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Throughout the B2B buying experience, engaging prospects in a meaningful way is increasingly important.
Buyer engagement refers to the process of connecting with potential customers and creating an ongoing relationship that encourages them to purchase from a business.
By proactively engaging buyers, companies can identify and address customer needs in real-time, develop tailored solutions for their prospects, and increase conversions.
What is Buyer Engagement?
Buyer engagement is the level of customer interaction and communication a buyer has with the company. This includes all forms of engagement, including attending events, visiting websites, using social media platforms, and reading newsletters and other content.
In the business-to-business (B2B) space, buyer engagement is typically the responsibility of sales reps, who seek to reach out to and build relationships with prospects to close deals with them.
It’s all about understanding their needs and creating a positive customer journey that leads prospective customers to make a purchase.
Engagement begins before the buyer becomes a prospect and ends when the customer stops engaging with the company’s products or services. Depending on what stage of the customer journey a prospect is in, the methods of buyer engagement may vary.
For example, before a customer is aware of a company’s product or service, they may be exposed to marketing materials such as ads, emails, and social media posts.
They may also be cold-called by sales reps pitching the product or service.
Once a customer is familiar with the company, sales reps typically engage buyers through email campaigns, personal follow-ups, and other activities tailored to the customer’s specific needs.
- Customer Engagement – The overall relationship between a business and its customers. It often involves engaging with the customer on multiple fronts (e.g., marketing materials, personalized messages, or attending events.
- Digital Buyer Engagement – Providing customers with a tailored digital experience, such as personalized content and emails, and using analytics to measure the customer journey.
- Sales Engagement – Connecting with leads and prospects to close deals. It involves understanding customer needs, building relationships, and using customized sales approaches tailored to specific customers.
Buyer Engagement vs. Customer Engagement
“Buyer engagement” and “customer engagement” are often used interchangeably. And although buyer engagement is a form of customer engagement, there is a critical difference between the two.
Characteristics of customer engagement include:
- Business-to-consumer (B2C) interactions in which the customer is an individual
- The seller interacts with an individual
- Smaller but more frequent sales
- Social media, grassroots marketing, and other digital marketing tactics
Buyer engagement is characterized by:
- B2B interactions where there are multiple buyers involved
- The seller interacts with a team or group of people
- Larger but less frequent sales (e.g., annual contracts, long-term deals)
- Direct sales, email campaigns, and other more “traditional” marketing tactics
While buyer engagement is a subset of customer engagement, it requires different strategies and approaches.
When preparing for buyer engagement, companies should take the time to understand their target audience and develop a well-thought-out sales playbook and marketing strategy that positions them as trusted partners.
Why Buyer Engagement is Critical in Sales
At different stages in the sales funnel, buyer engagement serves a different purpose. But every stage is equally critical to the success of a business, as it helps to build relationships with customers and provides insight into their needs.
Analyzing Buyer Journey
To understand how customers and prospects interact with a company and its products, the company needs to analyze the entire buying process.
There are five main stages in the customer journey that require analysis.
- Awareness: During this stage, customers become aware of a product or service and start researching. To get a complete picture of how customers engage with a brand, companies should track website traffic, social media interactions, blog visits, and other actions taken online.
- Consideration: In this stage, customers closely evaluate the company’s product or service. Companies should look at how many leads they generate, what marketing materials were effective in bringing in these leads, and how often customers view their content.
- Conversion: This stage is when customers decide to purchase a product or service. Companies should track metrics such as the number of sales, time spent on the website, and any other behaviors that indicate the customer is ready to buy.
- Retention: Once customers purchase a product or service, companies should continue to engage them. This can involve sending personalized emails, offering discounts or promotions, and providing helpful content that helps customers maximize their use of the product or service.
- Advocacy: The final stage is when customers become advocates for the company by sharing positive experiences with friends, family, and colleagues. Companies should track referral programs, customer reviews, and other forms of engagement to measure customer loyalty.
Businesses monitoring their buyer engagement initiatives can gain invaluable insights into their customers’ needs and behaviors. This helps them to better understand what resonates with their audience and optimize their sales and marketing strategies.
Behaviors in Buyer Engagement
Salespeople and marketers need to stay on top of consumer trends to connect with their ideal customers. One way to do this is to look at customer behaviors in buyer engagement.
Here are a few statistics and what they entail:
- 90% of the buyer’s journey may be complete before a prospect reaches out to a salesperson. Since so much information is readily available on the internet, companies must be active in their marketing efforts and ensure they’re creating content that resonates with customers.
