The fundamentals of B2B digital transformation
Digital transformation is a phrase that you just can’t seem to escape, or at least you can’t in our market or the market our customers and prospects work and live in. Rightly so. Technology has changed the way we live, for good. We have apps for everything, in fact, we live in a world where if your partner forgets the shopping list they no longer need to speak to you, instead, they can ask Alexa. This extends far beyond our daily lives from to the way we work, the way we buy to the way we consume.
In INCo’s Digital Transformation Series, we explore how digital transformation is impacting the way B2B sales and marketing professionals are targeting their prospects and how the power of technology is providing us with a greater competitive advantage than ever before.
In part one we discuss how consumer buying behaviour has changed and how you can get to know your buyers even better.
How has buying behaviour changed?
Historically, you could phone a prospect, discuss a challenge they were experiencing, position your offering, set up a meeting, and attend assured that your prospect relied on you to educate them on the latest updates in the market. Technology has changed this process forever. Our prospects have a world of knowledge and expertise at their fingertips. No longer do prospects need to speak to a sales consultant about their challenges. Instead, they can Google them, ask a question on a LinkedIn group or sign-up for IBM's latest webinar on the issue while scrolling through their Instagram. Initially this digital innovation was limited to the consumer markets, but now it is clear that the digital search for information is equally ingrained in B2B market.
Every sales and marketing professional will have previously heard that “70% of the buyer's journey is complete before they even reach out to a sales person”. This makes it sound like our jobs have just got more complicated from the way they previously were. However, this isn’t necessarily so. The way people are buying has changed, so the way we engage with our clients must also change and adapt to the new buying behaviour model. The rise of sales tech and martech, or marketing technology, solutions make the whole marketing process a lot easier.
With platforms such as HubSpot and Salesforce, we have access to a lot more data on our prospects and their online behaviour. We can analyse and better understand what they are reading, if they are looking for detailed information on particular service or general solution to solve their key problem. The data allows us to identify how to tailor our approach to that individual, or a larger target market group. It also helps us to develop more efficient strategies on social media channels allowing us to position our brand messaging to the most appropriate platforms including LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. Based on data analytics we can choose to send a tailored email or larger email marketing campaign that speaks to our visitor issues, challenges and opportunities.
Through the creation of smart content and automation, you can progress a prospect from the beginning of their journey, through the middle of the funnel, to the point where they are ready to engage in person. You can provide them with the content they need on the platform that is right for them in a way that has never been possible before. Has our job just become easier, if we can operate smarter? People still buy from people, but we need to engage in a much more personal knowledgeable manner both online and in person.
Getting to know your buyers
Most businesses have a well-established idea of who their ideal buyer is. Ideally, they will have worked overtime to create a robust buyer persona or buyer personas. You can find out more about documenting your buyer in our blog post . Armed with the knowledge of who exactly it is you want to engage with, you can harness the power of technology to effectively target those individuals. When you know the types of your ideal customer you want to target, you can start deploying tools like Zoom Info, Mint and LinkedIn to provide you with a target list of individuals that fit your persona to perfection.
Once you know who you want to talk to you, you can begin to map out the how. This information comes from truly understanding your buyer personas and looking at how you have historically targeted and closed business with existing clients of this nature. This information and data provides you with the ability to create and deploy targeted campaigns that really speak to the goals and challenges they face every day.
It doesn’t necessarily make it easier but think of it more like fishing in a pond rather than the ocean; not only are you much more targeted in your approach, you've also baited your fishing-rod with most appealing worm you could find .
As sales and marketing professionals we are seeing a growing need to have informative, helpful and targeted content to assist our prospects and customers, evaluate our offerings and be encouraged to engage with us. We must change our mind-set from targeting leads to opening up relationships and open conversations with prospective new customers. When INCo's Business Development Consultants speak to prospective new customers that have been engaged with in this manner, the relationships move a lot quicker.
The key aspect to remember when further developing your buyer personas is to look beyond the surface, to see them as more than just CEO Charles or Finance Frankie and to see them as people. Only by recognising them as real individuals and working out "How can I help them?" can we truly understand their aspirations and challenges, allowing us to better market, sell, retain and renew.
This blog has only touched the surface on the way digital transformation is changing our roles forever. From automation to data capture the way we sell will never be the same but with the challenges of understanding and keeping up with this paradigm shift we are presented with new opportunities.
Download our All You Need To Know eBook, where we delve into how sales and marketing has changed to keep up with digital transformation and how sales and marketing professionals can use these advancements to stay ahead of our competition whilst delivering the best experience for our customer experience