In a B2B buying process, there are many approval levels involved including finance, accounting, purchasing, information technology management and senior management. Having the organisation involved in buying is supposed to make the process more rational and less emotional in theory. However the people responsible at each level are still humans so there is space for emotions to come into play. With so many steps involved it can also be a time consuming process. Therefore if you make it efficient and smooth as possible, the better it is for your buyers.
With the introduction of online resources, the more information overload there is from marketers, leading to indecision and delay in the decision making cycle. This is why personalising the product and content targeting is crucial. This creates a relationship and dialog between the two businesses where the buyer can be guided through the process. This content can educate and facilitate the buyer's next steps in the process as different information is sought during the several steps of the cycle.
Buyers need to be convinced that buying the product will be beneficial and is needed. Otherwise they may remain as they are without making a purchase from any business. Introducing trends in the industry and developing issues is useful in making them change their priorities. Using social media by increasing their awareness through articles and statistics will also help.
At this stage, the business is committed to change and resolving the problem which they will then research solutions and create a list of providers. To go through each provider to weigh the benefits and advantages of each would be a time consuming process. This is when you as a seller can take advantage and differentiate. In that point in time, the buyer has a basic knowledge of the problem and possible solutions. Expand their thinking with what you can provide that can also cover potential issues created in the future. This can create more demand by challenging their assumptions. Also create specific points of differentiation between you and your competitors.
During the final stage of the buying process, the team making the decision needs to reach a consensus. Many business deals do not work out due to not being able to push consensus to everyone and failing to overcome objections from these people. This is the best time to provide previous customer statistics, success stories and how they have created value after using your business. Focus on these benefits and convey how they will not receive the same level of benefit and value from a competitor.
Remember that the main focus of B2B is to create and maintain strong relationships. You need to address and finesse all the people involved in the approval process as the sales cycle is long and loyalty will most likely be strong. You will have success if you identify the drivers and needs of these businesses and tailor your services to them. They will recognise the potential value and the maximising of the relationship will benefit both businesses in turn.