B2B buying behavior changed drastically over 2020 and 2021, so planning for 2022 presents new challenges — and opportunities. Forrester’s 2021 B2B Buying Study showed a dramatic 59% increase in the number of meaningful interactions that buyers engage in throughout the buying process compared to just two years ago. That increase reflects more self-guided research and more personal interactions with vendors and third parties, and while that may have been affected by the remote-work dynamic throughout 2020 and 2021, we surmise that buyers have become savvier about gathering information and will carry that forward in the future.
So what does that mean for your 2022 planning initiatives? It means that understanding the buyer’s journey and being ready to educate and inform your buyers wherever they go is more important than ever. Here are three keys to success for portfolio marketers to keep up with the changing behaviors of today’s B2B buyer:
- Make sure you’re targeting the right buyers. B2B buying decisions are rarely made by individuals; they are made by buying groups. The user of your product may not be the economic decision-maker. The decision-maker may not be the champion who pulls the purchase through the buying process. Understanding the buying group dynamics and which players to target can drastically improve your outcomes.
- Reevaluate your buyer persona work. Are your personas complete enough to allow your internal partners across marketing and sales to successfully implement persona-based strategies and tactics? Even average persona work can help create better messaging, but until you do the work to understand how buyers do their research and how they prefer to interact, your sales and marketing teams may not know how and when to deliver those messages.
- Leverage the buyer’s journey to activate improved engagement and results. Considering the dramatic increase in interactions, being prepared to meet buyers where they are is more important than ever. And having a well-researched buyer’s journey map ensures that any team that impacts the buyer’s experience — whether through marketing, content strategy, sales outreach, or, just as important, through enabling influencers such as press and analysts — has the information it needs to know where buyers are going and what information they are looking for.
Forrester clients can read the full Portfolio Marketing: Planning Assumptions 2022 report and set up a guidance session with any of our portfolio marketing analysts to discuss their unique challenges.