There is no denying that it’s the decision-maker who signs on the dotted line. However, as a B2B company wanting to sell your products or services, crafting your content purely to impress a decision-maker’s worldview can be a marketing disaster without considering their sphere of influence.
In organizations with 100-500 employees, the sphere of influence of a decision-maker consists of at least seven to 10 different persons on average. This team may be referred to as a buying committee that undertakes research and evaluation before recommending a brand or a solution, including yours, to the decision-maker, who is, in most cases, a C-Suite executive. It does not have the authority to take the final decision. However, it has the power to reject possibilities based on its understanding of a company or a solution.
So, when you create content that focuses solely on catching the decision-maker’s eyes, you leave a wide gap that the core advisory team cannot cross. There is not much in your messaging that is relevant to them.
On the other hand, if you create content that engages all of them and helps them build confidence and consensus, they will do the talking for you. They will shortlist your company among the potential sellers.
As 70 percent of the buyer’s journey is now digital, their research and evaluations are based on online content, which significantly impacts their purchasing decisions. Therefore, it is critical to understand the mindset of influencers and pitch content to them that satisfies their enquiring approach rather than subjecting them to guesswork. The seller who can help them reach a consensus and pose the least risk to their organizations and careers will be preferred above others.
This messaging or content building must begin as an organic part of your brand building from day one. You do not have to wait for buyers to take an interest in you to play catch up. A clear communication and content strategy is among the brick-and-mortar of image-building; it cannot be an afterthought or an add-on.
Such enthusiasm and passion for telling stories about your brand is a magnet to attract buyers because they are in no doubt about your strengths, passion points, mission, and vision. It is a seamless strategy with the inherent power to steer their decisions in your favor. It needs no convincing when you tell a story full of transparency, integrity, and commitment that resonates with them.
So why do sellers focus primarily on the decision-maker?
Most B2B marketers know about the decision maker’s immediate sphere of influence. Then, why do they focus all their content on the decision-maker?
It is because the sales team tells them that it is the decision-maker to whom they must talk. Marketers listen to them and give them what they want. But this is where they make a mistake. It is not all about the decision-maker but also his sphere of influence, and the latter has the power to derail a deal before it reaches the decision-maker’s table.
If you are a seller, you must include these realities in your content strategy as you try to know who is influencing the buying, who’s making the buying decision, and how the final decision is taken. If you can connect the dots, it will be a fantastic foundation for your storytelling.
Undoubtedly, getting a grip on how the buyer arrives at their conclusion is challenging. However, if you can crack it, it will dramatically increase your marketing and sales performance. Here’s how you do it:
Identify the invisible buying committee.
Of course, it is difficult for a vendor to identify members of the organization’s buying group or the individuals in the decision-maker’s sphere of influence. Data, research, marketing, and strong teams can fetch you the inside information. Sometimes, hiring a market research company might be handy.
As data and demographics dominate marketing decisions, marketers overlook a crucial asset, i.e., buyer personas. Data tells you who to talk to, but a buyer persona can show you how to speak to them. Knowing the psychology of each buying committee member is an invaluable tool for increasing success rates. Each buyer persona is a composition of facets, which come together as a composite context for your data to deliver. Many organizations ignore this critical aspect of sales and marketing or fail to develop effective and accurate buyer personas.
Develop a solid strategy.
Buyer persona information helps you devise the best ways to reach them. The psychographic map of their desires, motivations, and biases provides you with a practical road map you can use to enter their decision-making domain and persuade them to choose you.
Craft strategic content.
Most buyers and influencers arguably have some common characteristics that are relatively easy to identify and address in your marketing and sales messages. However, creating content dedicated to each buyer persona is the breakthrough; this alone will make you stand apart. Once you stand apart, you get noticed.
There is no doubt that the decision-maker is at the top of the pecking order, and your communication needs to be taken care of. You can deliver content that provides them with food for thought. But it is equally crucial to integrate the buying committee tiers into your messaging and write content in a way that helps their research and evaluation. In today’s competitive landscape, where attention and relevancy are indispensable, targeted, compelling, and empowering, content aimed at people in the thedecismaker’sr’ss sphere of influence can tilt the scales in your favor. Remember, ministers and advisors always cut a straight path to the leader.
Build your content as you build your company. The two are mutually catalytic to your progress and profits. Also, keep your content marketing strategy fluid; it should adapt and attract per the need of the hour. Keep your finger on the market pulse and an eagle eye on potential buyers’ wish lists so you can continuously craft content that captures their interest. This resilience and creativity will keep you ahead of the flock and get you noticed.
The rest, as they say, will make history for you.