Buying Cycle – Sideline Goldmine

Last week I posted the first in a series blogs about how marketing and sales should engage with the customer’s buying cycle to uncover and align with opportunities from the prospective buyer’s perspective. This post delves into the first two steps of Sidelines and Awareness in the B2B customer buying process.

There are two distinct groups of prospective buyers with different characteristics:

  1. Existing Customers who have bought something from you previously but are not considering any additional purchases.
  2. Prospective Customers who fit your target market but have never bought from you before and not actively looking to buy anything related to what you’re selling.
B2B Buying CycleThe vast majority of your prospective buyers are on the sidelines not actively looking to buy anything related to what you’re selling. The opportunity is to move them to the next step of awareness using tactics such as:
  • Monthly newsletters to existing customers and opt-in subscriber list that highlights the potential value of your various offerings.
  • Educational white papers and eBooks to create awareness about the challenge or opportunity these companies face and potential solution approaches.
  • Article marketing in relevant publications and online properties to create awareness and establish credibility.
  • Regular webcasts with educational value to create awareness, develop thought leadership and establish credibility in the target market(s).
  • Salesperson calls or visits to existing customers – not specifically to sell something – just being visible and engaged is a great way to generate awareness.
Prospective buyers in the awareness phase are aware of the general category or type of product/service/solution you are selling, but have not identified a need for it yet. The opportunity is to move them to the next step of interest:
  • IMO, one of the most effective methods to stir prospective buyer interest is the “others like me” approach.
  • Show them how other companies similar to theirs have solved problems and achieved greater success.
  • Show them how others in roles like theirs have achieved personal recognition and success by making their companies successful.
  • Use selected case studies and video testimonials specifically targeted to the interest you want to generate.
  • Depending on the service/product/solution, assessment or benchmarking tools for prospective buyers to gauge themselves against best in class peers are also effective for generating interest to move to the next step.
What methods have you found to be effective for identifying and moving prospective buyers along the buying cycle in these early phases?

The next post explores the Interest, Research and Consideration steps in the B2B customer buying process.

Your comments are always welcome.
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