Here is a typical scenario that is still happening today.
A software buyer sees a piece of gated content about a topic she is interested in on LinkedIn. She adds her details to receive the content (a book, video, white paper etc.)
She receives this and reads with interest.
Sales count this as a lead.
2 days later she receives an email from sales thanking her for the download and could she choose a date from the sales calendar schedule to ‘discuss her requirements…’
She has no intention of doing this.
A day later she receives a call from the sales team. She ignores the call. Calls and emails persist.
Sales are ghosted.
Result – the brand is tainted, the lead is wasted and a future prospect is probably lost. Sales says marketing’s not working.
The cycle continues hoping someone will bite.
The B2B buyer market
We’ve passed the halfway point of 2022.
The recent LinkedIn Global State of Sales 2022 Report stated, “About 1/3 of sellers (31%) say that they have ‘closed’ deals over $500,000 without ever meeting the buyer face to face…” This number is up on the previous year and is more than likely to grow.
These are ‘closed’ deals. Not inquiries, prospects, or marketing qualified leads (MQLs).
Though this number may surprise a few, Google has been saying this for years through their search data, that over half of B2B buyers make up their minds before talking to a company.
The buyer-seller gap
There is so much buyer apathy when delving into some of the data. It is clear to see that a lot of this is driven by the way B2B buyers move along their journey.
The knock-on effect of the Pandemic has caused changes in the buying pattern, alongside the likes of the B2B Omnichannel and deeper research by buyers.
It is clear that since the consumer market has changed, and people are comfortable buying large ticket numbers without having to consult a salesperson – think luxury goods, cars etc., so too has the business buyer.
Though many buyers still prefer human contact, there is a huge upside to educating and building relationships.
Stuck in old ways
If buyers are behaving in this way, why are organisations selling their services, failing to address the needs of buyers?
Sadly, a lot of thinking about B2B sales is dated and those running various departments are stuck in outmoded processes.
Not all the information that sales and marketing are looking for is in the CRM or Analytics. The world has moved on.
A brave new world
Content is driving conversation.
From podcasts to video, from forums to small speaker engagements at events – all of these, when done properly are nurturing the buyer and treating them like a proper potential customer – not a line item on a spreadsheet.
There is a simple reason for this and I’ve been saying it for years — The 95:5 rule
From Marketing Week:
Research with Professor John Dawes of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute. According to Dawes, only 5% of B2B buyers are in-market to buy right now.
That means 95% of the buyers that you reach are out-of-market and won’t buy for months or even years. And, contrary to popular belief, you cannot persuade the buyer to go in-market because they already have what you’re selling and won’t need a newer version any time soon.
Therefore producing and distributing relevant rich content, omnichannel activity and listening to the needs of the target market in combination can help better, deeper results over time.