In today’s world, the B2B customer has more choices than others. And that means their journey to purchasing something is more complex than ever. They’re constantly inundated with cold calls, emails, and other noise, to the point where they willfully tune out much of it.
How can you, as just one business, break through the noise and be heard?
Part of that is understanding what the B2B buyer’s journey looks like. Once you have an intimate understanding of how these customers make decisions, you can position yourself as the best choice.
First, Understand that there is No Single Buyer’s Journey.
Every customer is a little bit different. Some will spend several weeks deliberating over options, while others will simply pick the first one that stands out to them and move on. So how can you appeal to every B2B customer, regardless of their time frame or patience level?
The answer is simple: referrals.
Referrals are a powerful tool. Statistics show that 92% of buyers trust referrals from people they know, and they’re one of the most trusted forms of advertising. If you’re not harnessing the power of referrals with a dedicated channel, you’re missing out on quality leads.
But when in the customer journey do B2B buyers want to get referrals?
At the beginning.
This is the point that the B2B customer realizes that they want or need a certain service. A well-timed referral here can stop their journey before it even begins — which, although it sounds ominous when phrased like that, is actually convenient for them!
Remember, the B2B customer journey is complicated. And it takes them away from the time they could be spending doing other things, like actually running their business.
So if you have a well-timed referral, you can save them that hassle. In many cases, the suggestion from someone they trust will make their decision for them. This will help you — and them — close the deal quickly.
During their research.
Another great time to encourage referrals is while someone is doing research. Often, this is a very easy time to give referrals, because the prospect will be asking for them.
Social media might be your first instinct for these referrals, since that is frequently where people will be asking. But our research shows that verbal referrals are actually far more effective at creating leads that convert to deals.
Encourage your referral partners and customers to meet with prospects face to face during this time. This will help make you memorable.
While they’re deliberating.
This is closer to the end of the buyer’s journey, where they’ve narrowed down their choices and are trying to decide on the best one. Often, you will have already been referred to them as an option.
But here, a second referral can help drive the point home that you’re the fit for their needs. It will bring you to the forefront of their mind, and position you as the most impressive candidate, since you have multiple people talking about you.
Getting referrals at any stage of the game can be beneficial, but getting referrals strategically is how you generate steady revenue. However, this can be difficult to maintain without help. That’s what makes a referral software so important.
By automating your referral channel, you can ensure that you’re hitting B2B customers at the right time, in the right way.