyer must convince other people and benchmark themselves against others in a similar situation. On average there are six to ten people involved in every B2B buying decision, each exposed to between four and five pieces of content. You need hard evidence that your solution is the right one for them. A bank of customer advocates and success stories, coupled with hard evidence of your return on investment are the best content tools to address these concerns.
Deliver content in a specific, considered order and format. First, give a shout out that you are here, you are listening and you are interested, with “snackable” content such as animations and infographics. Next demonstrate your understanding and expertise with meatier eBooks and whitepapers, tools that help to scope out the problem or requirement. Then show your willingness – and ability – to drill down to an individual issue’s nuances and deliver a bespoke solution. Finally, bolster the buyer’s ability to convince others, with case studies and buyers guides to share with the wider group to receive the final thumbs up. Anything you can do to make the buyer’s life easier, and then come away celebrating a good decision, do it. Their glory will reflect well on your business.
Your website is one of your most powerful buyer enablement tools if you set it up correctly. A tip is to gently guide your visitor on a narrative journey through your website, rather than letting them leap about taking chunks from here and bits from there. They need to gain a clear understanding of how your solutions can address their challenges in a cohesive way, rather than being vaguely aware of what your business does. It’s the only that way that they’ll click through on the contact button, request more information or talk about you to others in the buying group.
This is particularly pertinent after a difficult period, when buyers might be more keen than ever to cut costs and corners. As 2021 evolves, almost everyone you reach will be battling to recover from a damaging period, so convincing them of the value of your product or solution is crucial. Consider low cost or low risk entry points to get them over the hurdle of becoming a customer and offer quick demonstrable benefits, ideally including a return on heir investment.
A key strategy for marketers is to help buyers develop their own personalised roadmap to success. By moving the conversation beyond product features towards helping buyers assess their own strengths and weaknesses, identify business risks and benchmark themselves you are truly enabling them to make better, potentially faster decisions. A well designed and optimised self-assessment is a highly effective way for marketers to do this. With a few clicks, buyers can identify high risk areas, assess their capabilities and generate their own personalised report and recommendations. Assessments also empower marketers and sellers to build strategies based on real insight rather than guesswork. A win all around.
Marketing Fusion has pulled together the tools you need to enable buyers to make better, faster decisions. Our Fusion Accelerator Toolkit is a great start, including the online assessment to fulfil buyer demand for personalised content and drive better quality sales engagement. Suppliers and channel partners can put their own brand on the kit and take their content marketing to the next level.
There's no time to waste. It's more important than ever to work smart and build momentum.
Check out the Fusion Accelerator Toolkit and get off to a flying start!