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The B2B Sales Journey Has Changed...Now What?

Effective B2B marketing results in a short, intuitive, and efficient journey that ends with a sale. Although marketers today have numerous tools at their disposal for B2B marketing, many have not succeeded in facilitating a smooth sales journey. B2B marketing is infamous for being incredibly difficult, complicated, and painful, while buyers often complain that they lack the information needed to make an informed purchase.

What’s the problem with the B2B sales journey today?

There are multiple factors that have contributed to the B2B sales journey becoming quite convoluted. For instance, in many organizations, there are more people involved in purchase decisions than before, meaning you need to woo more individuals in order to make a sale. 

The main reason why many B2B marketers are struggling to meet the expectations of buyers is that they lack knowledge of how buyers are going about making a decision. Without a comprehensive understanding of the decision-making process, B2B marketing is basically guesswork, with lots of wasted investment going to marginal marketing materials that barely have any influence on whether the buyer actually makes a purchase or not. Meanwhile, buyers say they’re spending more time researching, they don’t have enough information, they’re unable to discern whether a product will provide a good ROI and that their questions go unanswered.

How to create an efficient B2B sales journey

Gone are the days of the linear purchasing path, in which customers do research, source a bunch of options, weigh the pros and cons and then make a purchase.  In order to improve your B2B marketing strategy, you need to focus on the experience of the B2B customer. This begins with research—you need to learn exactly what kinds of criteria and information lead to a sale.

There’s no shortcut to discerning the pain points and preferences of your buyers—you have to talk to them firsthand. Conducting email surveys, phone calls, studies, and focus groups are all great ways to learn about your customers’ decision-making process. Just make sure to offer some kind of incentive, like a discount, or an honorarium for participating. As you interview your prospective buyers, take notes about what factors and pieces of information are most useful for them when making a decision.

When implemented correctly, this data will be vital, empowering you to speak directly to the concerns of your buyer. For instance, if your buyer is focused on sustainable practices, you should highlight any green aspects of your company. On the other hand, if they’re mostly worried about affordability, you should emphasize how your product is more cost-effective than the competition.

Next Steps

New frontiers in digital marketing can be helpful for finding creative solutions to the nagging problem of B2B marketing. Videos can be helpful for communicating information in a highly visual manner. Email still reigns supreme as the best marketing channel, with buyers narrowly rating it more influential than content and video marketing.

The popular perception of B2B sales as unnecessarily arduous for both marketers and buyers means that many companies could stand to provide buyers with a better B2B sales journey. When it comes to creating a strong B2B sales experience, knowledge is power. You’ll get a lot of mileage out of really getting to know every detail about your customers’ decision-making process. From there, you’ll be able to cater to them directly and optimize every aspect of the sales pipeline.

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