In the last 5 years, B2B buying behaviour across virtually every sector has changed dramatically.
Business buyers used make do with a conventional ‘buying approach’ which involved ‘being sold to’.
Today, buyers don’t wait to be ‘sold to’. They search the web for what they want, form their own opinions about the reputation and expertise of suppliers, then narrow the field to make their choice.
This means that companies depending only on the “knocking on doors” approach to sales and marketing to book their sales appointments don’t even get a look in.
The buying process simply passes them by, because buyers are using new influencers to arrive at their decision at their own pace, when the need arises.
The ‘sales cycle’ is being replaced by the ‘buying cycle’.
Timing is the great unknown quantity in sales and marketing. If your marketing strategy depends only on outbound prospecting activity to your sales appointments, you should consider adding an ‘inbound’ element to it. The window of opportunity – i.e. the chance of calling at just the right time – is getting narrower.
Instead, getting on the buyer’s radar before the requirement arises – and staying there – so you’re ‘visible’ when the buyer is ready to make the decision, is the key.
The way to achieve this is to:
- ATTRACT prospects to your business without selling
- ENGAGE and nurture prospects, building influence and authority and staying ‘on the radar’
- CONVERT prospects into clients by ‘being there’ at the time they are ready to buy
Buyers are influenced by whoever manages to ‘engage’ them authoritatively, and to position themselves as a leading expert that can demonstrate knowledge and experience in the field. Getting found on the web, blogging with useful, interesting and relevant content and building up a social media presence.
For these reasons, we believe that what used to be referred to as the ‘conventional’ sales cycle is an outmoded concept.
Instead there is just a ‘buying cycle’. And your marketing strategy should be planned and managed with this in mind.