Customer Buy Cycle Dynamics are Changing
In the B2B world, for decades the customer buy cycle has been something of a given:
- Research and needs analysis
- Comparison and evaluation
- Purchase decision
Today, the basics of the buy cycle haven’t changed, but thanks to the explosion of information that’s just a keystroke away, people are using digital resources at every stage in their buy cycle.
Here’s the thing: It’s easy now for buyers to discover information about products and suppliers – and to narrow down their choices long before making supplier contacts.
Today, only about 40% of buyers make contact with suppliers during the “research and needs” stage. Another 40% wait until the “comparison and needs evaluation” phase.
And 20% don’t contact a seller at all until they’re actually ready to make a purchase.
These behaviors require a change in marketing tactics, too:
- Maintain a strong online presence wherever customers spend their time during early buy cycle stages.
(This includes search engine visibility, too.)
- Have compelling informational and educational content that helps “sell” your products and solutions – even without the benefit of salesperson interaction.
- Proactively push your content through relevant digital channels so that it’s easily findable when your prospect is in “research and evaluation mode.”
One other thing: When inquiries do come in, be prepared to respond with specifics, not generalities, in order to keep the momentum going with these already-informed prospects.