HomeBlog Do You Know How to Treat Unique Buyers as You Enter New Industries?

Do You Know How to Treat Unique Buyers as You Enter New Industries?

October 18, 2019 | By Jeff Clark

  • Product, marketing and sales leaders need buyer insights to support an audience-centric go-to-market strategy
  • Most B2B companies struggle as they move into new industries because they do not understand the unique buying patterns
  • SiriusDecisions’ Buyer Insights Reports reveal behaviors, preferences and unique personas across 15 industries

When successful companies got their start, they knew their buyers well, because they were intensely focused on delivering value to gain a foothold in the market. However, as companies grow — whether they go from selling a single product to selling multiple products or from one industry to many — understanding the unique nature of new types of buyers can be challenging. And there’s little time to learn with a “trial by fire” approach. That’s why it’s so important for product, marketing and sales leaders to source buyer insights.

warehouse shelves

New buyer insights are particularly important as you enter new industries — you want to know how the buying process works. Is there a new persona involved in decision-making? Are the decision-makers more consensus driven? Less risk averse? Where do buyers go for information? With these insights in hand, organizations can better understand buying behaviors (e.g. content and interaction preferences) and key decision drivers in these new industries. 

One example of these dynamics is in the complexity of the buying process. Across many businesses, more people are involved in major purchasing decisions, but nowhere more than in manufacturing and utility businesses. Sixty-eight percent of manufacturing purchasing scenarios are by consensus or committee, or with 17 to 18 interactions between the buyer and vendor. The high number of interactions reflects the growing sophistication of manufacturing challenges and solutions, as well as the increased number of participants involved in decision-making.

One persona that is especially interested in solutions that affect the manufacturing process is the manufacturing professional — a key influencer throughout each stage of the process. In the education phase, this persona often conducts research to determine which challenges are actually solvable with the help of vendors. Providers to manufacturing buyers must ensure that the manufacturing professional is targeted by marketing campaigns and engaged by sales as early as possible. They must also maintain consistent messaging about their advantages with all decision-makers, across human and non-human interactions, throughout the selling process. This is challenging, but clarity about how offerings will impact the manufacturing process is absolutely essential for success.

Another industry with a highly complex buying process is the extremely risk-averse utility business. Ninety-one percent of purchases are done by either consensus or committee. Buying groups have a higher number of external influencers (13%) and ratifiers (25%) than all buyers and fewer internal influencers (13% vs. 30% for all buyers). Those external influencers include governments, utility commissions and industry consultants that are either directly involved in decision-making or exert influence on the buying groups and their ratifiers.

To help address these buyers, we recommend that providers develop strategies that engage external influencers to develop a shared vision of solutions to industry challenges. For example, create an event strategy that connect buyers with industry analysts during the types of engagement utility buyers favor in the education and solution phases of their journey, such as analyst- or industry-group-sponsored conferences, trade shows, webinars and online communities. Engaging these buyers with analysts who are supportive of vendor offerings will establish the organization as a trusted provider.

These are just a few insights drawn from the 33 published SiriusDecisions Buyer Insights reports, which focus on specific buyer personas (e.g. CEO, CIO, HR, finance) and buyers within specific functional areas or industries (e.g. government, IT, retail, utilities, manufacturing). The research behind these reports is gleaned from a global survey of 924 functional leaders and professionals in B2B organizations across 15 industries and five revenue bands. All respondents made purchases during the 90 days before the survey. If you are a SiriusDecisions client, contact your account team to learn how to access these valuable reports.

Buyer Insights Reports Series

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark brings more than 25 years of b-to-b marketing experience to the Marketing Operations Strategies service. Jeff develops SiriusDecisions’ research on marketing measurement and technology planning. His work helps b-to-b organizations effectively quantify, understand and convey the value being created by their marketing functions and assists marketing operations teams in their planning and management of technology.

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