How to Use Buying Group Marketing to Accelerate the Sales Process

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A typical B2B sales cycle can stretch from several months to over a year, depending on the size of the deal being worked. That’s a lot of time spent trying to move even your best prospects from “interested lead” to “product champion” — and the longer it takes, the greater the chance you’ll lose them to a competitor.

Shorten your sales cycle and close deals faster by applying the principles of Buying Group Marketing to your campaigns. Focus on creating a frictionless, well-timed journey for your buyer personas and those within their “spheres of influence.”

Market to Groups Over Individuals to Create More Product Champions

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Focus on the buying group to gain collective buy-in, knock down objections early on, and show how you’ll help improve each of their jobs. To do this, you’ll want to create a journey that’s personalized to each person but still serves the group as a whole.

For instance, your primary buyer persona may be the Chief Technology Officer. They likely work with a team of engineers and also work collaboratively with a Chief Operating Officer and other executives. They might also report to the Chief Information Officer. This buying group will be making a collective decision about which products and software to invest in — which will hopefully include your own.

Through Buying Group Marketing, you’ll create ads, content, and touchpoints for each of those roles while tracking their collective engagement. As each person starts to warm up to your brand, they’ll influence each other in their own internal conversations. You’ll turn them into advocates and champions for your product, moving your target role to a purchase decision even faster.

Steps to BGM success:

1. Research your ICP: Dive into your ideal customer profile (ICP) to identify target accounts and conduct plenty of research into your buyer personas at those accounts.

2. Identify pain points and team structures: To create an effective journey for your buying group, you need to understand the structure of the team, their challenges, and what they’re looking for in a solution.

3. Sketch out the circle of influence: Based on your research into team structures, identify who will be influencing your primary role or persona. Understand who will be leading the charge and who you might need to win over from detractor to champion through an influential buying journey.

Podcast: How to put these BGM principles into practice and effectively reach your sphere of influence

Listen now to our podcast episode with Amisha Gandhi, SVP of Marketing at Tipalti.

Create Frictionless Journeys to Nurture Your Prospects

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One webinar, ad set, or downloadable guide won’t be enough to hook even your best-fit prospects. You’ll need to nurture your buying group with thoughtful, customized content to keep them moving smoothly through the sales funnel.

Develop and design content and ads that target each role within the buying group. This content should be tailored to their challenges and motivations, their preferred channels, and, crucially, the different stages of the sales cycle. Map out how you’ll move each prospect from one stage to the next and gain the whole group’s buy-in, so you can move to a close faster.

For instance, a Chief Information Officer or other C-Suite exec likely cares more about business results and ROI, so you might personalize an ad set with that type of messaging. Once you have them engaged with your campaign, don’t stop there. Introduce a guide or infographic that lays out the business case for your product.

With BGM, you should also fit your content to your own goals. One Door, a visual merchandising platform, typically sees a longer sales cycle, so brand awareness and positioning was a key objective for their campaigns. Through a BGM strategy, they focused primarily on keeping their brand top of mind through ad engagement for key decision-makers.

The results proved out: One Door saw a 66% increase in branded searches year-over-year. And a more tailored, customized journey delivered impressive results, too: their personalized ads saw a 340% increase in click-through rate.

Steps to BGM success:

1. Remove forms and gated content: Buying Group Marketing works best when you know exactly who you’re targeting through Person-Based Advertising (PBA). You don’t need to worry about collecting email addresses since you already know who you’re targeting. Remove content gates for a frictionless experience for your top prospects.

2. Track engagement at the individual level: Track which ads and content your prospects are engaging with, then trigger follow-up workflows with relevant content. You’ll move them through the pipeline faster and increase conversions.

3. Map out your content journey for the whole buying group: Decide which ads and content assets will be needed for each individual in your buying group and at which stage of their journey. Then, figure out which paths and engagement activities will trigger the next piece of content or sales outreach.

Influence Purchase Decisions by Engaging at the Right Time

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Purchase decisions happen holistically when Buying Group Marketing is executed well. Begin sales outreach when your target audience and decision-makers are fully engaged with your content and they’ve absorbed key messaging and campaign assets.

Hit your key decision-maker with your pitch when you know your message is resonating, they’ve seen how your product can help solve their biggest pain points, and the rest of the buying group has been converted to champions. The timing is crucial here, as you want to ensure you’re using all the data you’re gathering from your BGM strategy to keep your prospects in your pipeline — instead of turning to competitors.

If you follow up too early, you risk being ignored or the conversation falling flat. Prospects might see your brand as too pushy or eager and might ultimately look for a company they feel has their best interests in mind instead. But you also run the danger of waiting too long if your buying group is well-engaged and clearly considering your product as a solution. If you don’t reach out quickly enough, they might turn to a competitor then, too.

With a BGM strategy, decision-makers are already receiving personalized content about how your product offering helps them in their role. You’ve served them educational content about their most pressing challenges, and they hopefully have a better idea of how to solve them with your product. By warming them up to your messaging before sales outreach, your brand will be top of mind for the entire group, and you’ll have at least a few champions who are open to hearing more.

Steps to BGM success:

1. Track engagement on ads and content: Keep a measure of engagement for each prospect and decision-maker and how deep into the funnel they’re getting. This will serve as a prime indicator of when they’re ready for personalized sales outreach.

2. Sales and marketing alignment: Your sales and marketing teams need to be in constant collaboration on sales readiness, lead scoring criteria, and how to best nurture decision-makers once they’re engaged. With effective nurturing from both teams, your prospects will have your brand top of mind, and you can have those sales conversations sooner.

3. Set your workflows based on content mapping: Sales follow-up activities and workflows should trigger automatically based on engagement and content consumption for each prospect. Amplitude integrated their BGM engagement activity directly into their CRM to trigger automatic sales workflows and saw 5.6X the ROI on ad spend for their campaigns.

Context Is Paramount to Simplifying Complex Sales Cycles

B2B sales processes are inherently long and unwieldy for sales teams and prospects on the other side of it all. A context-based approach to lead nurturing and sales follow-up is the key to unsticking decision-makers to convert them swiftly through the funnel. Prospects are more likely to engage and convert on content that’s relevant to the actions they’ve already taken.

Person-Based Advertising helped ProfitWell accelerate sales and increase Enterprise deals won by 111%. Learn how you can do the same with a contextually relevant strategy from Influ2

#Account Based Marketing #Buying Group Marketing #ABM #BGM