The strength of your B2B marketing strategy depends on how well you connect with your buyer. In order to convert your B2B lead into a customer, you need to know exactly who is in control. However, in the B2B world, finding out this information can be a challenge. Decision-makers' positions can vary from company to company, and there may be more than one person in charge.
Identifying your decision-maker early in the marketing process can save you time, money, and resources. When you do extra research to find the right person to connect with, you can develop a stronger relationship with your customer, allowing you to close your sale faster. The best way to do this is through understanding the buying process, identifying your influencer, and making the right connections.
In this article, we'll first talk about understanding B2B decisions in terms of decision-makers and influencers. We'll then reveal a step-by-step process you can follow to find your decision-maker and convince them to purchase. Let's jump in!
- A B2B purchase may involve more than one decision-maker.
- Connecting with a company influencer can help you establish a stronger relationship with your decision-maker.
- You should produce content to appeal to all members of the decision-making team.
An Introduction to B2B Decision-Makers and Influencers
We often think of a B2B customer as the company itself, but in order to close a sale, you need to appeal to the people behind the brand. Because company decision-makers are consumers themselves, in some ways you can market to a B2B customer as you would to B2C customer.
However, because the risks, challenges, and needs associated with a B2B purchase are typically far more serious than a B2C transaction, there may be many individuals involved in the process. While this can make things more complex, it also opens the door for you to identify an influencer who can advocate for your product or service and persuade the decision-maker.
Since the person with the final say can be extremely difficult to connect with, attracting the attention of an influencer first can give you a better chance of success. However, you'll still need to convince the decision-maker in the end. Therefore, you need to ensure your marketing material appeals to both the decision-maker and the influencer you are targeting.
How to Find Your Decision-Maker and Sell to Them (In 4 Steps)
Now that you have a better understanding of the role of decison-makers and influencers, you can follow this four-step guide to connect with an influencer, identify your decision-maker, and close a sale.
Step 1: Understand the Buying Process
Before you even connect with anyone, it's helpful to try to understand a company's buying process for your particular product or service, in terms of who is involved. For example, low-cost, low-risk purchases, such as office supplies, likely won't require approval from upper management, whereas large, high-risk expenses probably will. Matthew Harrison of B2B International offers a good rule of thumb: "If the customer spends less than 5% of their overall annual budget on your offer, classify this as ‘low’. Otherwise, classify their spend on your offer as ‘high’."
Consider where your products or services would fall on this spectrum to better understand who your buyer will be. Look at the size of the company and what roles the business holds in-house. If it's a small company with only a few employees, chances are upper management is involved with all purchases, regardless of cost or risk. Knowing how the company makes purchases can give you a better idea of what kind of influencer you should be targeting.
Step 2: Identify Your Influencer
Your influencer probably won't have the final say in whether or not a product or service is purchased, but they do hold enough weight with your decision-maker to help push your sale to close. Potential influencers include assistants, managers, or department heads. Regardless of who your influencer is, they should be someone at the company who has a lot to gain from using your products or services.
Many companies put team pages on their website, such as this example from Khan Academy, so it's relatively simple to find the right person to connect with. Using links to their profiles and social media accounts, you can do your own research to uncover what problems they may be experiencing or troubles you may be able to solve.
Shoot them a message, send them an email, or even give them a call, and fill them in on the ways your products or services can help them out. Once you have your influencer sold on what you're offering, you'll have a much better chance at convincing the final decision-maker.
Step 3: Connect With Your Decision-Maker
Your final decision-maker might be a CEO, department VP, or another upper-level employee who can be difficult to connect with without an influencer's help. Once you've established a strong relationship with your influencer and gotten them on board with the purchase, they can connect you with the individual in charge of making the final decision. According to Brian Moseley at Hubspot, they can even convince the decision-maker on your behalf.
Leverage your new relationship with your influencer to make a connection with the person in charge of making decisions. Ask for an introduction, and find out what content they may be looking for. If you've effectively sold your influencer on your products or services, they'll be happy to help you make the right connections to close the sale.
Step 4: Create Content for Each Party
Convincing all members of the purchasing process to close a sale can't be done without content that appeals to each of them individually. In order to get the entire purchasing team excited about the product or service you're offering, you need to be able to provide them with the unique information they need to see the value in the investment.
Although this kit from HubSpot is targeted at influencers, it exemplifies the need to create specific content to cater to each individual involved in the buying process. Knowing how your decision-makers think and what type of information they're looking for can help you ensure that everyone has the right resources to approve your product or service.
In many B2B purchases, your decision-maker will not be the first person you connect with. In fact, it may be nearly impossible for you to get in touch with the right person without having a connection inside the company. This means that enlisting the help of a company influncer to help you through the buying process can make closing a sale much easier.
Let's recap the four steps you should take to identify and connect with your decision-maker:
- Step 1: Use the cost and risk associated with your product or service to better understand how a company may purchase your product.
- Step 2: Find someone within the company who will benefit from purchasing your product or service.
- Step 3: Enlist the help of your influencer to get inside information on your decision-maker.
- Step 4: Be ready with unique and specific content for both your influencer and your decision-maker.
How do you plan to use these steps to create a stronger connection with your decision-maker? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image Source: Unsplash.