Flip the script: Leads vs. Strategic Growth?
By: Jennifer Nietz
Business growth is in high demand. With a softening economy, all businesses are looking for ways to gain more business opportunities, and they are looking for ways to develop more “leads.” But here’s the issue, increasing leads is not the answer. Leads without relationships and knowledge will not lead to strategic, long-term growth. So, when I hear a business say they need more “leads,” I cringe.
Let’s flip your script. Strategic growth and more business opportunities happen when you develop relationships and trust with buyers belonging to an organization’s buying team. Remember that every B2B decision has a minimum of 4-5 buying influences. So just a lead with one of those influencers is only a tiny piece of the puzzle. To be successful in business growth, you must start profiling buying systems.
Profiling a buying system can be a daunting experience. Still, knowing more about your prospects and how they interact with potential products, services, and brands is necessary. Understanding the buying system and processes your prospects are in will help you build a competitive advantage over your competition. Here are some steps you can take to start profiling buying systems.
- Understand your customer. Before profiling a buying system, you need to understand your customers. You should know their demographics, pain points, and motivations. Ideally, you can understand their buying behavior, such as their preferred channels, the time they take to purchase, and the factors that influence their buying decisions. Once you know this, you can build a persona and understand the ideal prospect.
- Map out the buying process. The next step is to map out the buying process. This can be done by creating a diagram that includes the customer’s steps to purchase.
- Consider the customer journey. To better understand the buying system, you must consider the customer journey. This refers to the entire customer experience, from when they become aware of your product or service to when they make a purchase. Consider the touchpoints where a customer engages your brand, such as social media, email, website, and customer service. You should also consider the pain points and challenges faced by the customer during each stage of the journey.
- Identify key stakeholders. Multiple stakeholders will likely be involved in the buying system, depending on the complexity of the purchase. Identify the key stakeholders, including influencers. You need to understand their roles, motivations, and pain points. This can be done through research and direct phone calls. It takes live conversations to learn this to the extent that is needed. This essential step will help you tailor your marketing messages and improve your customer experience.
- Analyze the data. Once you have completed the steps above, collect quantitative and qualitative data to understand each buying process step better. This may include analyzing customer feedback, conducting interviews, and tracking customer behavior. Then, use this data to make data-driven decisions to improve your marketing and sales strategies.
Okay, now this is easier said than done; it takes work, which is likely why we continue to discuss increasing leads. However, leads will not generate sustained business growth. Instead, you must build your sales and marketing structure around the tasks and functions necessary to profile a buying system. And remember, picking up the phone and having a conversation is one of the most effective ways to learn.
COACT has spent 20 years working in industrial and technical markets to profile buying systems, build relationships, and position meaningful business growth opportunities. It requires a dedicated process and team that lives for the investigative process and has the grit to keep digging. COACT can be your strategic growth partner and resource for profiling buying systems, positioning opportunities, and building your competitive advantage.