What goes into making a purchase? Picture a typical trip to the grocery store: you consult your list, keep an eye out for sales, head over to the produce section, peruse the selection and select an apple for tomorrow’s lunch. This process might sound simple, but it’s actually a sped-up version of the buyer’s journey. Dozens, maybe even hundreds of different factors went into your decision to buy that particular apple from that particular store on that particular day.
For businesses, finding a way to influence that process is the key to sales. And “complicated” as buying an apple may seem, it doesn’t even come close to the challenges B2B fintechs face. These firms are selling incredibly complex technology to some of the smartest, most innovative and most risk-averse companies in the world, and the amount of money at stake can be enormous. Sales cycles are long, often requiring numerous touchpoints and bespoke terms. If your win rate isn’t solid, you won’t be in business for long.
Fortunately, complex as B2B fintech can be, the fundamental steps in the buyer’s journey remain simple: Awareness, Consideration and Action. To be successful, your company must reach your audience in the right way at every step.
Effective marketing can go a long way toward these favorable outcomes. By generating leads, strategically nurturing prospects, educating the market on your solution and generally positioning your firm as a voice worth listening to, you can accelerate every step of the buyer’s journey and close more deals. This isn’t easy – B2B fintech demands an expert grasp of the subject matter and plenty of patience – but done correctly, it can be truly powerful. Let’s explore each step of the buyer’s journey and some examples of how marketing can support each one.
Phase 1: Awareness
At the earliest stage of their journey, your prospects may not have taken any steps to identify a solution, but they know they have a problem. This is the “before” state that precedes any successful product implementation – in B2B fintech, it could look like anything from inefficient workflows to data management challenges to an unacceptable number of trade breaks.
For these prospects, it’s key to make them feel seen – and that they see you. These firms will respond to marketing that clearly articulates the problem they are facing and explains how offerings like yours can be a workable solution. It’s also important to have already raised your visibility within your target audience, separate from any targeted outreach. This way, when your prospects are ready to take the next step, they’ll recall your name and basic message and be that much more likely to engage.
A few examples of how marketing can activate potential buyers during the Awareness phase:
– Content – Articles that address common pain points, how they fit into the wider industry landscape and potential solutions make prospects feel heard and understood
– SEO – Your prospects are likely using Google to research their pain points and potential solutions. Wouldn’t it be great if your firm’s website was a top result?
– Paid Social – By putting your message directly in front of your target audience and enticing them to provide their contact info (in exchange for a whitepaper download, for example), you can lay a foundation for future business development efforts.
– PR & Events – While these areas may less directly support the sales process, they increase brand recognition and boost your profile as an authoritative source within your industry niche, so prospects are more likely to think of you when mulling over their challenges.
Phase 2: Consideration
Prospects in the Consideration phase of the buyer’s journey have identified the problem and made a basic plan for how to solve it. Now it’s a matter of making sense of what could be many avenues to reach that solution. For B2B fintechs, that often means standing out from the competition and highlighting why your product is the best choice among broadly similar offerings.
Here, education is key – prospects are ready for a real sense of how your offering works and what using it will actually be like. From a content standpoint, it often makes sense to lessen the focus on general challenges and solutions and increase the focus on features and functionality. At the same time, the prevalence of long sales cycles in B2B fintech means it’s important to keep checking in with prospects – not just via sales calls, but through marketing efforts that serve them your key messages at a consistent cadence.
A few examples of how marketing can activate potential buyers during the Consideration phase:
– Content – Case studies, webinars and overview videos that highlight the key features of your solution are a great way to go beyond foundational content and answer prospects’ tough questions.
– Sales Materials – At this stage, having a sales presentation that can cut through the noise is key. It’s not just about telling a consistent, compelling story – it’s about making sure your decks, product sheets and the like are well-organized and have a professional look and feel.
– Email Marketing – Familiarity leads to comfort. By periodically checking in with your prospects via email newsletters on your latest activities or lead nurture campaigns that resurface your best content, you’ll keep the relationship warm as decision-makers consider their options.
– Organic Social – A steady, strategic rhythm of social media posts might sound insignificant, but it’s the kind of subtle reinforcement you need to survive a long sales cycle. Do it right and prospects will better remember your message and see you as active and authoritative as they consider their options.
Phase 3: Decision
Every step in the buyer’s journey leads up to the final decision. At this point, it’s all about whether your solution aligns with your prospect’s needs and how well you’ve made the case. Certain marketing functions can support final considerations before a decision – making the UX visually appealing, ensuring product specifications are easily accessible via your website, etc. – but at this point, the outcome is largely out of your hands.
What effective marketing can do is help make the most of the prospects you do convert. By leveraging new client relationships in the right way (and with their permission/participation), you can accelerate future sales and marketing efforts and help scale your entire business development organization. A few examples:
– PR – Whenever possible, consider issuing a press release highlighting your new client and what it means for both of your businesses. Media coverage of a client win can serve as powerful third-party validation.
– Content – Assuming implementation goes smoothly and the client remains happy, see if they’re willing to work with you to produce a case study on your relationship. Going forward, you’ll be in an even better position to win similar clients.
– Ongoing Promotion – Whether it’s a list of logos on your website or a testimonial you can share time and again on social media, letting people know that you work with prominent industry firms will always have value.
These are just a few of the many ways that marketing can support the B2B fintech buyer’s journey. The ideas listed above are good starting points, but never be afraid to think outside the box and get creative – any communications that validate a prospect’s challenges, highlights your differentiators and reinforces your brand can help streamline the sales process. It’s just a matter of knowing when to employ each tactic.
All of this requires investment in your marketing, significant collaboration with the sales team and solid foundational elements like your brand and website. It’s a complex equation, but, as our client case studies illustrate, one that’s well worth getting right. Targeted outreach to your prospects will accelerate the sales process and prime your business for growth, even if the decisions are a bit more high-stakes than a trip to the grocery store.
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