When it comes to an individual customer, you work hard to predict what they’ll buy, so you can supply it; when they’ll buy, so you’re there when they’re ready; and each stage they’re at in their buyer’s journey, so you can market appropriately to them at each phase of the process. But why is it the same effort isn’t always put into the B2B world?
It’s true that marketing to a business isn’t the same as marketing to an individual. The journey from identifying a need to making a purchase looks different for a business. Which means the measures you use to predict what an individual customer will do won’t work on a business. But that doesn’t take away the necessity to know when a business is ready to buy.
So how can you can get ahead of a business’ purchasing decisions?
Know How the Business Journey Changes
The first step is to understand that the businesses you’re marketing to are not static. Whether due to changes in their industries, the advancement of technology, or even the inevitable wear and tear of machinery, there are always factors causing these businesses to change and grow. With the changes and growth comes a need for new equipment. So it’s important to know what changes to be on the lookout for so you can be proactive in your marketing to prospective businesses.
This has always been one of the primary indicators for when a business is ready to buy. But the timeline for replacement cycles are changing, especially in the agricultural market. Replacement cycles used to come around 5 years after the purchase date. Now, businesses are waiting 8-9 years before replacing their equipment. It could be due to economic purposes or having longer lasting equipment. Whatever the cause, there is clearly a need for awareness of your prospects’ replacement cycles to avoid contacting them too early or missing the cycle entirely.
It’s important to know when a business’ loyalty changes, especially in the brands they buy for two reasons:
- If a business changes loyalty to a brand you sell, you can be ready to market to that new prospect.
- If a business shifts loyalty away from your company or from a brand you sell, you can track backwards to find out why and create strategies to improve.
This is when a business is ready to increase their equipment volume due to gaining new business, a booming economy, a shift into a new market, etc. A growth in business can bring about a need to purchase more units of the equipment the business uses. Being aware of such a change could result in a big opportunity for you.
This is when a business starts buying types of equipment outside of what they would normally buy. For example, a contractor who takes on landscape hardscaping. This would present a need for new equipment. This presents a good opportunity especially in cases where a business that never purchased the type of equipment you sell begins to purchase it.
How to Tackle the Changes
By using data, you can keep track of the changes taking place in the businesses of current customers and other prospective businesses. You can utilize prospect databases like Randall-Reilly’s EDA and RigDigBI to navigate through organized prospect data. These databases provide information like equipment type, equipment purchase dates, warranty cycles, equipment model, equipment brand, etc. Having access to specific and dynamic data allows you to spot all the aforementioned changes to the business journey of customers and prospects when they happen.
For example, EDA allows you to track equipment and notifies you automatically when new data becomes available. With both EDA and RigDigBI, you can look through buying/replacement cycles and monitor shifts in brand loyalty or shifts in the types of equipment bought.
Taking a step further, data allows you to take a close look at purchasing patterns which allows you to predict upcoming changes. This gives you the chance to get ahead of the change and prepare accordingly.
It’s time to move away from reactive marketing. The days of waiting too late to respond to the changes in the business journey are over. If you want your marketing to be present when changes arise in the businesses of your customers and prospects, use data to create proactive strategies that put you ahead of the game.