In the business-to-business world, the quest to connect with decision-makers has been and most likely will continue to be the main challenge confronting B2B leaders. Meeting this challenge successfully is the essential lifeblood of survival for many B2B companies. While today’s continuing convergence of the Internet, social technologies, and Enterprise 2.0 platforms are increasing B2B visibility like never before, connecting with buyers and decision-makers is becoming increasingly elusive.
For decades, B2B sales and marketing has relied on business information of the likes of Hoovers, Dun & Bradstreet, and others. They provide the critical view of market segments and the companies that fall within those markets. Business information also plays a role in providing B2B with a level of company profiles and firmographics data about organizations within markets. Business information services also serve a valuable role in drilling down to help with contact information, such as newcomer Netprospex, to provide B2B with potential decision-makers they can reach. On the other end of the business information spectrum, B2B leaders have relied on business and market research reports that help them understand strategically trends in markets and how they may be impacted. These reports, often analyst generated, help to shape strategic vision and enable both short-term and long-term planning.
What has been missing? Where is the void in today’s fast and furious changing B2B landscape?
As the rate of increasingly changing B2B buyer behaviors continues to skyrocket, the void for deep behavioral insight continues to widen. Behavioral B2B buyer insights are becoming mission critical to informing, shaping, and adapting to changing buying behaviors that are coming in like ocean waves on a sandy beach. Today’s B2B leaders are just beginning to understand the importance of behavioral analytics and insights for making informed decisions on how to allocate company resources to engage buyers in the new hyper-connected B2B world.
When I introduced buyer persona research and creation a decade ago, the premise then, as it is now, is that it is a methodology for understanding not only who your buyers are but how and why buyers buy. The primary driver being that understanding goal motivation helped you to understand what drove buyers in decision-making. What is becoming increasingly clear as a result of the changing B2B landscape is that buyer personas alone may be inadequate (especially as a result of the multitude as well as widening disparity in how buyer personas are defined today) and that gathering a new set of behavioral buyer insight is required to meet the challenge of today. The B2B leaders facing challenging market dynamics, to fill the void of deep behavioral buyer insight, are becoming more aware of the value of what I term behaviorally oriented Business Buyergraphics™ to understand buyers better.
Understanding buyers better behaviorally is today’s “holy grail” of sustaining competitive advantage that can no longer be guaranteed standing pat for any amount of time. Behaviorally oriented Market and Business Buyergraphics provide insight into and answers for several crucial questions:
- How do we understand buyer segments based on purchasing behaviors?
- How do we understand buying scenarios that we can meet?
- How well do we understand the buyer decision journey?
- Do we understand our buyer’s story and the narrative they tell?
- What are the new buyer ecosystems and networks that affect purchase behaviors?
- What do buyers think and what are their collective attitudes?
- How do we know what type of content engages and how buyers will find, use, and share content?
- Do we understand the critical moments of truth in the buyer experience cycle that affect purchase decisions?
- Do we understand changing buyer values and how they impact purchase decisions?
- How do we understand and distinguish the buying behaviors of emerging social buyers and traditional buyers?
The methods for gathering behavioral buyer insight and getting answers to these questions rely on what has been true for understanding buyer behavior – qualitative research and buyer interviews. B2B buyer research has been heavily weighted towards quantitative surveying methods over the last few decades. These types of methods remain extremely valuable – getting deeper and understanding buyers better behaviorally however requires some shift to the qualitative. It will also require a degree of savvy integration of analytics and qualitative behavioral insight.
Without going into an extensive treatise on the tools and methods of behaviorally oriented Business Buyergraphics, they are designed to provide data and insight elements related to:
- Insight into evolving buyer persona ecosystems and networks
- Understanding buying scenarios that affect purchasing behaviors
- The mental models of buyers that affect purchase decisions
- Insight into buying processes and the buyer decision journey
- Insight into how buyers find content and share content
- Modeling the buyer experience to understand critical moments of truth
- Insight into the perceived values of buyers that shape purchasing behaviors
These tools and methods are utilized to collectively tell the story of how buyers behave when making purchase decisions. The purpose of behavioral Business Buyergraphics is to enable B2B leaders to understand buyers better in terms of their purchasing behaviors. This understanding and set of deeper buyer insights informing B2B leaders on what they need to know to shape sales and marketing strategy that are going to work in today’s B2B landscape. Or, as many would say: at least a working chance when the ability to peer around the corner is getting harder and harder to do.
Understanding buyers better and deeper today as well as more intimately requires filling in the void of the business information spectrum. Filling the void with behavioral insight into how buyers behave when making purchase decisions and understanding various segments by buyer purchasing behavior. B2B leaders, who are intent on winning, understand that what they think matters very little – unless they have a good idea of how their buyers think.
- One Thing That Can Get You From Here to There in 2012 and Beyond (buyerology.com)
- 5 Ways New Buyer Behaviors Are Impacting B2B Sales (buyerology.com)
- 5 Ways New Buyer Behaviors Are Impacting B2B Sales (customerthink.com)