The B2B buying process can seem like a complex, and often lengthy one. And many people struggle to convert their leads into sales.
You might think your business is pretty hot at getting B2B leads. But for some reason, those leads just aren’t converting into the sales that you need in order to thrive.
What’s going on?
The challenge is you’re likely treating them like a business and communicating with them as an entity. Instead you should remember that the business is made up of humans who are responsible for decision-making, including the decision to purchase.
Yes, there are some inherent differences between B2C and B2B, however, these days, the business to business buying process is a little more human-centred.
If you are a B2B seller then you’ll need to understand how to nurture your leads through the B2B buying process, in order to convert them. Companies that excel at this generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost.
And it’s something we are pretty familiar with, after all, we’re a business that sells our services to other businesses. And, many of our clients are, in turn, selling their products or services B2B.
In this blog, we’ll explore the B2B buying process, and how to nurture your leads into conversion.
> Related content: Marketing automation for B2B companies
What does the B2B buying process look like?
In an ideal world, your target customer would land on your website and immediately buy your product/service, or get in touch with you to buy.
However, that’s sadly not the world we live in…
These days potential customers need to come into contact with your business multiple times before buying. It’s estimated that your customers need around eight touchpoints, however, that exact number will vary from business to business.
It’s easy to think of the B2B buying process as full of corporate machines, with little humanity. And while there are some inherent challenges to B2B purchases, the truth is, that businesses are made up of people. And so their road to purchase is similar in many ways to that of a regular consumer.
They follow the same awareness stages as regular consumers because they are. Just regular consumers that sit in front of zoom for half the day, with business attire on top and pyjamas on the bottom half. These stages are:
And, so as businesses we need to take the person in charge of purchasing through these stages.
How to nurture conversions in the B2B buying process…
There are a couple of different ways that we advocate for you to attract, wow and nurture your prospects throughout the B2B buying process.
They will help you to build trust and add value to your potential business customers:
1. Content plan and strategy…
2. Long-term Email nurture series…
First, let's look at how this helps nurture the B2B buying process.
B2B Buying Process: Content Plan & Strategy
These days buyers are like little online detectives They like to thoroughly research and investigate all their options before getting in touch with you.
And the B2B buying process isn’t any different…
A Gartner study showed that B2B buyers spend 27% of the buying cycle carrying out online research. And this has only been intensified throughout the pandemic, with more and more people researching online, as it’s been their only option.
So, if your target market is businesses, you need to keep this in mind. Step away from the antiquated assumption that the person responsible for buying within the business isn’t consuming content to inform their purchase. They are, and that content can come in many different forms including
- Lead magnets/e-books
However it’s not enough just to create any old content and assume that it will do the job. You’ll need to ensure that you are creating data-driven content that hits your customers at the relevant awareness level.
This content will help move your prospects and leads through the B2B buying process, and convert them into customers (and even repeat customers).> Related content: What is a data-driven content plan?
B2B Buying Process: Long-Term Nurture Campaigns…
We talked about touchpoints already, and sometimes your prospects just aren’t ready to buy yet
Maybe they aren’t quite ready to make a buying decision yet. Or, maybe they don’t know, like or trust you enough to hand over their money. Whatever the reason is they need a little something more before they make the final purchase decision.The B2B buying process is notoriously long, especially within some sectors. And that is why long-term nurture email sequences are so crucial for B2B sales. It will help you close the gap on that 80% of leads that never translate into sales.
A Long Term Nurture email campaign is an automated sequence of emails, triggered by someone joining your list, which delivers value-add emails.
It’s common to utilise content and long-term nurture sequences together. You can drip-feed the content to your prospects at the relevant awareness stage.
However, there are many benefits to a long-term nurture series including
- Creating a regular touchpoint with your customer
- Regularly engaging your email list
- Allowing prospects to experience who you are as a business
- Earns the trust of your customer
- Drives traffic to your website
- Increases Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
- Leads to better conversions
So, they are pretty great and one of the best ways to consistently nurture your B2B leads and convert them into sales.
How to use marketing automation to increase B2B conversions
It’s likely that you now understand just how to convert B2B leads into your ideal customer. But now it’s time to look at how you can integrate marketing automation into your customer journey in order to seamlessly deliver the content required to nurture conversion.
Most businesses have flirted with marketing automation. They might have implemented something like MailChimp or Converkit to deliver a monthly newsletter, or a welcome series post lead magnet download.
It’s a great start, but if you don’t map out the rest of the customer journey, then you may not get the conversion results that you are looking for.
Very few businesses fully commit to marketing automation - it’s time to put a ring on it and commit
If fully implemented there are a wide range of functions that marketing automation can carry out. And it can form an integral part of converting B2B leads to customers. It allows you to:
- Create welcome series
- Drip-feed email nurture series (with content embedded)
- Sales emails (a.k.a making the offer)
- Order forms
- Abandon carts
- And more….
Marketing automation allows you to save time, and anticipate the needs of your customers and potential customers. It’s a brilliant way to educate, entertain and delight them - which is essential for loyal, long-term customers.
For more details on each of these, plus how you can use marketing automation in your B2B business to convert leads into sales you can read our blog on it here.
Do you need help with your B2B conversions?
So, if you’re getting leads, but still struggling to get the sale with your B2B customers then it might mean that you need to nurture them more.
After all, B2B consumers aren’t all that different from any others. They need to know that you care about them, that you are going to help them overcome their problems and ultimately that they can trust you.
Content and long-term lead nurture series can really help you build trust in your leads through the B2B buying process, and convert them into customers.
Check out our Marketing Automation Academy. Here you can learn everything you need to know about how to attract, engage, sell and wow your prospects and customers. If you are a small to medium business, that like to learn and implement as you go - the academy will help you do just that.
Or, if you'd prefer to hand the reins over to the experts, get in touch with the Ninjas to find out how we can ramp up your nurture to conversion rates.
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