Rethinking the stages of the B2B buyer journey using custom research

April 21, 2023

The traditional B2B buyer journey is changing because buyers are accessing quality digital information at each stage of their purchasing decision. Buying behaviors have changed and you’ve got less time with buyers to influence their decisions. 

You need to rethink marketing and sales strategies to adapt successfully. Clients aren’t going to jump straight into your marketing funnel and slide straight down to a purchase with the sales team. 

The new B2B buyer journey is non-linear, adding to the existing complexities of most B2B purchases. Anyone or anything that makes the process easier immediately puts themselves at an advantage. 

NewtonX customer segmentation research gives you that competitive edge. Deep insights into your buyer personas gives you the opportunity not just to make the B2B buyer journey wearing their shoes – but to create the landscape they navigate. 



What is the B2B buyer journey?


Using custom insights to construct B2B buyer journey maps helps you understand your clients’ mindset at the different stages of their path to purchase. 

The stages of your B2B buyers’ journey are specific to your industry and organization. These are the typical stages that apply to most buyer journeys and how high quality B2B market research informs each stage. 



Make sure that you’re top of mind by determining who your client is, how you meet their needs and where you can find them. This custom research ensures that your clients understand your service or product and you can close the sale more quickly.



After initial contact with the sales team and interest is piqued, you need to flesh out the buyer personas of each of the decision-makers involved. In-depth B2B buyer persona research means you can address the priorities of each team member and understand how they interact with each other. 



Creating a B2B buyer journey map for each buyer persona means that you’ll know what each decision-maker needs at each stage of the process. By making sure everyone has all the information they need at the right time you avoid any stalling and keep the decision on track. 


Purchase and delivery

Nurturing a long-term relationship starts with how you deliver and onboard your new clients after contracts are signed. Reliable research gives you a gauge on the strength of your first impression and how you can exceed client expectations


Support and retention 

Retaining existing clients is cheaper than finding new ones, so you need to know how to keep renewals coming in. Regularly monitoring customer experiences and loyalty keeps you ahead of the competition. 


Growth and expansion

Satisfied clients are more open to cross-selling or up-selling, and can become great advocates for your company. Brand tracking research and regular client health checks gives you reliable data to strengthen your brand, build your reputation and encourage word-of-mouth referrals.

It’s important to bear in mind that these aren’t sequential stepping stones. The new B2B buyer journey consists of several twists and turns that sees them revisiting and adjusting course at various points. NewtonX insights help you position your business perfectly within this decision making landscape. 



What is the difference between the B2B buyer journey and the B2C buyer journey


When it comes to understanding consumer behavior, the B2B (Business-to-Business) and B2C (Business-to-Consumer) buying journeys are inherently different. While both involve a series of steps that guide potential customers toward making a purchase, the factors influencing their decision-making process diverge significantly. Let’s explore some of the key distinctions between these two buying journeys:


Decision-Making Complexity

  • B2B Buying Journey: B2B transactions often involve multiple decision-makers, including procurement teams, executives, and stakeholders. The purchasing process is more complex, with a focus on long-term business partnerships and the evaluation of practical benefits, ROI, and potential risks.
  • B2C Buying Journey: B2C purchases are typically made by individual consumers based on personal preferences, emotions, and immediate needs. The decision-making process is often more straightforward, driven by factors like price, brand perception, and emotional appeal.


Purchase Volume and Frequency

  • B2B Buying Journey: B2B transactions usually involve larger purchase volumes and occur less frequently. Companies invest in products or services that have a significant impact on their operations and long-term success, necessitating a careful evaluation of various options.
  • B2C Buying Journey: B2C purchases generally involve smaller volumes and occur more frequently. Consumers buy products or services for personal use or gratification, with individual preferences and immediate needs guiding their choices.


Relationship Building

  • B2B Buying Journey: Building strong relationships is a crucial aspect of the B2B buying journey. Decision-makers prioritize vendor reputation, customer service, and long-term support, as they seek to form partnerships with reliable and trusted suppliers.
  • B2C Buying Journey: While customer relationships are essential in B2C transactions, they often revolve around individual experiences and satisfaction. Brands focus on capturing consumer loyalty through targeted marketing, exceptional customer service, and personalized experiences.


Information Sources

  • B2B Buying Journey: B2B buyers rely heavily on in-depth research, case studies, whitepapers, and peer recommendations to make informed decisions. Custom research and data-driven insights play a pivotal role in understanding market trends and the performance of potential vendors.
  • B2C Buying Journey: B2C consumers often seek information from various sources, including social media, online reviews, and advertisements. Emotional appeal and brand storytelling significantly influence their perceptions and purchasing behavior.


