Making B2B buyers feel confident about their decision-making has been overlooked and is in fact a determining factor in the strength of relationships with customers, according to a new study released by Gartner.
The Elevating Marketing’s Role in B2B Account Growth report, which canvassed the opinions of 1,000 B2B customers, found that growth strategies centred on bringing about change in the behaviours and habits of target audiences in isolation are largely futile as they rarely have a positive impact.
Instead, B2B brands should aim to deliver content that makes customers more confident in their ability to assess a situation and make correct purchasing decisions, as Gartner found that this can lead to more purchases and greater brand loyalty over time.
“85% of commercial leaders report they are leaving significant amounts of growth on the table,” Gartner’s marketing practice managing vice president Martha Mathers said in a statement.
“There’s a clear disconnect here and an urgency to understand what marketing can do to truly help drive growth in existing accounts, particularly with signs of economic uncertainty in view.”
Gartner found that customers are 2.6 times more likely to purchase more products or services from a company if the latter can provide content and experiences that increase their ability and confidence to make crucial decisions.
This can be achieved via the distribution of ‘buyer enablement’ content, defined as the process of accelerating B2B sales by providing what buyers need to make quick and informed decisions.
Brands that are able to deliver articles, blogs, web copy, whitepapers and videos at the right time through the right channels can ease buyers through the critical phases of the purchase process and thus increase confidence by around 300%, which then leads to loyalty and greater sales.
“It’s about building customer confidence in themselves,” Mathers added.
“Marketing organizations that can build customer confidence in their ability to make decision change that’s good for their business will not only differentiate themselves from the competition, but will be better positioned to drive high-quality growth.”
Bringing about change through content and experiences is the best option for B2B brands as it gives customers a compelling reason to take action.
When supplemented with content outlining clear steps to an end goal, brands can increase decision confidence significantly.
Gartner recommends using content for an onboarding experience of sorts as guiding customers through the basics of new products and services can lead to higher adoption levels, which is especially important in sectors such as tech, business and finance.
Again, this integration support drives a 2.9 times increase in decision confidence.
Mathers said that marketing leaders now play a major role in expanding business (the study found that they now pursue the majority of all leads) through existing accounts and that marketing has the tools to drive substantial growth with the right strategies and campaigns.
Content marketing, in particular, can help customers to realise that they can force change and cope with all of the challenges that may arise from taking a bold course of action.