Nearly 9 out of 10 B2B buyers now begin their purchase process online. They initiate their buy cycle journey using search to find independent product reviews, asking friends in social networks who they recommend and reading customer forums to see what existing customers have to say. Research shows that B2B buyers educate themselves with online content and complete about three-quarters of their buy cycle before they ever engage a vendor. In fact, they’ve usually reached a vendor short-list by the time they interact with those vendors. Unfortunately for vendors, if they’re not found in the online discovery process, they’re excluded from the sale opportunity.
Marketers are keenly aware that the vendor led sales cycle has been replaced with an online buyer driven buy cycle, and in response are shifting their marketing budgets toward digital marketing campaigns. Inbound marketing, content marketing, email marketing, paid marketing and social (media) marketing are increasingly becoming the favored methods for attracting and engaging online buyers.