Sales Cycle Length

  • B2B Buying Journey: The B2B sales cycle can be more extended and require nurturing and relationship-building over time. Vendors may need to engage in several touchpoints and provide tailored solutions to address specific business needs.
  • B2C Buying Journey: The B2C sales cycle is generally shorter, as consumers’ purchase decisions are often driven by immediate desires or needs. Brands leverage limited-time offers and promotions to encourage swift purchases.



The importance of the B2B buyers’ journey


The B2B buyer journey holds immense significance for businesses seeking growth, success, and sustainable relationships with their clients. Understanding buyer behavior is crucial as it provides valuable insights into how potential customers research, evaluate, and make purchase decisions. By comprehending these behaviors, businesses can tailor their marketing strategies and offerings to meet specific needs, ultimately optimizing their efforts and investments.

Moreover, prioritizing the buyer journey allows businesses to adopt a customer-centric approach, building meaningful connections with individual buyer personas and addressing their pain points. This customer-centric approach fosters loyalty and long-term relationships, enhancing overall customer satisfaction.

Efficiency in resource allocation is another key benefit of understanding the B2B buyer journey. By aligning marketing resources with the stages of the buyer journey, businesses can ensure that their marketing campaigns and content resonate with buyers at every touchpoint, leading to higher conversion rates.

The B2B buyer journey also plays a pivotal role in enhancing the customer experience. By facilitating smooth interactions between businesses and their clients at each stage, friction is reduced, leading to improved customer satisfaction.



Challenges facing the B2B buyers’ journey


Navigating the B2B buyer journey poses several significant challenges that businesses must overcome to succeed in the competitive market. One of the primary obstacles is the complexity of the B2B sales process, characterized by longer sales cycles and involving multiple decision-makers. Understanding the buying behavior of various stakeholders and aligning their needs can be challenging. Additionally, the sheer volume of information available to buyers in the digital age can create information overload, making it essential for businesses to cut through the noise and deliver relevant, valuable content.

Another challenge is the need for effective differentiation and communication. With a wide range of products and services available in the market, businesses must find unique ways to position themselves and communicate their value proposition effectively. Addressing the diverse needs and pain points of different buyer segments requires tailored messaging and personalized experiences.

Financial constraints and resistance to change can further complicate the buyer journey. B2B purchases often involve significant financial investments, and businesses may be cautious when making decisions. Convincing buyers to switch from existing solutions or adopt new ones can be met with resistance, necessitating a strategic approach to address objections and demonstrate clear benefits.

Post-purchase support and customer satisfaction play a crucial role in the B2B buyer journey. Businesses need to focus not only on closing deals but also on building lasting relationships with customers. Providing excellent customer support and service after the sale can lead to repeat business, referrals, and increased loyalty.

The digital transformation of the business landscape has changed how B2B buyers conduct research and make purchasing decisions. Companies must adapt to the shift towards online interactions and provide seamless, user-friendly experiences across various digital touchpoints.



How to optimize the B2B buyers’ journey for success


To achieve success in the B2B buyer journey, businesses need to optimize their strategies and align them with the unique preferences and needs of potential clients. The following are key approaches to enhance the B2B buying experience:


Personalized Content and Messaging

  • Tailor the content: Understand the diverse needs and pain points of different buyer personas within an organization. Craft content that addresses their specific challenges and provides valuable solutions.
  • Use account-based marketing: Adopt an account-based marketing (ABM) approach to focus on individual high-value accounts. Deliver personalized messages and offerings to build stronger relationships and improve engagement


Streamlined Purchase Process

  • Simplify the buying process: Eliminate unnecessary steps and complexities from the purchasing journey. Provide clear and easy-to-understand information, pricing, and payment options to enhance customer satisfaction.
  • Implement self-service options: Offer self-service portals and tools that enable buyers to access information, make inquiries, and place orders at their convenience.


Foster Trust & Credibility

  • Showcase customer testimonials: Share success stories and testimonials from satisfied clients to instill confidence in potential buyers. Highlighting positive experiences builds trust in your brand.
  • Offer transparent pricing and terms: Be upfront about pricing, contracts, and terms to establish trust and avoid any ambiguity that may deter potential customers.


Enhanced Customer Support

  • Provide exceptional support: Offer responsive and knowledgeable customer support teams that can address inquiries promptly. Proactive support helps build trust and loyalty in the long run.
  • Utilize chatbots and AI: Implement chatbots and artificial intelligence-driven solutions to offer instant assistance and personalized recommendations to buyers.


Data-Driven Decision-Making

  • Leverage market research: Conduct in-depth market research to gain insights into customer preferences, industry trends, and competitors’ strategies. NewtonX’s custom research solutions can provide valuable data to inform your business decisions.
  • Analyze buyer behavior: Utilize data analytics to track and analyze buyer behavior throughout the journey. Identify key touchpoints, pain points, and opportunities for improvement.


