How To Optimize Your Messaging & Content for the B2B Buyer Journey
The Article in Sixty Seconds
B2B buyers can easily evaluate a multitude of options to find the perfect fit for their needs. Savvy researchers are looking at more than the price point; they’re scrutinizing each offering to find out which one meets their business needs the best.
You have an offering that you know solves a market problem — but how do you tell buyers about it in a way that moves them to act?
How well do you know your buyer? It’s more than a concept, it’s a deep understanding of needs and behavior
How well do you communicate the value of your solution and your company? Today’s B2B buyer wants more than just a widget; they want a business partner
How well do you know your competition? The marketplace is in flux. When was the last time you examined the field? What new players have entered the game?
Think About This
The B2B purchase decision process is more subjective and emotionally-driven than ever.
B2B buying cycles are getting longer and more complex.
The majority of B2B companies self-identify as “not good at competitive analysis”
Is Your Process on Point?
If all you’re doing is presenting a list of features and specs, you will miss your buyer.
You need to put your solution in a well-tailored context that shows your buyer how it will fit their needs and desires. That process starts with an ultra-clear understanding of your target persona, and then you need to look for ways to artfully address their needs through your messaging.
Know Your Buyer
As you start the messaging process, remember:
- who your buyers are
- what they are trying to accomplish
- what goals drive their behavior
- how they think
- how they buy
- why they make buying decisions
A buyer persona is important, but no longer enough. You need to develop a narrative of your core audience’s motivations, behavior, decision-making, and core needs. We have developed a proprietary process to help you arrive at these core understandings called The Buyer Matrix.
People want to be known. If you let them know that you “know” them — that you understand their problem and needs — then they will be compelled to dig deeper and they will want you to win them over. And that is a powerful sales position. Empathy will do far more to engage a prospect than any feature set delineation ever will.
Some common buyer types you can expect to encounter are:
- The Analyst (“show me the hard data – then I will give you a chance”)
- The Collaborator (“I’ll need to get my team on board before making a decision”)
- The Innovator (“I’m exploring creative ideas that will make a major difference in how we do business”)
Once you understand your buyer and have determined an angle on your relationship, craft your messaging and content for them throughout the buyer journey.
Clearly Communicate Value
In a helpful analysis of B2B communication, Bain and Company outlined 40 aspects of communicating value. The more aspects you represent to your buyer, the greater probability of securing the sale.
In our experience, value-focused messaging starts with the understanding that each type of customer may require different messaging to address their specific pain points. Your messaging should clearly outline your customer’s journey to the solution. That means that it needs to be dynamic and customized to each of your personas.
You can reflect this in your frontline messaging, but truly engaging them will require a more targeted approach. We suggest creating highly empathetic and valuable information you can deliver throughout the buyer journey.
Your buyer is likely planning to do one of the following:
For the buyer who wants to maintain the status quo by not making a move, your messaging needs to show how your solution addresses the biggest business problem they face. Point out specifically how your product fits in the matrix of solving the overall problem. Motivate them to act instead of “settling for.”
Work it Out Internally
This buyer sees the value in your solution, but they wonder if they could just do it themselves. It’s our natural tendency to underestimate the reality of how hard it will be to do it ourselves. Help them be realistic about the standard for real success and how able their internal resources really are. Encourage them to consider all options, and effectively demonstrate that a proven, trustworthy solution (your offering) will be more efficient — and ultimately less expensive — than it will be for them to fumble through it themselves.
Consider the Competitor
For those buyers who are still considering you competitors, the key is to have a distinct, clear value proposition. Others are clearly NOT the same. Influence the buying criteria early and continuously map it back to their specific problem and goals. Look at existing experience and insights, but don’t be afraid to reinvent. Your multiple buyer personas will require a unique solution. Seek to become an integral part of their business, not just another vendor. Solve their problems and help them understand the value of the relationship throughout the process.
At the end of the day, marketing is about connecting a great story with the people who need to hear it. Great messaging and content should create an opportunity for people to enter your story in a way that demonstrates that you know them, understand them, and are ready to serve them better than anyone else. When you do that, your prospects will reward you with their business.
The First Thing to Do After Reading this Article
Open up your Google Analytics account and dig into Behavior Flow. You’ll see where your audience is dropping off in their website journey. (if you need help analyzing this, reach out to us for a free, no-obligation consultation.)
Do the same with other touch-points: your call center, your sales team, and your trade show team.