Social media marketing is an unstoppable force that continues to shake-up the customer purchasing journey and transform marketing strategies. Combined with the multiple devices now being used by customers and an always-on culture, it’s clear to see why marketers now have a whole new world of challenges to face.
A recent LinkedIn report looked at these changes within the B2B marketplace and suggested some ways that B2Bs can improve their strategies accordingly. The report explored the relationship between buyers, marketers and salespeople, surveying 6,000 global participants about the buying process. Here are some important takeaways from the research:
Prioritise content your prospects actually want
According to LinkedIn’s research, what buyers most want from businesses is knowledge. The four most important factors affecting B2B buyers’ willingness to engage with a vendor are…
- An ability on the part of the vendor to demonstrate a true understanding of the buying company’s business model
- The vendor being able to present itself as a credible thought leader
- The vendor’s ability to provided valuable consultation, education or tools
- An ability of the part of the vendor to show real knowledge of the buying company’s products & services
Provide a wide range of content to reflect your diverse audience
LinkedIn’s survey found that B2B buyers require a range of content when making a purchasing decision, from product information and demos to white papers and thought leadership articles. Marketers must deliver a range of messages throughout the sales funnel as part of a complete marketing strategy. All the more so given that B2B buying tends to be a team sport, meaning that numerous departments are likely to be involved in the process, especially for larger-scale deals.
Use social media throughout the process
Social media has an important role at every step of the way along the sales funnel, from awareness to planning, through to research and implementation. It is perhaps no surprise that social media is in the top three preferred content delivery channels for buyers, but I found it particularly revealing that B2B buyers using LinkedIn are way more engaged than the average user of the platform - in fact they almost almost 10 times more likely to share content.
In the light of the above, are you confident that your sales process is in tune with the modern customer journey and adequately reflects the preferences of today’s B2B buyer?