“When we let myths influence our decision-making, that can lead to critical mistakes,” says Meta Karagianni, European Director of Marketing Executive Services at SiriusDecisions Joined on-stage at SD Summit by Sirius’ Research Director of Portfolio Marketing, Tim Kimber, Karagianni outlines — and then busts — five common B2B myths.
Myth 1: “There is a single buyer’s journey.”
The reality is that buyers can take a number of different journeys. The first scenario is by committee, with decisions made at the executive leadership level, with a sales timeframe of up to a year. Then there’s the consensus scenario, where buyers are more focused in teams, functions or departments, with a slightly shorter time frame of three to six months. And finally there is the independent scenario, agreed amongst individuals, with smaller deals and much shorter timeframes, where it is very easy to glean buyer insights.
Myth 2: “B2B buying is linear.”
Buyer interactions are episodic, not linear, with decision-makers often coming back with additional questions or needs.
Myth 3: “Digital is replacing human.”
Actually, a balanced go-to-market strategy, comprising both human and non-human, is essential to success. Take the independent buyer, for instance; based on Sirius’ Asia-Pacific data, that buyer typically expects 14 total interactions during the complete process. 7 of those interactions will be human, 7 non-human. In consensus scenarios, the total is 18; 10 non-human and 8 human. At committee level, it’s 24, comprising 12 of each. On average globally, 52 per cent of buyer/vendor interactions are non-human, and 48 per cent are human.
Myth 4: “B2B buyers don’t engage with sales in the early stages of the buyer’s journey.”
The truth is, sellers are interacting with buyers at every stage of that journey. “Marketing plays a huge role in sales behaviour, ensuring sellers are well-equipped to have powerful conversations with your buyers,” says Meta. “And it’s not just sales reps; it takes a village to close a deal. Ultimately, sellers give buyers three things a machine can’t: trust, confidence, and knowledge.”
Myth 5: “Global and regional brands don’t differ.”
When it comes to types of interaction, preferences can vary across personas, and across region. The education, solution, and selection phases of the journey map all look very different depending on location, with behaviour in Asia-Pacific differing quite significantly from other regions in the solutions and selection stages, relying more heavily on analyst reports to help make decisions, while elsewhere the case study or sales presentation will be the key document.
“Your sales reps need to understand the journey the buyer wants to go on,” says Kimber, who recommends that product managers use their knowledge and work with portfolio marketing, to leverage their deep insights about buyers.
“If you understand what your buyers need today, you can make sure that your current product fits that, and then you can talk to those buyers and understand what they’ll be looking for tomorrow,” he says. “That will then guide your product road going forward, and you can make sure you match perfectly to what your buyer is looking for in future.”
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