Today, buying committees are more physically disparate than ever before, but as marketers we’ve become very adept at getting our messages in front of the right people at the right time, regardless of location. It’s widely acknowledged that around two thirds of a typical B2B buying journey takes place online – with the remainder being predominantly sales-led activity.
So, the reality is that today’s ‘new normal’ poses a much greater challenge for sales teams than it does for marketers. Now, more than ever, as marketers we need to step-up, share our skills and help to empower our sales counterparts as they redefine the way they sell.
Tackling disparate buyer perspectives is a significantly greater challenge. But, it’s the complexity of multi-stakeholder buying journeys that makes B2B arguably the most interesting marketing discipline. It gives us the opportunity to flex strategic and creative muscles that don’t come into play elsewhere.
And while buying committees are getting bigger and therefore more fragmented, the fundamental basis for creating effective messaging remains the same. The key is and always will be, understanding your audience. A larger buying committee just means there’s more groundwork to do.
Most marketing teams tend to consider two to three personas in their planning. These are the roles that typically engage mid-journey – the ones that make the enquiries that become leads. But what about those other stakeholders? In 2019 Gartner reported the average B2B buying committee includes seven people. ‘Invisible’ stakeholders can stop a deal in its tracks or halt the journey before you even know it’s begun.
If you’ve not mapped your customer buying journey from end-to-end, then you really should. It’ll be one of the most enlightening exercises you do as a B2B Marketer. Strive to understand the role of every stakeholder along the way. Consider their individual motivations, challenges and objectives, and the questions and concerns they’ll have at every stage. You can then create content that answers your buyers’ specific needs and leaves them confident your product or service is the right solution.
There’s often a temptation to create one-size-fits all content, but this usually isn’t a good fit for anyone. Marketers who invest in really understanding the multi-stakeholder journey will know exactly what they need to communicate to overcome the obstacles and take their buyers further along the journey. Seeing the whole picture is the first step to bringing buyers together around a single shared idea.
That’s where creativity comes into play. Where content converts, creativity unites.
The most effective creative ideas are based on shared truths. They tap into a common motivation or belief that exists across your audience. That big creative idea is the catalyst for action. It will get everyone heading in the right direction and bring buyers together around a shared vision for their business – a vison in which your brand plays a positive, enabling role.