For vendors who sell (or hope to sell) to B2B customers, it’s important to realize that buyers in this sector have their own unique habits and processes. Among other things, the timeline involved in making the transition from browsing to buying can be much more involved and time-consuming than it is with B2C customers.
This is one of the findings illustrated in recent research conducted by The Chief Marketing Officer Council and NetLine. The big takeaway: B2B buyers rarely make impulse purchases or snap decisions.
The research found that the majority of B2B buyers tend to review and share vendor information among one or more groups internally while contemplating a buying decision. This content is circulated among buying groups which The CMO Council refers to as “sharing circles.” These circles tend to be based on one of three approaches:
- From the middle out (35 percent): Content sourcing and purchase decisions are driven by tactically focused executives, but senior management is informed about how and why key decisions were made.
- From the bottom up (30 percent): Junior or mid-level managers source primary content and share upstream to members of senior management, who then make the final purchase decision.
- From the top down (29 percent): Senior management consumes content, sending information downstream for product identification and final purchase and execution.
The research also found that these sharing circles and their decisions are being driven by three key segments. For marketers who want to communicate effectively with these power players, it’s important to consider the needs and motivations of these three personas:
- Researchers: They will primarily seek out the most broad and expansive content and are focused on new industry reports and research to inform them of advancements in solutions, trends impacting the market and opportunities for improvement
- Influencers: These people are interested in both the broad thought leadership consumed through trusted third-party channels, as well as vendor-branded technology specifications, data sheets and use cases. This group emerges as the segment most interested in summarized content, including infographics, video and blog commentary.
- Decision Makers: This group wants to stay informed through research reports and analyst commentary but also expect to have access to data in order to speed and enable better decision making in the tail end of the decision funnel.
By thinking about the people who will play the most active roles in evaluating and sharing your content, you can decide how best to package that material in order to get the best results.
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