This Week’s Big Deal: Which B2B Buyer Behavior Insights Matter Most?

November 25, 2019

Business Professional Reviewing Insights on Tablet

Which behavior insights around B2B buyers are most useful when it comes to engaging prospects and moving deals forward? New research from Turtl and Forrester illuminates a divide between sales and marketing on this matter, and eliminating it could go a long way toward improving the effectiveness of orchestrated efforts from these two critical units.

The recently released report, Interactive Content Experiences Help Marketers Better Understand Buyers, Cultivate Leads, and Close Deals, contains plenty of intriguing and enlightening nuggets for both marketing and sales pros, but today we’ll zero in on the aforementioned gap and how to address it. 

The Most Valuable Buyer Behavior Insights? Sales and Marketing Differ

When asked which B2B buyer behavior insights are most useful, marketers pointed to “The products or solutions of greatest interest to the buyer” and “The role or position of the buyer in the buying organization’s decision-making progress” above all.

(Source)

However, when respondents from sales were asked which insights actually help close business, neither of those answers landed in the top two. Instead, they pointed most frequently to “The relative interest of the buyer in our business proposition” and “The roles of other stakeholders involved in the buying decision-making process.”

(Source)

What does this disparity tell us? Sellers in this study seem more interested in gauging the interest level of a prospective buyer in their solution specifically, as opposed to the general level of interest in their product/service category. Meanwhile, sales wants a clearer picture of the buying committee as a whole, rather than learning solely about the individual in question.

Let’s explore some ways to bridge this divide and create a unified front when it comes to capturing, analyzing, and activating buyer insights.

Key Opportunities to Make Buyer Insights from Content More Useful

In considering the data from Turtl and Forrester, as well as other recent B2B sales and marketing research, we can draw a few takeaways that may help sellers better understand and communicate how their marketing partners can be more helpful.

Interactive Experiences Yield Better Insights

By studying the way people interact with dynamic content, marketing and sales are able to draw valuable insights that improve lead generation and nurturing processes. Simple details around scroll rate, bounce rates, and shares serve to shape the way sellers structure and present information to buyers. 

Sales teams can support this by helping their marketing peers recognize which insights are most impactful.

Sales Needs Content for Every Stage of the Journey

One pervasive issue fleshed out by the aforementioned study (and elsewhere) is a sparsity of content focusing on the lower end of the funnel. There’s certainly nothing wrong with building brand awareness and high-level interest, but sales pros can generally use more support at the tail end. 

The latest B2B content marketing benchmarks report from CMI and MarketingProfs shows that only 48% of respondents are crafting content based on specific stages of the customer journey. In this regard, there’s a huge chasm between the most successful organizations (74%) and the least successful (26%). 

(Source)

A concerted effort to create more diverse content addressing each funnel stage would seem to be a worthy initiative for B2B teams heading into 2020. According to the research from CMI and MarketingProfs, the highest-performing content types for converting leads are in-person events, case studies, and webinars. Because of the direct business impact, usage insights derived from this content can be especially valuable.

Video Can Play a Bigger Role

B2B sales and marketing practitioners are investing more than ever in video content, per a new study from Vidyard and Heinz Marketing, but more than 80% say they’re not confident measuring its performance.

When it comes to converting leads and closing business, video can be pivotal. Webinars and product tutorials are among the most popular categories for B2B video content, and those are the type of assets that move the needle deeper into a buyer’s journey. One interesting takeaway from this report is that 24% of companies adopt a video strategy because their sales team asks for it, with over half using this content for sales enablement. Will these numbers keep rising as the bottom-line benefits become more evident?

The foremost priority right now should be clearing up video analytics and making them as useful as possible. Understanding how audiences consume and interact with video can guide our strategies. What video length hits the sweet spot? Which themes and hooks keep people watching longer? What types of videos are shared most within buying committees? Will organizations benefit from including actual salespeople in their video content, so as to infuse the personal, face-to-face element that often goes amiss in digital engagements? 

We’ve written in the past about how B2B video content can help sellers stand out from the crowd

Work in Tandem with Marketing to Drive Powerful Insights

Marketers want to be useful, and they want their efforts to play a clear role in driving revenue. Sales can assist them in this regard by openly communicating the insights and data that are most useful for shaping approaches and driving business impact.

Results of these recent studies suggest that interactive content, lower-funnel assets, and video are sensible areas to emphasize when it comes to bolstering analytical prowess and turning insights into action. Understanding how and why buyers engage with this content helps us understand more about their motivations and specific interest in what we’re offering. 

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