Converting customers is the lifeblood of business. But before you can persuade them to buy your product, you must know what they’re looking for and the challenges they face along the way. So before you make a pitch, please take a moment to get to know their B2B buying process.
You have likely heard of the B2C Buying Process, but did you know there is also a B2B version? Well, you’re in luck. We will cover everything you need to know about understanding and optimizing your organization’s B2B buying process.
That’s right: We will explain the buying process in full detail and how it differs from other types of processes before discussing some key metrics to watch when optimizing your company’s experience through the various stages of that journey. After that, we’ll discuss how companies can implement improvements at each stage to drive more qualified leads through their funnel while improving conversion rates along the way.
What is the B2B Buying Process all about?
Perhaps you’re already familiar with the buyer journey. It’s that mythical process that every buyer goes through before making a purchasing decision. Well, it turns out that many buyers don’t follow this imaginary path. They know they want to solve their problems and get on with their lives!
So what is the B2B buying process? The answer is simple: it can be broken down into five stages:
- Post-purchase behavior
Identify issues and understand the requirements
Where are you now that you’ve identified the problem and documented it? You’re at the beginning of defining your requirements.
To define requirements, you need to perform these actions:
- Identify what can cause or contribute to the problem.
- Investigate why this is important and how it affects your organization’s workflows and business processes.
- Look at how other companies have solved similar problems through technology or process changes and what they did well (or poorly) based on those experiences.
- Establish goals for solving this problem in a way that will improve your business process efficiency. This can include cost savings, time savings, increased revenue generation, and more.
Determine the B2B decision makers
The decision-maker is the person with the authority to make a purchase. They are the ones who can approve and sign off on an investment, making it official. They have this power because they manage and oversee their company’s purchasing process.
In other words, they have control over how money is spent within the business, which means they will likely be part of a committee or board that makes buying decisions together.
How technology has transformed the B2B buying process
Technology has changed the game for B2B buyers. It’s now easier than ever to find solutions, compare them, and better understand their pain points. But this isn’t just good news for customers – it also makes your marketing job much harder.
Why? Because the more you know about the customer journey and buyer personas, the more effectively you can communicate with each persona at each stage of the process. And that means understanding what they need during each stage of their buying journey so that your content meets those needs perfectly!
Different sales models
As the name suggests, consultative selling is a sales model where the buyer has some level of control over the process. The buyer (or “decision-maker”) makes decisions based on their needs and requirements, not yours. This can be frustrating for some sellers because it takes away from what they’d like to be doing—selling!
However, if you’re willing to learn about your prospect’s business and understand how you can help them meet those needs better than anyone else, this approach can be very fruitful for both parties involved.
Define the B2B buying process model
Have you ever wondered what the B2B buying process is? You’re probably thinking, “It’s pretty straightforward: A customer comes to your website, you give them information about your product, and they buy it. Easy!”
Not so fast. You see, buying a product isn’t as simple as walking into a store and plunking down cash for whatever catches your eye. In fact, there are many steps involved in making a purchase decision—for both consumers and business-to-business (B2B) customers alike.
The B2B Buying Process Model is a framework that explains how buyers go through different stages before reaching their final decision about which solution to choose for their needs. The model can be applied across all industries since similar stages apply universally everywhere, from healthcare providers looking for new equipment to technology companies looking for new software solutions.
How to improve the B2B buyer journey
- Understand the buyer’s journey.
- Grasp their pain points.
- Identify their buying process.
- Understand their buying psychology, which includes:
- The decision-making process, or how one decides to buy a product or service (or not buy it). First, you need to understand how people make decisions in general and then apply that knowledge to B2B buyers.
For instance, have you ever been at an airport and seen one of those “Heads Up! I’m watching” signs? That sign makes employees aware that their actions are being recorded on video cameras so that management can review any questionable behavior later if necessary (and hopefully avoidable in future situations).
The same concept applies here—you want to give your business prospects as much information as possible so they can make informed decisions about purchasing from you instead of someone else!
Why the “awareness” stage is crucial
It’s a stage that many companies are familiar with. It’s when your customers haven’t realized they have a problem, but they will soon.
It would help if you convinced them that they have a problem—and that it is severe enough to warrant action. If you can successfully do this, you won’t just win over one sale; you’ll also win over their future business and referrals and recommendations (which often lead to even more sales).
Comparing applicable solutions
Once you better understand your customers and their buying process, it’s time to evaluate and compare available solutions. Many tools can help with this process, including:
- Price comparison engines like G2 Crowd or Capterra allow you to see how different products quickly stack up against one another.
- Customer feedback platforms such as Zendesk or User Voice let you hear directly from your customers.
- Partner interactions like calls with sales representatives on the phone or at events so they can answer questions about products in person.
Confirming the purchase.
The buyer is ready to pull the trigger and make a purchase, but they must justify it to their boss or stakeholders. The buyer must make a case for the purchase and show that it will improve their business.
This is where your marketing pitch comes into play; you’ve hooked them, and now you need to reel them in to buy!
Use technology to improve the process
There was a time when B2B buyers were just as likely to purchase on a whim as any other consumer. However, these days, the ability to access information anywhere and at any time has created an environment where buyers are more informed and empowered than ever. As a result, it’s more important than ever for marketers and salespeople to use technology to improve the buyer journey and overall experience for their audience by implementing user-friendly and forward-thinking tools.
To augment your conversions, you must understand their buying process.
The B2B buyer’s journey is complex and time-consuming. It begins with a diverse set of triggers that push buyers through the funnel. The average journey takes more than three weeks to complete, and if you don’t have the right technology to help them along, they may never reach a sale with your company.
Undoubtedly, technology has significantly impacted the B2B buyer’s journey, making it easier for them to find solutions to their problems. As we’ve mentioned in this blog post, companies need to adopt new technologies to keep up with the rapidly changing world. The most vital thing for any company is its ability to adapt and evolve in today’s competitive market, where B2B buyers’ journeys are constantly changing due to technological advancements like AI and evolving consumer demand.