As nearly 70% of companies involve 5 or more people in every buying process, understanding how to target each individual effectively is never going to be straight-forward. What’s more, according to our report The Holy Grail of B2B Marketing Segmentation, 90% of business professionals believe that there is usually or always one member of the decision making unit (DMU) who will try to influence the decision to match their own.
Building strong engagement with a prospect is key. But have you ever achieved as much, only to see them unexpectedly drop off or never progress? Could this perhaps be down to the influence of others in the DMU or B2B Buying Committee?
With this in mind, we’ve created 10 must-ask questions you need to consider to help tap into the psyche of your B2B buyers…
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Winning over the DMU
By asking yourself the following in relation to each DMU member, you can uncover valuable intel to give you a significantly better chance of successfully winning them all over.
Who are they aiming to impress?
Retiring baby boomers are being replaced; 73% of millennials aged 20-35 are now involved in product or service purchase decisions for businesses. They possess different aspirations, values and beliefs – bringing their own fresh psyche to the workplace.
Are they looking to impress other members in the DMU? Their peers? Or maybe even their family? This new generation of decision makers no longer care only about impressing those above. Understanding who they are seeking approval from is often the first step to discovering what is most important to them.
What struggles are they experiencing?
According to our first party research conducted among our IFP IT community members, 37% of Heads of IT cite Malware as a key challenge compared to only 12% of Directors. This is just one example of how every DMU member faces different pain points, be it professional or personal. Knowing what they are so that you can offer best-fit solutions is vital.
How can your content help make their jobs easier?
Once you know the individual pain points and daily struggles your individual DMU member faces, you can design content that helps them overcome these challenges to make their day-to-day role easier.
This can be anything from a how-to-guide that helps them better streamline their processes or on-demand webinars that troubleshoot common issues, to longer form whitepapers, analyst reports and trend forecasts.
By providing the right content in the most accessible formats, you can help your target DMU member do their job more efficiently. This will help generate huge value to the member and subsequently help build trust and brand loyalty.
Do they follow certain trends or topics?
58% of B2B marketers use intent data with the aim of identifying early buyer interest. Understanding user intent by analyzing intent data provides a good idea of what trends or topics individuals value the most. Likewise, knowing what they have chosen to subscribe to can give strong insights into their interests.
Are there patterns in the type of content they share on their LinkedIn feed?
Do they share carefully chosen, curated content? Or are they more inclined to post their own thought leadership on LinkedIn? Do they share a lot or a little?
Understanding social media behavior can provide intel into interests, struggles and areas they are looking to explore. It can also indicate whether this channel will be a successful way of communicating with them – i.e. if they are an active and engaged user.
What knowledge will make them stand out in front of peers and other stakeholders?
Decision makers want to look good in front of peers and stakeholders. Thought leadership, strategic input and trend forecasting are all strong methods to achieving this when done right. Focusing on valuable insights and knowledge required to meet their needs in these areas can get individuals on board for the resulting sense of gratification.
Who do they trust?
Identifying who each DMU member chooses to confide in, or who they turn to for advice, is a great way of gauging who they allow to have an influence on their decision making.
Do they turn to thought leaders? Industry analysts? Peer groups? Someone else?
Who do they aspire to be in the future?
Are you looking at a future CEO in the making? Might they aim to be a Director? Or a Thought Leader?
Once you know what they strive for, you’ll get a good indication of their agenda and career goals. This can reveal which shoes they’ll be looking to fill and who they’ll want to impress to get there. It will also help you understand how best to target them by knowing exactly where they want to be and how they’ll need to get there.
Which Tone of Voice (ToV) is most suitable?
When communicating to grasp someone’s attention, you need to know the ToV they are most responsive to. Does specialist terminology resonate best? Or accessible language? Do they prefer a warm, friendly tone or one which is more authoritative? Every individual communicates differently, so finding out their preferences can go a long way.
How can you make their decision making process simpler?
Many decision makers want an easier life when given the difficult task of deciding what’s best for the business. Simplifying decision making through a prescriptive approach or via a nurture process could help streamline the process and make it less complicated – win win.
Again, considering content formats can also have an impact on the B2B decision making process. Providing the right information in the most accessible way can remove some of the complexity, helping your buyer fast-track through the evaluation process.
Sufficient content is key
Failing to produce enough content to directly address the priorities of all key stakeholders in the buying process could see your efforts wasted later down the line. Discover what appeals to each individual stakeholder and you can accurately plan your communications to deliver the best content experiences – resulting in a purchase.
Don’t let other DMU members sway the decision…
Many individuals lead to one powerful and coercive buying collective. If you’ve built strong engagement with a prospect and seen them unexpectedly drop off, could this have been the result of another DMU member’s involvement?
Make sure you appeal to ALL members of the DMU by answering the 10 key questions above for every influential stakeholder in the buying process.
For more best practice tips on unlocking the secrets of targeting success, download our whitepaper: The Holy Grail of B2B Marketing Segmentation.