Most B2B companies go through the same type of cycle when deciding on a product (awareness, evaluation and purchase) and in each part of this cycle you will find certain types of people who drive that stage. Each person in each stage has different needs that have to be fulfilled so it stands to reason that each of them needs a different approach from you. Here are four common B2B decision-makers and influencers you might encounter and how to appeal to them based on their needs:
These are usually junior personnel charged with getting information about a specific product (or solution) and the companies who can provide it. They may not have buying power but they certainly have influence. Researchers are the people who will be looking at your website to gather information. This is why it is important to make information about your products (or solutions) both easy to access and share. This can be done by creating a website that answers the types of questions a B2B researcher would have and also includes whitepapers, social media and a blog. It is also smart to provide a PDF overview of what you offer so that it can be easily passed along to decision-makers.
A B2B customer like this is interested in finding out if the product or solution is worth the investment. They are the people overseeing the budget and deciding whether their company can afford to take your product on. Here you need to demonstrate that the product provides value to the company and can give a return-on-investment. These customers want data and evidence of the product (or solution) working in real-life scenarios.
Executive or primary decision-makers
Executives deal with the big picture. They have business goals that they want to achieve in a certain timeframe and they want proof that your product will help them achieve those goals. They have the power to make decisions so their needs are very important. To appeal to this customer, you need to discuss the challenges faced by them and how your product can overcome these challenges. How does the product help them reach their goals? Give them research reports, data analysis and technical specifications. This group is also most likely to be influenced by peers in their industry.
These customers want to know that your product works and will make their lives easier. End users also need to know that your product is more productive and will have a positive outcome for them. This is why it is crucial to provide them with proof of your product in action. You can do this through focused product case studies and by providing honest reviews from existing customers.
Alongside the above, it is important to disregard the approach that B2C companies have – ditch the embellished language and marketing lingo. B2B isn’t moved by emotions but rather by facts and logical arguments. This line of thinking should enable you to know how to talk to B2B customers of all kinds, whether online or face-to-face.