Getting intimate with your prospects

St Valentine’s Day – a day associated with love and relationships. And in B2B, it’s all about the chemistry that buyers have with suppliers that makes the difference between “I’d like to see you again” and “I think we should break up…”.

But B2B buying processes are becoming increasingly complex. Our research from last year ‘The Sleepless CMO’ shows that 81% of buyers believe that the competitive market is leading to a greater investment in time at the research stage, which is delaying the whole process and making it even harder for brands to get noticed in the marketplace.

B2B marketing is evolving into H2H (Human to Human), and so it’s never been more important for sales and marketing to work together in an intimate way. Furthermore, The Drum reports that in the next five years, 81% of B2B companies will invest more in their brand strategies in order to increase sales and land additional customers. As buying decisions are influenced by many different people in B2B, it’s important to have the right customer acquisition strategy in place. So, what does the right strategy look like?

Define your market

Firstly, define your ideal market, organisation and customer. Once established, both sales and marketing can agree on how to focus their efforts. Once you’ve pinpointed the type and size of organisation that you can most effectively sell to, the next step involves building up a picture of your prospects’ buying patterns and triggers.

Target individuals more effectively

There are a number of factors that influence how and why prospects buy from you. Every organisation will buy differently and it’s critical to understand the unique factors in every opportunity. Subscribe to industry newsletters, Twitter accounts and LinkedIn groups to stay up to date with changes in prospects’ situational factors.

Understand purchasing triggers

Once you know the type of company you need to target and what makes them buy at an organisational level, it’s crucial to understand decision makers’ buying triggers. A good starting point is to create buyer personas which will give you a framework to map your sales and marketing plans against.

Prioritise opportunities

Once your pipeline is full of lots of suitable prospects, qualification becomes even more crucial. While it can feel counter-intuitive to qualify out seemingly good opportunities, especially when faced with ambitious sales growth targets, it’s a vital process as it helps you prioritise the most promising leads in your pipeline.

These steps should all be focused on helping the customer. This will enable sales and marketing to concentrate their efforts by improving forecasting, getting the most out of budgets and ultimately acquiring new customers! When you have real sales and marketing alignment both teams not only share the same goals, but understand the part they play in making them happen.

Download our guide to Strategic Customer Acquisition for more insight into streamlining your sales processes.