In this post, we’ll explore what buying groups are, their impact on the B2B buyer journey, and most importantly, how to incorporate buying group strategies into your 2024 marketing plans. Embracing buying groups will be essential to success in the years ahead.
As you plan your 2024 B2B marketing strategy, a key initiative should be adapting to today’s changing buyer behavior. The B2B buying journey has transformed from individual decision-makers to cross-functional groups that evaluate purchases collectively. To connect with modern buyers in 2024 and beyond, your marketing strategies must evolve to engage these buying groups.
What are buying groups?
Buying groups are groups of individuals within a company who are involved in the purchasing decision-making process. These groups can include champions, decision-makers, influencers, ratifiers, and users. By targeting buying groups, B2B marketers can ensure that their message is reaching the right people and increase the chances of a successful sale.
Why use buying groups? Because B2B buying behavior is changing.
There are several reasons why B2B marketers should be using buying groups in 2024:More complex buying cycles
Gone are the days of the one-person buying decision. Buying cycles have grown more complex and less predictable, making it more difficult for B2B marketers to reach decision-makers. Now the average B2B buying decision is made in groups of at least four people. By targeting buying groups, marketers can ensure that their message is reaching all the relevant individuals involved in the purchasing decision-making process. If you’re able to build awareness with more members of the buying group, you’re more likely to make your way onto their short list of vendors when they’re ready to buy.Consumerization is king
Consumerization is taking over B2B. So what does that mean for you? It means that the new buyer’s journey isn’t as straightforward as it once was. More companies are using consumer practices while shopping for B2B, particularly as digital natives lead more business buying decisions.
As millennials move into leadership positions, they are bringing their digital fluency and social media savvy to B2B buying decisions. Marketers need to engage buyers through the channels millennials prefer, like paid social media, streaming video, and podcasts. Email also remains an important channel for reaching millennials in the workforce. With more time spent online researching than in the past, traditional B2B marketing tactics aren’t as powerful as they once were (especially if done in a silo). Using more diversified channels and targeting multiple buyers at each account helps you stay ahead of these changing buying behaviors.
With buyers fluidly moving between online and offline touchpoints, B2B marketers can no longer think in linear terms. The focus needs to be orchestrating seamless omnichannel journeys that meet buyers wherever they are. By targeting buying groups, B2B marketers can ensure that their message is reaching all the relevant individuals, regardless of the route to market.Improved organizational alignment
Buying groups can be a touchy topic between marketing and sales, but this really boils down to a lack of understanding around buyers. By aligning on buying groups—who is a part of them and the best ways to reach them—marketing and sales can work together more effectively. Through targeting buying groups and using buying group scoring, B2B marketers can ensure that their message reaches all the relevant individuals and increase the chances of a successful sale.
How to effectively incorporate buying groups into your 2024 marketing strategy
The first step in incorporating buying groups into your marketing strategy is to identify the relevant individuals involved in the purchasing decision-making process. The easiest way to get started is to look at the data from your current and past customers. Look at how many individual contacts you had at each account and layer on other relevant data like their job titles. From there you can look for patterns in the types of job titles typically involved in your buying process and use that to build buying group targeting into your strategy.Tailor your message
Once you’ve identified your buying groups, it’s important to tailor your message to each individual’s buying role in the group. Since each member has a different aspect of the purchase they care about, they will need to be given different messages that make sense for their role. For example, the person who signs the check (the ratifier) probably cares more about the bottom line and value comparisons than the day-to-day user who cares more about how user-friendly the solution is or how it helps them do their job.
When you map out this tailored messaging, think about creating targeted content that speaks to the specific needs and pain points of each member. This can be a good place to add intent data in to give you a clearer image of what your buyers care most about.Add buying group scoring
Add buying group scoring to your current lead scoring methodology. Incorporating buying group scoring will help you keep track who is part of a purchase decision and identify the key decision-makers within a target company. This can also help you stay ahead of any changes as buying groups evolve. Knowing who is involved in a purchase decision and their role in the process can help you provide the right content at the right time to get them to convert.
Seize the buying group opportunity
As you finalize 2024 plans, build in the buying group tactics outlined above. Become buying group-focused in your targeting, messaging, and scoring. Adapt to the changing buying behaviors and your marketing team will be set up for success in 2024.
Make buying groups a cornerstone of next year’s strategy. Take steps to embrace this shift and prime your organization for growth.