Before even reaching out to a salesperson or wholesale suppliers, almost 60% of today's B2B buyers make buying decisions. 81 percent trust the advice of family, friends, and colleagues between vigilant independent web study, third-party review sites, peer-to-peer reviews, and word-of-mouth, while 55 percent report having little confidence in companies they purchase from. B2B consumers obviously do not need you until they determine that they do.
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Industrial B2B buyer journeys are slightly different.
It can take years to investigate a purchase, or if the situation warrants, they can just as quickly hop online and make a decision within a few weeks. For anything like new manufacturing equipment, not every purchase is going to be a high-risk, highly researched order.
There are also many shorter transactions often made by industrial buyers that require just a few minutes to complete, such as placing a replacement component in a new order. These customers are working on their own terms, however, and salespeople need to adapt.
Understand The Industrial Buyer’s Cycle
The industrial purchasing cycle is really a two-step process from the viewpoint of a supplier: the customer discovers that there is a need and comes to a supplier to purchase the product or service.
That's an oversimplification, though. At a high level, six distinct stages are currently involved in the process they go through.
The buyer defines the criteria for a product or service
In order to learn about potential options, the buyer conducts research
The customer researches product data while executing a new design
The seller evaluates prospective suppliers in the b2b marketplace
A shortlist of the best suppliers is created by the buyer
The buyer makes a purchase with the winning supplier
3 Nuances Of The Industrial Buyer’s Journey
1. Size Of Purchase (Big Purchases Vs. Smaller Transactions)
You need to have your website, content, sales, and nurturing techniques optimized to maximize your importance, whether the industrial transactions your business deals with are seven-figure heavy equipment purchases or focused on regular needs such as machinery replacement parts and fluids.
This means getting easy-to-search and navigate product inventory sites, and a straightforward, quick order placement process; a nurturing strategy that promotes repeat purchases from your current customers and/or lets you keep in constant touch with prospects considering larger purchases over the long sales period.
2. Research (Large Purchase/New Supplier Vs. Repeated Purchases)
Diligent researchers make industrial B2B buyers. The purchases they make and the suppliers they cultivate relationships with have a far-reaching effect, especially when it comes to major capital investments and planned ROI, such as machinery that is expected to last and work for at least 15 years.
Generally, because of the number of business criteria to be met, industry regulations to be complied with, and quality benchmarks to be met for major transactions, no stone is left unturned.
That does not mean, however, that industrial B2B buyers slough-off lower buying options.
Throughout the year, many industrial B2B buyers maintain relationships with their suppliers in the b2b marketplace and purchase common or lower ticket products from them repeatedly.
Putting customers first shows you value the relationship, not just the business, by engaging with them as and when they want and listening to their input.
To influence strangers and opportunities that come your way in the future, customers become your ardent promoters.
3. Technology And Delayed Implementation
While it is vital for every company to remain at the forefront of its industry's latest technologies, industrial B2B buyers are not always as eager or willing to introduce it right away. Let's say a new production machine that uses a whole new technology to minimize manufacturing time by 25 percent hits the market.
It could take years to verify that the argument is valid and that the technology is an industry must-have. Likewise, whether the equipment is newer or not in line for replacement, it is not feasible to introduce technology in the near term.
Rest assured, industrial B2B buyers are always searching for new ways to enhance their productivity and generally embrace technology, but for those buyers who can't make improvements right away, there are some realities that your sales plan needs to address.
Tips To Impact The Industrial Buyer’s Journey
With a coherent content marketing plan, without a hard sell, you can give prospects a better look at your organization through the content you produce and share. You can show your worth differently, whether it is providing free eBooks or white papers, or interacting with prospects via social media while improving the chances of moving to the shortlist.
Expand the reach of your business over a new generation of practitioners by using digital resources, not only a digitized version of your old paper catalog, but an eCatalog.
The B2B professionals of today expect to easily browse, discover and pick your goods wherever they are from their desktop, cell phone, or tablet, and digitized catalogs make that possible.
Will you like to get potential customers to read between purchasing cycles? Don't try to pitch to them, discuss the pressure points they face in their day-to-day work. Troubleshooting, changes in effectiveness, common issues, and so on. New trends and technologies are still common subjects, and an ever-changing subject of interest is also the position of your business in the broader economic landscape.
Publish New Releases
Communicating your product news and business updates periodically to your customers allows you to be top-of-mind at the time of purchase. Keep them in the loop with email newsletters. Newsletters help nurture current clients and engage new ones, whether it's a weekly recap or a monthly roundup.
More and more consumers use social media daily, whether for news or for a little bit of downtime. More B2B marketers are learning how to use social media to advertise their manufacturing brand to new networks, sell their products on b2b marketplaces, in order to keep up with the digital transformation in sales and marketing.
The process of industrial buying can be complicated, but each move is a chance for you to position yourself as the best partner.
You can develop a marketing strategy by recognizing the complex dynamics of the industrial B2B buyer's journey, which speaks to their pain points and provides real solutions that turn internet researchers to prospects, prospects to customers, and customers to enthusiastic promoters.