- 87% of prospects ignore phone calls from unknown numbers. Even if companies succeed with cold calling, they need to diversify their tactics and focus on other methods, such as email marketing and social media engagement.
- Buyers only spend 17% of their time meeting with potential vendors when researching options. Since most prospects have full schedules and want to avoid meetings, companies must develop content that prospects can review in their own time.
In the modern B2B landscape, businesses need to meet buyers where they are and provide them with as much upfront information as possible to ensure a frictionless sales process.
KPIs for Measuring Buyer Engagement
To measure the effectiveness of buyer engagement initiatives, companies should track key performance indicators (KPIs).
Here are the most important KPIs to track:
Churn rate measures how often customers abandon a product or service within a given period. A high churn rate means that companies are not effectively engaging with their customers, and need to address the issue as soon as possible.
Customer Retention Rate
Customer retention rate is a measure of how many customers continue to use a product or service over a period of time. It is an important metric for businesses as it reflects customer satisfaction, loyalty and engagement with the company.
By monitoring customer retention, businesses can identify areas where they need to improve their products or services and ensure that customers remain engaged with their offerings.
Sales Cycle Length
Keeping the sales process as quick and streamlined as possible is key to converting as many customers as possible.
To measure sales cycle length, companies should track customers’ time to move from initial contact to purchase.
Average Order Value
Average order value (AOV) measures the amount of money customers spend on each order. By increasing AOV, companies can increase revenue and better understand what resonates with their audience.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Since most forms of buyer engagement require an upfront investment, customer acquisition cost directly impacts the success of those efforts. Companies should track CAC to understand the cost of acquiring new customers and determine the most cost-effective engagement methods.
Buyer Engagement Strategies
There are several different buyer engagement strategies, and many companies use a mix of them at different points in the purchase journey.
Personalization is key in sales—customers expect a personalized experience that goes beyond the generic “sales pitch.” Salespeople should take the time to understand their customers’ needs and tailor their messaging accordingly.
Unified Experience Across Devices
When it comes to customer experience, companies must ensure that their messaging is consistent across all devices. With customers increasingly using mobile devices, companies need to ensure their engagements are optimized for smaller screens.
Pick Up Where the Buyer Left Off in Their Journey
Companies should be able to track customer activity and pick up where the buyer left off in their purchase journey. They can tailor future engagements to their customers by understanding what content resonates with them the most.
Sales Enablement Tools to Improve Buyer Engagement
Sales enablement tools allow sales teams to access customer data and create personalized interactions quickly. These tools help improve customer engagement by making it easier for reps to find the right content, track customer activity, and understand the buyer’s journey.
Sales Engagement Software
Sales engagement software (e.g., Salesforce or HubSpot) can help companies make the most of their buyer engagement efforts.
These tools enable sales teams to track customer behavior and create personalized experiences that drive conversions.
Buyer Engagement Analytics
Analytics tools like Google Analytics can help companies track buyer engagement and measure the success of their efforts online.
They can also use heatmap technology and other website monitoring tools to improve their marketing campaigns and online user experience.
CRM software is at the forefront of digital transformation, and it’s one of the most valuable tools for tracking buyer engagement.
Companies can use CRM to store customer data, track customer interactions, and create personalized experiences. They can also use it to create custom automations and workflows to streamline the buyer engagement process.
CPQ software makes the sales process much faster, particularly for companies with complex pricing models.
By automatically generating quotes, customers can get the information they need quickly and easily, leading to better engagement.
And since CPQ streamlines approval processes, sales reps can quickly close deals.
Digital Sales Room (DealRoom)
Digital sales room technology (i.e., DealRoom) accelerates the B2B sales process by providing a unified, digital environment for buyers and sellers to interact. Without the need for back-and-forth emails, customers can quickly get the information they need and make decisions faster.
People Also Ask
How do you keep buyers engaged?
There are several ways to keep buyers engaged throughout the purchase journey:
– Create interactive content that answers their questions
– Use personalization to tailor messages to their needs
– Provide unified buying experiences across devices
– Track customer activity and pick up where the buyer left off in their journey
– Utilize sales enablement tools that make it easier for reps to find relevant content and understand the buyer’s journey
What is a buyer engagement strategy?
A buyer engagement strategy is a planned set of activities that help companies create meaningful relationships with their customers.
This includes personalizing interactions, using sales enablement tools, tracking customer behavior and analytics, utilizing CRM software for data insights, implementing CPQ software to streamline the ordering process, and using digital sales rooms (DealRoom) to accelerate the sales process.
What are customer engagement skills?
Customer engagement skills include:
– Active listening
– Strong communication
– Organizational skills
– Data analysis
– Customer service orientation