How To Align Your Content With ALL Decision Makers (Yes, All of Them)
16th March 2017 Will Humphries
In Google’s “The Changing Face of B2B Marketing“, they dispelled the myth that B2B marketing should only target the highest-level executives.
They discovered through their research with Millward Brown Digital that in reality, B2B researchers who are not in the C-suite also influence purchase decisions.
“While 64% of the C-suite have final sign off, so do almost a quarter (24%) of the non-C-suite. What’s more, it’s the latter that has the most influence; 81% of non-C-suiters have a say in purchase decisions.” ThinkWithGoogle
Getting Access To The Decision Maker
CEB Marketing surveyed more than 5,000 stakeholders involved in B2B purchases and discovered that, on average, 5.4 people formally sign off on purchases.
This number tallies with research from SiriusDecsions that there are 6-8 people in the average sized B2B buying committee.
Although they may not all be C-level executives, they are all decision makers in their right.
Collectively decisions are made between this group and therefore, you need to engage with each of them.
When running your demand generation campaigns, you need to ensure you are targeting each relevant decision maker.
It is important because early access to decision makers is vital to an effective and efficient conversion of business leads.
Of greatest importance, early access to the decision makers allows you the most direct path to a sale – albeit there are different people involved.
People at the top are most aware of the critical issues facing a company, along with the strategic direction the company is taking. And ultimately the final decision will rest with them.
But firms must not underestimate the importance of engaging all of the potential decision makers.
As McKinsey&Company have noted in their report (full PDF link) “The B2B Customer Decision Journey: For The Best Route to Increasing Sales”, it is imperative that organisations understand what it is that drives customer decisions to make informed choices when it comes to allocating resources.
A close extension of the opportunity for efficient conversion is time savings. When you get early access to the right people, you avoid investing a lot of time and energy interacting with someone not authorised to make purchase decisions.
Often, companies call on the first contact discovered when sourcing business leads. If that person isn’t empowered to make decisions, they can feel that their time invested is a waste.
However, although that person may not be the primary decision maker, she could very well be involved in the decision-making process as an influencer.
Or it could simply be that she is not interested in being involved at this early stage.
Higher-Quality, Value-Orientated Solutions
Even when other contacts at a company can make purchase decisions, your best chance to sell a high-value solution is with top-level decision makers.
Managers closer to the front lines usually focus on a practical usage of products, whereas top leaders look for solutions that help achieve revenue or cost-savings objectives.
They understand that providers of high-quality solutions charge more than inferior competitors.
Selling higher value solutions is crucial to optimise sales growth and results as well.
Successful deals with top decision makers are more likely to set the stage for recurring sales and referrals to other senior leaders.
When you prove your worth to company executives and stay committed to the relationship, you take on the role of a partner.
This is what Jim Holden, business author and world-renowned leader in the sales process improvement field, would call Stage III or Stage IV sellers – “true compete sellers and customer advisors”.
Align Your Content Strategy
The evidence of the value of early access to the top decision maker is obvious. You can save a lot of time and money with reaching the top contacts, while also increasing your opportunities to close high-value deals with business leads.
However, it is not enough to only identify the right decision makers. Your team needs to be able to influence each of these people at each point in their buyer journey by aligning your content strategy.
One of the simplest and most efficient ways of doing this is through working with an organisation that can reach each of these decision makers and target them with bespoke content tailored specifically for them.
Let’s say you work for a company that sells HR software. The Marketing Director doesn’t want to read a research paper about streamlining HR processes.
But he may well want to know about the impact your software will have on employee advocacy.
Get your messaging correct for each of the decision makers in your target audience and success will follow.