Table of Contents
- 1 Awareness: The moment they know they have a problem, need, or desire
- 2 Research: When they begin to gather information on the product or service they need
- 3 Consideration: Deciding which specific products or services will meet their needs
- 4 Selection: Choosing the right vendor
- 5 Purchase: The act of purchasing itself
- 6 Review and Repeat: The final step in determining whether that product or service — and the vendor who provided it — is worthy of future business.
- 7 How B2B companies can use technology to improve the buying process
- 8 B2B customers are much more complex than B2C consumers.
- 9 In summary
Awareness: The moment they know they have a problem, need, or desire
The first step in the buying process is awareness. Awareness can be triggered by a problem, need, or desire. An event, such as a new product launch, or a change in environment, such as the entrance of a new competitor, can also trigger it.
There are several ways to trigger awareness:
- Advertising (online and offline)
- Word of mouth (think peer endorsement)
- Salespeople and customer service representatives who help customers solve problems
- Social media influencers who share information about products they like
Research: When they begin to gather information on the product or service they need
The research phase is a multifaceted process that can be done in several ways. First, the customer may research online by searching for information on the web and reading reviews of related products or services.
They might also seek expert opinions on these products or services and how they relate to their situation. Finally, they could talk to friends, family, and colleagues who have used similar products or services.
The customer will take all of this information into account when making their decision about which product or service to buy from you.
Consideration: Deciding which specific products or services will meet their needs
You’ve decided to buy a new car, and you’re at the dealership looking at options. The salesperson walks over and asks if he can help. You ask them what features are available on different models, and he answers them without pushing you toward any specific car. They also give you some helpful advice about how much fuel economy to expect based on your driving habits. In the end, it’s up to you: Do you want a sedan or an SUV? A manual transmission or an automatic one?
The most important part of this process isn’t selecting which specific product or service will meet their needs—it’s deciding which general category of products is best for them overall. This is known as the “consideration phase” in B2B eCommerce marketing lingo.
Selection: Choosing the right vendor
After you’ve narrowed your search, it’s time to choose which vendor you want to do business with. In this section, we’ll discuss finding a vendor that is right for you and ensuring they’re reputable.
Before choosing a vendor, it is crucial to consider the following questions:
- What are the company’s goals?
- How does their pricing compare to other companies in their industry?
- Are they offering special discounts or trials? If so, what are the terms of these offers?
Purchase: The act of purchasing itself
The purchase process is the most critical part of the buying funnel. At this point, you’ve built a relationship with your prospect and are close to closing the deal. However, if you don’t deliver on your promises and give them a great experience during this step, they’ll be less likely to return.
To succeed at this point:
- Communicate value through pricing, offers, and promotions
- Be responsive and provide an excellent customer service experience.
Review and Repeat: The final step in determining whether that product or service — and the vendor who provided it — is worthy of future business.
This is where customers evaluate the product or service they received and decide whether to purchase again.
- Did it meet my needs?
- Was it easy to use?
- Did they provide me with value?
How B2B companies can use technology to improve the buying process
- Use technology to improve the customer experience. The customer journey is not just about the buying process. It’s also about how well you can create an online presence and maintain a strong brand throughout that journey.
- Use technology to improve sales processes, including lead generation and marketing automation platforms that can automate tasks like email drip campaigns or social media ads based on a prospect’s engagement with your website or other channels.
- Use technology to better understand what customers want from your product/service offering by gathering data on user behavior across various touch points in their buying journey, whether that’s browsing products on your website or engaging with content in social media channels such as Facebook Ads or Google AdWords (which uses machine learning algorithms for ad targeting). This helps prioritize development features so that they’re based on actual needs rather than assumptions about what people might want from you down the road (which may be wrong.).
B2B customers are much more complex than B2C consumers.
B2B customers are much more complex than B2C consumers, with a longer buying process and a greater propensity to research and compare products before making a purchase. This means that they have different expectations from the shopping experience.
B2B shoppers expect a personalized experience where they can access all relevant information about the people behind the business and what makes it tick. They want to understand how your products or services will help them achieve their goals and how you differ from your competitors.
You need to be able to provide this at every stage of the journey—from discovery through self-service tools like product configurators or interactive demos until after purchase, where support staff can guide them down each step of their journey for them to get maximum value out of their investment.
B2B customers are much more complex than B2C consumers, and they have different expectations at every step of the buying process. Nonetheless, by understanding how they think and what they want, you can deliver a better experience.
A detailed roadmap is essential for any B2B company trying to improve its marketing strategy. You can identify growth opportunities by mapping out where your customers are at each stage of their buying process.