The B2B tech industry has dramatically changed in recent years, and at the center of this shift sits a new type of buyer.
Companies have grown accustomed to a certain type of customer, but the B2B tech buyers of today are vastly different. They’re more connected, more emotional, and more self-aware of their learning needs. And as Baby Boomers begin to retire, high-tech brands will be faced with Generation X taking over leadership positions. Expect a digitally savvy buyer who uses social media 40 minutes more per week than Millennials. In addition, Gen X leaders are known for “hyper-collaboration” and working relentlessly to break down organizational silos.
To address this shift in buyer expectations, it’s vital for marketers to understand the changing expectations of these digitally savvy buyers, and to develop marketing strategies that engage them at each stage of their buying process.
While the opportunities for prospects can be far-ranging, high-tech companies today are taking an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) approach. What does this mean for building relationships with B2B buyers? By tiering and prioritizing accounts, outreach — and therefore marketing spend — is focused on the right companies. Creating an ABM strategy is well beyond the scope here, but certainly applicable as we delve further into the specifics of B2B buyers.
Choosing the right buyer personas starts with utilizing your customer analytics to gather data on decision-makers within target companies, as well as traditional data from market research, focus groups and existing client interviews. From there, marketers can leverage these personas on all channels, from personalizing their website and ABM tech platforms to delivering customized content through outbound campaigns.
Nearly 85% of marketers that measure ROI say that ABM initiatives outperform other marketing investments.
–“Account-Based Marketing and ROI: Building the Case for Investment” ITSMA
Through a coordinated effort between the Marketing and Sales departments to identify the companies and specific buyers who present the most lucrative business opportunities, ABM allows businesses to create more personalized relationships with their best-fit prospects. This approach also leads to more effective pipeline generation and a better conversion rate to closed deals.
Brands don’t need to be everywhere at once — just the places that matter at the right time.
Today’s buyers expect rich, relevant content throughout the overall buying lifecycle. To satisfy these criteria, high-tech marketers need to create compelling content experiences for each of their unique buying personas, such as IT influencer, business champion, or executive decision-maker.
As B2B buyers continue to rely on a committee approach for their technology purchases, personalized content and messaging become a necessity in order to gain credibility among multiple stakeholders during extended buying cycles with many touchpoints.
91% of B1B marketers are using content marketing, but less than 10% feel they are sophisticated in doing so.
- B2B Content Marketing: 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, Content Marketing Institute
Measuring content effectiveness requires tracking how content drives leads and revenue, and the easiest place to measure that is from the website and custom landing pages. Analytics are leveraged to track progression through multiple content items or by simply validating the ROI of a specific creative piece.
The question then becomes what type of content is most effective at each stage of the buying lifecycle? SiriusDecisions research determined that it’s different at each stage of the buying cycle. However, there are a couple types of content that are influential at every stage! Analyst research and sales presentations. Since a buyer may not want to talk directly to a salesperson in the early stages, the most critical and influential analyst reports should be distributed through media campaigns, partnerships, or direct lines of communication. High-tech marketers can elevate their industry voice and brand visibility by delivering third-party endorsement.
This endorsement, coupled with ABM targeted approach and an emphasis on building multi-level relationships with buyers, helps companies expand their reach and increase their success rate for conversions at all stages of the buying journey.