Buying Group Marketing: A New Way to Bring the Customer Journey to Life
Each step of the customer journey is crucial for ultimate success in converting leads and closing deals—from the first encounter to the decision-making phase. But if marketers don’t understand the individuals who make the actual buying decisions, they’ll be hard-pressed to deliver the intuitive customer journeys they’re after.
You’ve heard it before: Know your customer. That concept is not new. But as organizational decisions are increasingly made by groups, not individuals, the reality of this concept has become much more complex. There are often numerous players with various roles on the buying team that all want and expect something different out of the customer journey. For example, some people have more decision-making power than others, and some players only chime in at certain stages of the journey.
And your job as a modern marketer is to not only create an intuitive customer journey for your target account, but also to address the disparate needs of every person on the buying team. Doing so requires a buying group Marketing (BGM) strategy—an approach that considers this complexity and reaches the buyers wherever they are.
According to Gartner, 74 percent of B2B tech buyers find the buying process complex. This disconnect has resulted in difficulties in achieving a high-quality deal. That’s because buyers on buying teams don’t care about a marketing team’s internal structure or how they make the proverbial sausage—customers only care about a smooth buying process and seamless experience wherein their needs are met through the proper channel and at the right time.
What About Account-Based Marketing?
Over the past few decades, most B2B marketers have used account-based marketing (ABM) to reach potential buyers. ABM adds a touch of personalization to sales outreach while helping to align sales and marketing teams—but there are still gaps in this approach.
An ABM strategy targets large accounts within a market and uses data enrichment tools to personalize marketing content and campaigns. But an ABM strategy alone fails to acknowledge one critical factor: the specific buying decision makers. ABM’s broad approach doesn’t cut it in today’s buying environment.
While BGM doesn’t forget what was learned from ABM, it evolves the concept and transforms the strategy based on the realities of the modern-day buying process. As the next evolution of ABM, buying group marketing brings the age of generic, ineffective content to an end.
Attribution Tools Enable Personalized Experiences
Customers love a personalized experience. For instance, when ads are tailored to what makes a customer tick, they are more likely to engage with said ad. One promising solution for customized experience development is attribution tools, which provide marketers with a holistic view of marketing performance across channels and help them learn which strategies and tactics most effectively convert and close deals. Attribution tools provide meaningful data that will help marketers optimize their channels and personalize with relevance. Because these tools analyze the interplay of touchpoints across channels and through the entire customer journey, the reporting lends itself to the human side of a prospect’s story. Great marketers must remember that customers are real people with emotions and complexity, not just a number in a metrics report. Attribution tools empower marketers with insights that will enable that mind-set.
Getting Sales and Marketing in Step
Internal silos limit communication and data accuracy. This kind of misalignment creates disjointed buying experiences. To optimize each stage of the funnel for measurable results, sales and marketing must align throughout the funnel from top to bottom.
The top of the sales funnel is where all awareness strategy happens. As such, it is critical that marketing and sales collaborate around the definitions of buying team members and ideal customer profiles. By adopting a BGM strategy, marketing and sales teams can determine the critical differences between members of relevant buying groups. Once identified and engaged, departments should split the activities and tailor messages based on each individual persona and deliver them in a well-coordinated way.
Reimagining Customer Experiences with BGM
When introduced, account-based marketing redefined the sales landscape by proving that transactions and deals thrive when personalization is involved. That lesson has been proven time and again in the modern age. But recent sales trends indicate that ABM falls short of the mark when it comes to disparate buying groups, which have become the predominate force in organizational structure. BGM closes the gap by bringing ultra-personalization back into the conversation and targeting individuals as opposed to entire accounts.
Undertaking BGM takes a certain level of maturity with an established ABM approach already in place, but when implemented well, it provides value by delivering a journey so cohesive and on point that your prospects won’t wait to take the next step.
Nirosha Methananda is vice president of marketing at Influ2, responsible for creating Bombora's distinctive brand and establishing it as the leading global provider of B2B Intent data. Prior to this, Nirosha led marketing for PwC Australia's Tech Consulting practice. A proud marketing generalist with a career spanning 15 years, Methananda is driven by a strong urge to Always Be Learning (ABL).