B2B companies are confronted with a number of marketing challenges, some of which are rooted in some widely-held misconceptions. For example, many people assume that the B2B marketplace is a dispassionate place, where buying decisions are made on a strictly logical basis. Yet research from Ipsos reveals that many B2B buyers rely on emotion and intuition when making business decisions – 58% report that they’re either strongly or somewhat motivated by their ‘gut feeling’ when choosing vendors.
If you’re trying to build your company by selling to these B2B buyers, what does this information mean to you? It may mean that you’ll want to rethink your customer journey, paying particular attention to those points of engagement that are the most conducive to creating positive associations – the marketing term for the ‘gut feeling’ a prospect has when they think about your brand.
Delving into Data for B2B Customer Insights
If you have good data capture systems in place, it should be relatively easy to tell which of your marketing initiatives have good traction. You can look at the number of white papers downloaded, for example, or webinar attendees, or see how many people watched a product video on your website.
But are these measures truly indicative of how your prospective customers feel about you? All of our examples document the part of the process any reasonably responsible B2B buyer will go through as they research their options. But these aren’t necessarily the factors that ultimately result in the ‘gut feeling’ that determines whether or not they want to do business with you.
What does turn out to be meaningful, according to research done by SUMO Heavy, a digital commerce strategy firm, is social media engagement. 58% of survey participants reported that social media has influenced their decisions in the past, even if the product or service purchased was not initially discovered on social media.
Ideally, the way for B2B brands to better understand their customers and boost sales is to consider both sets of data – the social media metrics relevant to meaningful engagement, and the website analytics detailing customer behavior – as a linked set, with the goal of seeing what patterns of engagement exist on both platforms. Having the totality of your data working for you is essential for B2B business growth in 2019.