Cultivate Long-Term Relationships

  • Focus on post-purchase engagement: Engage with customers even after the purchase is made. Nurture relationships by offering valuable resources, providing ongoing support, and anticipating their future needs.
  • Cross-selling and upselling: Identify opportunities to cross-sell or upsell relevant products or services based on customers’ past purchases and preferences.



What influences affect your B2B buyers’ journey?


New B2B buying journeys are affected by a myriad of different information sources. Your buyers have an internet’s worth of choice. They’ll be getting their pre-purchase information from:

  • Online research: multiple websites, social media platforms and forums
  • Advice from colleagues in similar roles in the same industry
  • Conferences and events: speakers and written materials
  • Professional publications by industry organizations and bodies
  • Discussions with adjacent channel partners 


These multiple sources are consulted continuously through the various stages of the B2B buyer journey. If you’re not there with the information your clients are looking for, your competitors will be. The chance for connection and direction towards your offering is lost.



Be the ultimate B2B journey guide


The features you add to your clients’ landscape give you the opportunity to optimize every possible touchpoint on their B2B buyers’ journey. NewtonX custom research is based on insights from your current and potential clients. You’ll know what help they need, where they’re looking to find it, and how they prefer to receive that information. Your marketing and sales strategies will align to have all the right signposts – and hubs of knowledge – within your clients’ decision-making landscape exactly when they need it. 

You need reliable insights on three key areas to generate your new B2B buyer journey map.


1. Get to know your B2B buying team

You need to know every member of your buying team. Each decision maker has their own priorities, concerns and challenges about this purchase. Understanding their starting position, preferred sources of information and hurdles to overcome during the buying journey. Deeper understanding of each buyer persona, based on customer segmentation research, gives you a competitive advantage on many levels.


2. Draw the journey map

There isn’t an ‘as the crow flies’, clear route from top of funnel content, to sales, ending with purchase and reordering. The pipeline of warm leads being passed to sales teams is disrupted. The new buyer journey involves much more back and forth between the two. The linear path to purchase is more of a zig zag, with assorted diversions and re-routing. 

Your custom insights tell you where to best place signposts for your clients for whatever they need at each stage of their journey. They will see you continuously helping at every twist and turn. 

Creating your buyer journey map from powerful data means that you’re there as their guide over obstacles, around gaps in knowledge and through to the perfect destination – your product or service. 


3. Find out what direction they’re coming from

The custom findings that define your buyer personas help you understand their individual motivations. This is their starting point in the decision-making landscape and how you know the direction they’re traveling to you from. 

By specifically addressing how your product or service meets each of their needs, you can track their buyer journey and remove information obstacles before they even reach them. For example, the end user of your product is likely to want to compare it with similar products on the market. So you provide this information in an article published on their preferred platform. A signpost that makes the decision easier and leads them smoothly on towards the next stage of their buyer journey.



B2B buyers’ journey example


Consider a manufacturing company, XYZ Engineering, which produces industrial machinery. Their target market includes construction companies and manufacturers looking to upgrade their equipment. At the research stage, potential buyers in the construction and manufacturing industries begin their buyer journey by researching industrial machinery suppliers. They use search engines, industry forums, and recommendations from peers to identify reputable suppliers.

As potential buyers gather information, XYZ Engineering provides valuable content such as product specifications, comparison guides, and case studies showcasing successful installations of their machinery. They utilize email marketing and social media to share this content and engage with their target audience.

Interested prospects reach out to XYZ Engineering for more information or to schedule meetings at the engagement stage. The sales team conducts personalized consultations to understand the specific requirements of the construction or manufacturing company. They offer tailored solutions to address the buyers’ needs effectively.

During the evaluation stage, buyers compare XYZ Engineering’s offerings with those of their competitors. The sales team ensures transparent communication, providing detailed quotes and clarifying any technical aspects. XYZ Engineering also offers factory visits and demonstrations to allow potential buyers to see their machinery in action.

As the buyer’s interest solidifies, negotiations regarding pricing, delivery timelines, and warranty terms take place at the negotiation and decision stage. XYZ Engineering works closely with the buyer to address any concerns and find mutually beneficial solutions. They emphasize the reliability and after-sales support offered with their machinery.

After the purchase, XYZ Engineering remains committed to the success of their customers at the post-purchase support stage. They provide comprehensive training for the machinery operators and offer ongoing technical support to ensure smooth operations. XYZ Engineering maintains a long-term relationship with the buyer, fostering customer loyalty and potential repeat business.

NewtonX’s custom research capabilities can help companies like TechX Solutions and XYZ Engineering gain deeper insights into their target markets, understand buyer preferences, and optimize their B2B buyer journeys. With NewtonX as a research partner, businesses can identify areas for improvement, refine their strategies, and achieve greater success in their B2B sales efforts.

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