We’re honored to share this insightful post from Eric Morgenstern, CEO of Morningstar Communications in Overland Park, Kansas. Eric has been a leader in the KC PR community for many years and writes and speaks often on a wide variety of communications topics. This post is especially important new PR pros as it focuses on business to business communications. Most of the jobs in the PR field are B2B focused and understanding this shift in the way we do business is very important. Thanks Eric, we appreciate the insight. –Tom Heapes
Leverage the shifting B2B buyer’s journey
by Eric Morgenstern
As Tricia highlighted last week, the B2B buyer journey has evolved significantly in recent years to meet the current needs of both businesses and buyers. Adapt or die. It’s the harsh reality B2B companies face today as the buyer journey continues to evolve.
Forrester Research reports today’s B2B buyers are two-thirds to 90 percent of the way through their buying journey before they ever reach out to a company to discuss their interest.
In the past, a prospect would call ABC company, ask to speak to a salesperson and say, “I’m interested in your product. Can you please send me a brochure and then follow up with me?” The prospect would engage in the top of the first inning in baseball parlance.
Nowadays, the people at ABC company often don’t connect interactively with the prospect until the seventh inning. At that time, the interaction goes something like this, “I’ve reviewed your website, downloaded your e-book and case studies, discussed this with a LinkedIn special interest group as well as my personal contacts, and I have researched your competitors. I’m interested in your product, but I particularly want to know if it will handle 2,000 hoozey-woos at peak dispersion. And can you deliver and install it in 72 hours because [competitor name here] will do that?”
This is what we call a prequalified lead; a buyer who is ready to make a decision. She already prequalified both the ABC company and product, and she now has a very specific question, which is why she’s contacting you. She’s ready to move toward purchase.
Today’s buyer is more educated than ever before, and they’re educating themselves largely based on the information available online. Smart B2B leaders realize they must understand and adapt to this shifting journey to remain successful and drive sales. These companies will flourish while others face possible extinction. So, where do you start?
Savvy B2B businesses embrace how their buyer comes to make a decision to purchase your offering.
The key question is how did that prospect do her research before establishing a personal interaction with your company, and how can you be the one educating her along her journey?
Morningstar Communications believes there are five essential steps to the modern day B2B buyer’s journey:
• Stage One: Awareness
• Stage Two: Familiarity
• Stage Three: Consideration
• Stage Four: Purchase
• Stage Five: Trust
So, exactly how do smart B2B marketers leverage this new buyer mindset? We’ll show you.
You’ll find several blog posts from my associates over the next several weeks, all focused on the B2B buyer’s journey.
Keep this five step journey in mind and you’ll do an ever-better job of qualifying and educating your prospects while building affinity for your business along the way. Follow along on our blog and newsletter for tips and advice.
Here’s to growing your business.
Onward and upward!