I think we’re relatively close to making a dramatic breakthrough in understanding how B2B buying decisions are being made. I mean really being made – and it’s definitely not via Twitter! Much as hundreds of marketing agencies would like you to believe, there’s little insight into real sales to be gained by understanding who tweets most noisily about a given subject.
But talk to a business unit manager in, say, an insurance company, about how they would make a typical $500k software system purchase and they’ll detail a number of typical steps. These steps will cover how they log the initial problem to start with, how they list the available options, how they prioritize the actions, how they have to take into account the broader infrastructure, how they make a case for their preferred option, how they escalate the finance request and how they first consider the possible solutions providers.
The more buyer organisations you talk to, the more commonality you’ll hear in their approach.
Now ask any senior figure in your marketing dept. to itemize that process. I can almost guarantee they wont be able to. For some, they wont ever have actually considered it. For others their views may be a decade out of date. Then ask how often they hold discussions with those in their salesforce to get insight into how buyers are buying these days. It’s doubtful that’s happening either.
And finally, ask your Head of Marketing how often any knowledge they do have about the buying process is communicated to those actually working in the Marketing dept. – those creating the campaigns.
I find it all astonishing.
Now imagine how different those marketing outreach campaigns would be if the people responsible actually did have that insight.
It seems so obvious they should.