It’s not uncommon for many manufacturers to still be relying solely on traditional outbound sales and marketing methods, such as attending trade shows and other in-person events, sending out printed mailers, and using basic cold-calling tactics. These may always be staples for B2B businesses, but there are many inbound marketing strategies and tactics that you can implement to not only get ahead, but more importantly, stay ahead of your competition.
Regardless of what industry you’re in, all companies are always looking for one thing: ways to increase lead awareness in order to generate more sales. According to HubSpot, in 2019, more than 40 percent of salespeople said prospecting was the most challenging part of the sales process, followed by closing (36 percent) and qualifying (22 percent) leads.
Accurately understanding who your buyers are (start by developing buyer personas) will ensure that you’re targeting the most valuable potential customers. From there, you’ll need to find out what types of questions they’re asking and, using that information, create helpful content to answer them.
This is all part of understanding and utilizing the Buyer’s Journey. When done correctly, you can drastically increase the amount of sales qualified leads (SQLs) and opportunities that will help you reach your goals.
Let’s get started!
Buyer’s Journey Stage #1: Awareness
The awareness stage is often where your potential buyer is dealing with a specific problem and they are in the initial research phase, looking for a potential solution.
Unfortunately, only about 19 percent of buyers want to connect with a salesperson during this stage. This makes it even more important for manufacturers to ensure they’re creating valuable content which can help guide buyers further down the sales cycle.
Ensuring visibility in this phase is important. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play. One effective way to reach potential buyers is through video. In fact, 7 out of 10 B2B buyers watch a video at some point in their buying process. Using different types of video, such as explainer or promotional videos, can help you gain interest and quickly answer common buyer questions—all while capitalizing on the SEO benefits that video provides.
Because so many manufacturers deal with technical or complex topics, you can benefit from creating research- or industry-related reports and white papers. Establishing your organization as a subject matter expert in your field will increase credibility and appeal to your more educated or knowledgeable personas.
Even if some of your buyer personas require a bit more education, creating simple, educational e-books or guides with the basics or how-tos can provide tremendous value.
Buyer’s Journey Stage #2: Consideration
The consideration stage is when the buyer knows there is a solution that serves their needs and they commit to learning more about a specific solution and its features, capabilities, or a brand.
This is where you’ll start attracting and identifying more SQLs. About 60 percent of buyers say they would like to connect with sales to learn more during this stage.
How-to videos are helpful offerings that provide easy breakdowns of products or solutions. A pre-recorded or live webinar can feature experts and industry professionals from outside or within your company.
Showcasing reviews in video or other digital formats provides great social proof for those who may be interested in, but not yet convinced of, the benefits of your offerings.
Comparison sheets are another great way to help convert buyers in this stage. Because manufacturers deal with such large volumes, it's helpful to show scale and offerings compared to other competitors or brands. Providing this information in an easy-to-understand format can help the potential buyer move closer to making a buying decision.
Buyer’s Journey Stage #3: Decision
The final stage is where the buyer is ready to ultimately select a company or manufacturer they would like to work with, they just haven’t quite figured out which one.
This is where you’ll especially need to shine. Interestingly, only 20 percent of buyers at this stage want to speak with a salesperson. Because they most likely spoke to a salesperson in the consideration stage, they may resort back to conducting more of their own research before making their final decision. They may also not be the ultimate decision maker and this will have to be taken into consideration when creating content.
Case studies are a great way for a prospect to see firsthand the value that your company was able to provide to someone like them. Focusing on specific pain points, solutions, and outcomes that showcase your capabilities and services is key for swaying a decision one way or another.
Video is a simple way to engage with these prospects in a more personalized way. Short, informative demonstration videos can effectively show the nuts and bolts of what prospects may be looking for. Customizing video can be made easy with the wide variety of features included on many available video platforms, but again, take into consideration which personas may be more inclined to find this valuable.
Make sure to check out The Most Effective B2B Videos for Every Stage of Your Buyer’s Journey, our webinar about how you can use video in your efforts to increase SQLs and opportunities.
About the author
Brittany Fleck is an Inbound Marketing Senior Specialist based out of Kihei, HI. She started her career as a graphic designer and segued into creating marketing strategies for a B2B financial services company for many years. Read more articles by Brittany Fleck.