Guiding Customers Through the Buying Process With Sales Acceleration

Michael Brenner on Apr 17, 2018 in Demand Generation

To get your customers from problem recognition to purchase, and even better, post-purchase loyalty, you need to be able to guide them through the buying process masterfully. Smooth guidance means few roadblocks and sidetracks as they try to find a solution to their problem or need. Low to no barriers to entry.

And, a seemingly effortless, smooth transition from problem identification to information search, to the evaluation of alternatives to a purchase decision and beyond.

You want customers to drift down the lazy river to their purchase decision. They shouldn’t have to hike a gnarled mountain path.

There are a few steps you need to take to make your buying process as fluid and easy-to-navigate as possible, as well as to continually improve through an ongoing marketing and sales data feedback loop.

Identify and Segment Your Target Audience

Step one is to shrink your target. The best way to get more business is to market to fewer B2B customers. When you have a laser-focused idea of who you are marketing to, you can develop a deeper understanding of your buyers – you can ‘talk the talk’ so that your buyers will listen. Your content, from social media posts to case studies, will better resonate, making your prospects and leads more likely to take the next step in the buyer’s journey.

Take for example, Hireology, creator of an SaaS platform for hiring new employees more efficiently. After analyzing the market and customer data, instead of marketing to all businesses, they honed in on two specific segments: franchises and auto dealerships.

Adam Roginson, CEO and Founder of the app, says, “It’s so much easier to sell within a couple of markets where we are considered the leader.”

How to identify your target audience? Start with a crystal clear understanding of your organization and what you have to offer. What are the unique benefits of your product? Then create your ideal buyer personas. Who would gain the most advantage from what you offer? Your services include not just your product, but your level of customer service, price range, and logistical capabilities.

Then use market research to understand your target and their specific needs better, paint points, and wants. Study your existing customers, gather information from your sales team, and stay up-to-date with industry trends to continually improve on your buyer personas. Use customer data to segment your buyers. Segmentation will help you better personalize your marketing, which is key for creating a better customer experience and greasing the wheels of the buying process.

Understand and Leverage Data

There’s a lot of data analysis in understanding your buyers. You’ll also need to leverage the data to understand how to reach your customers. This is where your marketing and sales technology toolsbecome invaluable, from Google Analytics to your marketing automation software, as well as data from third-party sources.

Use data to determine:

  • The best channels to use to engage with your customers
  • What keywords your audience is using to search for the answers they are looking for
  • What devices are your customers using to find solutions
  • Your customers’ priorities, needs, and biggest challenges

Dominate Your Niche

When your buyers do interact with your brand, every experience should reinforce the idea that your organization is an industry leader. Every piece of content has to be useful and relevant, including website content, social media posts, and email newsletters.

Depending on what you find from your customer data analysis, the channels that your customers respond to should be your top priority. It’s better to focus on a handful of content types and get them right rather than to try and dish out everything. Find out what mediums your target buyers prefer, and dominate your niche through consistent, extremely high-quality content via these priority channels, whether it is LinkedIn articles and expert interview podcast sessions, case studies and well-researched white papers, thought leader blog posts, instructional videos, or live events.

Keep in mind, 90 percent of B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major impact on their purchase decisions. Therefore, make sure every facet of your organization’s online content casts the right impression for your brand, and more importantly, fits within your overall content strategy. Each piece of content should be connected to the rest.

Move to an Adjacent Niche

Branching out to an adjacent niche isn’t easy, but when done well, it can lead to long-term (and remarkable) growth. For your buyers, it gives them the opportunity to get more out of your brand, offering a one-stop shop for multiple solutions within your industry. From a marketing perspective, it’s about looking beyond the defined borders of your audience to what else they are interested in and need.

Nike is one of the best examples of shifting outwards, first through its marketing and later through product offerings. They started with establishing a leading position for selling athletic shoes, and over the years Nike branched out into every area of athletic apparel, from basketball and tennis to golf. It makes buyer decisions pure simplicity – customers already trust your brand and your products. They’ll be more likely to stick with your brand for cross-products.

Know who wants to take the journey, what channels to guide them through, and then make it as easy as possible to find you. Once they are engaged, every step on their path should give them the sense of more confidence that purchasing your product is going to solve their original dilemma – and offer more value than they bargained, because your grasp of data has led to spot-on customer experience.

This post originally appeared on DNB.com/perspectives

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.