The ANNUITAS Opportunity
I have spent the last six years at an amazing company called Demandbase, and another eight years before that at a variety of B2B companies (both private and public) working on the bleeding edge of marketing technology and wearing a lot of different marketing hats. Regardless to where I worked, though, I always focused on three fundamental disciplines: demand generation, lead management and content strategy.
Along the way I learned a few things.
B2B sells to accounts, not individuals
The CMO of SAP once famously said that B2B companies “don’t sell to glass buildings, they sell to people.” Maybe. But the thing is, it’s never just one person any more. It’s a committee of people, and the committee is bigger than ever before. Each of them has different motivations, interests and requirements. In many ways, the only thing that they have in common is that they all work for the same company.
While it is interesting when someone with the right title from a good company fills out a form, it’s much more exciting and indicative of an actual selling opportunity when multiple buyers from an account are all engaged in some way with a vendor. B2Bs need to understand the roles and motivations of all of these potential buyers, stakeholders and influencers.
B2B buyer behavior has changed
It was from ANNUITAS Chief Strategy Officer Adam Needles that I first heard the term Buyer 2.0. In his book Balancing the Demand Equation he writes “…the new dynamics of a Web 2.0 world…have given B2B buyers more tools than ever to consume content when and where they want, to circumvent vendor interactions and to better engage one-to-one with peer insights…changing the fundamental equation of what it means to successfully market and sell to modern B2B buyers.”
There are lots of recent studies and statistics that prove that the majority of the B2B buying journey has been completed before your prospects ever connect with a salesperson. B2B marketing needs to focus on ensuring that the accounts you can sell to are finding the relevant, targeted content they need to engage your B2B brand online. If you don’t supply them with the content they need, they will find it somewhere else, and you can’t always trust that the sources they find tell the story you want them to hear. You need to make sure you can create the content that tells your story and put it where they will find it.
All roads lead to your website
While it is true that Buyer 2.0 can reach out to peers and social networks while they research your products and solutions, it is also true that every sale a modern B2B company makes includes steps where a buyer visits the website. They are looking for content, they are researching your company, they are deciding whether or not to invite you into their professional lives for the next 6, 12 or 18 months.
Here’s the thing… you can predict with 100% certainty that your website will be a stop on the Buyer 2.0 journey. You need to make sure they find the content that will help them on their journey. Convincing them to fill out a form is not as easy as it once was, and you need to make sure that if they do take that step you continue to provide them with relevant, targeted content throughout the rest of the cycle.
The ANNUITAS opportunity
In Q4 of 2012, DemandGen Report released their annual B2B Buyer’s Survey, and in it nearly 56% of buyers rated their buying experience as “less than satisfied” and cited that this dissatisfaction was “largely tied to timeliness of vendor response and relevance of information provided.” In a recent blog post, ANNUITAS CEO Carlos Hidalgo discussed the survey and said “…the dissatisfaction that comes with the vendors is centered around the response time and relevance of content provided. So while the buyers are becoming more advanced in their buying process, vendors are not keeping up with their changing needs.”
ANNUITAS is a Demand Process Transformation℠ firm. We help enterprise companies fundamentally change the way they approach and execute demand generation. B2B marketers continually face demands for more leads, better leads, increasing ROI, creating content and managing the resources to do so. ANNUITAS helps enterprise marketers tackle these pain points.
The modern demand generation engine has a lot of moving parts that, by design, make it a very complicated thing to change. This could be why the modern B2B buyer is so frustrated with how slowly B2Bs are adapting to their needs. This is also the ANNUITAS opportunity, and why I am so excited to be joining at such a pivotal time in B2B marketing.
This is my first week at ANNUITAS, and it’s going to be a good one.
Author: Jason Stewart @jstewart_1 is Vice President, Demand Generation, ANNUITAS.