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B2B Buyer’s Journey: Consideration

By January 17, 2019 No Comments
B2B Buyer's Journey

In the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey, the goal is to educate prospects about your value and weed out those who are less likely to convert or be a good fit for your service.

At this point in their journey, the customer is evaluating the solutions available to them, weighing the pros and cons of your offering and the alternatives. It’s important to nurture leads during their consideration stage by providing answers to their questions about how your specific solution speaks to their pain points.

Outbound strategy

Appointment Setting

At this stage in the buyer’s journey, your SDR should be asking discovery questions to find out more about the buyer’s needs and determine if your company can meet those needs.

Some discovery questions that can help determine if the prospect should be qualified for sales:

  • If you were to make a purchase decision, who else would help with that process?
  • Do you have any product launches planned?
  • Where do you run into obstacles with your current solution?

The representative might make multiple calls over time while the prospect warms up and becomes interested in learning more about your solution. And once the prospect is ready, your SDR sets an appointment with sales.

Utilizing sales development representatives to qualify leads for your salespeople is an effective strategy, especially if your offering has a high average selling price. It also allows you to make the appropriate amount of touches to convert to an SQL. In our experience, a call cadence beyond 3-4 touches is imperative for a B2B sales cycle.

But many companies don’t have an appointment setting department, or they encounter difficulties running theirs efficiently due to the high cost and effort of building and managing the team. We find that our clients who outsource appointment setting benefit from both reduced cost risk and our SDRs’ extensive experience.

Your closers’ time is much too valuable for them to spend it on the long process of cold calling and qualifying a B2B lead. An SDR’s job is to reach out to your prospects, brought in by data refinement and marketing qualification, and facilitate interest and trust in your offering until the prospect is ready to speak to sales.

Sales

After a sales development representative determines that the lead is a good fit for your offering, your sales executive takes on the task of nurturing the prospect and turning them into real opportunities. In the consideration stage, this means showing the prospect the value in your offering, especially in comparison to competitors and alternative solutions.

Your sales team should be experts in identifying prospects’ most pressing needs while making sure to address any other possible obstacles in the way of closing the deal. The closer should give specific examples of how your product or service is the optimal solution for each of their pain points and paint the picture of how it will fit into their organizational structure.

Nurturing a B2B lead is often a long, arduous process that takes place over weeks or months, and the length of the sales cycle varies by offering and individual prospects. But at this stage in the buyer’s journey, your salesperson already has the prospect’s attention, so they should communicate strategically to hold the prospect’s interest and nudge them through to their decision stage.

Inbound strategy

As inbound marketers, our responsibility during the consideration stage is to show the explicit ways our services will solve the customer’s problem. Your inbound marketing strategy should revolve around valuable content that not only informs a buyer, but also highlights your solution for their pain points.

Some tactics for reaching your buyer personas during the consideration phase include:

  • Valuable and informative content: If your buyers are searching the web to figure out if an outsourced sales team could help scale their business, you should have web-optimized content that tells them an unbiased explanation as to why an outsourced sales team can be beneficial, establishing trust between the buyer and your brand.
  • Comparison grids: Compare your offering and its features to competitors that buyers may also be considering. Your buyers are already looking for this information, so give yourself an advantage by providing it right on your website. This strategy also positions your company as a transparent and credible authority on the subject, encouraging trust in your brand.
  • Case studies: Show prospects how your product or service has helped clients in the past, demonstrating the specific features and qualities of your offering that can simplify their operations and contribute to their bottom line. Distribute case studies on your website in a dedicated space, throughout your content as relevant links, and in targeted posts throughout your channels.

The consideration stage means targeting prospects who have already been exposed to your brand. While buyers are evaluating their options, the objective of your marketing should be to demonstrate how your offering stands out from the competition.

At EBQ, one of our go-to marketing tactics for lead nurturing is email marketing automation. Once an SDR receives a prospect’s contact details, we use personalized drip programs to drive continuous engagement and relevant content, establishing trust between the prospect and us.

The beauty of marketing automation is that it’s designed to nurture leads periodically and through logic. If the prospect doesn’t open your email or click the link, we can configure the automation platform to wait longer before the next touch so as not to exhaust the opportunity.

Pardot tends to be the go-to email marketing tool for B2B marketers. You can learn more about using Pardot for email marketing in our B2B Marketer’s Guide to Pardot Automation.

Lead qualification

How can you make sure that both sales and marketing have a consistent view of each prospect and where they stand in their journey? Lead qualification, a method of tracking how ready a lead is to make a purchase, should be utilized by both your sales and marketing teams while they nurture.

At EBQ, the outdated “cold or warm” lead system is not how our SDRs operate. They use a sophisticated lead qualification system we call EBRating to determine a lead’s level of interest, prioritize their outreach efforts, and establish a suitable call cadence. The rating is based on what stage of the sales cycle the prospect is in and any additional data points, such as a prospect asking not to be contacted.

Our marketing department uses this same EBRating to track the level of interest a lead shows in our company and how engaged they are with our marketing content. When a visitor views multiple pages on our website or downloads our branded content, points are added to their lead score. When they reach the specified number of points, they may become an MQL, which is a 3 on the EBRating scale, and are added to the SDR’s queue.

Pardot, our chosen marketing automation platform, tracks an MQLs lead score, and our sales team tracks scores they record in their Salesforce CRM. Fortunately, integration between Pardot and Salesforce is relatively seamless, allowing us to customize how each platform’s data speak to each other and giving both our sales and marketing teams a single view of the customer.

Rating your leads can be complex, but the insight it provides is necessary for your teams. At EBQ, we have Salesforce-certified specialists who ensure all our prospect data on the platform is integrated correctly throughout our processes and across platforms.

It’s beneficial to have at least one administrator in your business structure to manage your CRM, automate data processes, and provide feedback with reports. If this person doesn’t exist in your organization, EBQ has Administration Specialists that can be sourced for Sales Cloud Administration.

Download the Ultimate Guide to the B2B Buyer’s Journey

Chapter List