As businesses become more dependent on technology and the tech is interconnected, more people are necessarily involved in the decisions. Buying committees now include an average of 11 people, with large enterprises often including more. Gaining consensus is one of the most challenging parts of the buying process now, and vendors need to find a way to simplify it. By addressing and marketing to the diversity in the buying committee, vendors have a better chance of getting their products in front of the right people.
Buyers Have Different Preferences
Not all members of the buying committee will look for the same types of assets and information. Some may prefer webinars and video events, while others would rather read an article or download a PDF. Some will click on paid ads while others won’t. And many will go to third-party sites first to do research before they ever get to a vendor because they’re looking for unbiased information.
Vendors have to meet buyers where they are, which means creating content in a mix of formats; generating a good mix of earned, owned, and paid media; and working with third-party sites to get your product in front of a larger audience. While one content format may get you in front of one person on the buying committee, it likely won’t be enough to create a consensus. You’ll need multiple members of the buying committee to take notice of your product to have a chance of getting the business.
Buyers Have Different Concerns
Buying committees are made up of several different job titles, and different job titles mean a variety of pain points. Additionally, even the same job title at different companies can mean different things, so you’ll never know exactly what problems buyers are looking to solve unless you speak directly to them. Unfortunately, you may not get the chance to address every member of the buying committee.
Therefore, you must make it easy for members to assuage their colleagues’ concerns. Vendor content should address a variety of problems that your product solves. And focus on the problems and solutions, rather than the features your offerings include. Buyers won’t care about all the cool things your product can do if it can’t solve their problems. And if they aren’t sure it will, they’ll move on to another option.
Buyers Have Different Roles Within the Committee
Just like buyers have different concerns they’re looking to address, buyers also handle different roles within the buying committee. Managers and senior individual contributors may identify that there’s a problem and start looking for ways to solve it, typically with new technology. Then, they’ll determine what exactly they need feature-wise to solve that problem and if there are tools that include additional features that could be useful. At that point, they may bring in leaders from other departments to find a product that addresses a wider need.
And you also have to worry about influencers — the executives and directors who will weigh in to help create a consensus and make the final decision. Influencers can be a real challenge to address because they tend to hop in and out of the process. Anywhere from 3.1 to 4.6 groups within the organization can influence the purchasing decision.
Most of these people won’t be actively searching for solutions, so how can you address all of them during the buying process? You’ll need to address various pain points in your marketing efforts, including budget, to help buyers that find your product communicate effectively with the rest of their committee.
Buyers Have Different Processes
To make matters even more complicated, the buying journey isn’t linear, and buyers may follow any order of steps and go back to them several times. For example, a buyer may be introduced to a solution and then determine whether they have a problem that warrants it. Or they may identify a problem and start identifying potential vendors, only to realize their problem needs to be addressed in a different way, pushing them back to the research phase.
To make sure you’re getting in front of the right people, you must create content for every stage of the buying process and find ways to place it beyond your website. You can’t expect all of your buyers to start at the top of the funnel and follow your product down it until they turn into a lead. You may not even get to talk to them directly until they’re further along in the buying process.
No Two B2B Software Buyers Are the Same
Vendors can’t capture all buyers with all marketing campaigns, so you must create a variety of campaigns to speak to each person on the buying committee. You’ll need to target certain pain points or preferences to resonate with a specific audience. Additionally, creating a mix of content and campaign formats gives you the best chance to reach members of the buying committee and help them create a consensus.
TechnologyAdvice helps vendors reach their intended audience with our lead generation and content syndication services. Not only can we help you create compelling content to inform and engage buyers, but we also leverage our audience of 100 million exclusive tech buyers actively researching products like yours. Contact us today to learn more and see how we can help you fill your pipeline.