Buyers to Marketers: Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You

“Why do you want my email and phone number again? So your sales consultant can contact me? No thanks, I’ll pass.”

Boonville Missing Bucky Walter PhoneMost B2B marketers are still fixated on capturing registration data, and no wonder. The marketing automation machine lives on a diet of email and your sales process is built on the telephone.

The problem is, your buyer’s process is not built on your email or your phone. According to research, buyers only engage with companies directly during the last 40% of their research process.

When you insist on registration, you are in effect telling prospects:

  • We don’t want to be involved in the first half of your research.
  • We are only willing to engage with you on our terms and timetable.

That is not the message you want to give a new prospect.

Today, 70% of research starts with search and 65% of buyers turn to social media during the purchase process (statistic on slide 10).

For B2B marketers, this environment requires a renewed focus on three elements and one major change.

  • Being discovered (search and PR)
  • Being recommended (social media)
  • Being worth discovering and sharing (content)
  • Making marketing contacts channel agnostic

The first three elements represent inbound marketing with the addition of PR. Traditional media properties continue to be major traffic drivers and that traffic can kickstart social sharing and linking.

Meeting the needs of an audience that is hesitant to register and engage directly will require B2B marketers to redefine a marketing contact and restructuring their marketing automation around a new channel-agnostic contact.

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and various niche platforms will be potential ways to nurture prospects, in the environment each prospect chooses. Marketing automation platforms will respond with extended support for social media contact channels.

Your Turn

Will B2B marketers embrace buyers that spend 60% of their time before engaging with the company or will they continue to focus on the traditional registration process and capturing contact information? Share your view below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

This look at the new buyer and the implications listed above will continue in additional posts over the coming weeks.

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About Eric Wittlake

I am a digital and B2B marketer with a background in online media and analytics. I work with B2B clients on media and integrated marketing programs at Babcock & Jenkins. You can connect with me on Twitter at @wittlake or in the comments here on my B2B Digital Marketing blog.

  • http://twitter.com/joezuc Joseph Zuccaro (@joezuc)

    Very salient points, Eric. As a Marketing Automation consultancy, my company loves to spread the MA gospel, but with the caveat that the technology does not solve the demand generation/lead management problem. Elements from the traditional “marketing mix” are still necessary, and as you note, much of the impression is made upon 60% of buying prospects before they voluntarily engage with a seller. Nevertheless, B2B Marketers need web based technologies to measure how well they are” being discovered,” how well they are “being recommended,” and how much their content is “worth sharing.”

    We’ve all been in the scenario where within 24 hours of downloading a whitepaper, some squirrel of a salesperson calls up, even though we haven’t even read the darn thing yet. However, without being too intrusive and losing focus on the customer and their needs, it will be of increasing importance to effectively gather, store, analyze, share and act upon data.

    Thanks for the great post.

    • http://digitalb2b.wordpress.com Eric Wittlake

      Thanks Joseph. Your systems reference is an interesting. Yes, we need systems to help us gain the insights to become better marketers. At the same time, the systems rely on identifying people over time, and linking anonymous content consumption to an individual once they are identified is still a work in progress it seems (it happens, but it isn’t seamless or without major limitations).

      The question your comment sparks is: are we forcing our system requirements on our prospects? If so, are we serving their needs as well as we can? Because if we are not, someone else is.

      Thanks for taking the time to add your comment, I appreciate it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=702931513 Kenny Madden

    especially true in the it World. nearly 2 million IT buyers agree. engage me on my terms and on my turf.

    • http://digitalb2b.wordpress.com Eric Wittlake

      Thanks Kenny, appreciate the support.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=702931513 Kenny Madden
  • Solid10Mike

    This is an interesting article. I’d be interested in seeing what today’s model and stats look like on this same subject.

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Mike, some of the data points here aren’t maintained anymore (so new data points aren’t directly comparable), but I believe the implications still hold today. Do you feel like this has changed more significantly since the article was first published?