“Funnel” and “Lead” Aren’t Right for B2B

If B2B marketing is so different from B2C…why do we use a B2C model?

First, the funnel.

b2beacon-nofunnelB2C marketers can often get away with thinking their job is done at the sale. A person researches and buys a ping pong table and boom, you’re done! The B2B customer relationship doesn’t end at the sale. In fact, according to Demandbase, 82 percent of revenue for mid-large B2B companies comes from current customers.

B2C marketers primarily sell to individuals. A person deciding which car to buy is a lead for the car dealer. In B2B, our “customer” is actually many stakeholders with specific roles and specific needs. We market to a company of people, not to one individual.

So, there’s now a new approach for B2B marketers called the Company Buying Journey, or CBJ for short.

More than 30 leaders in B2B digital marketing have worked together to develop a new approach based on research and hard-fought lessons learned through years of real-world experience.

b2beacon-cbj-knot01a Here’s how the CBJ is different and better…

1. Not based on a funnel…it’s a loopy Celtic knot kind of thing. B2B customer relationships don’t move in one direction toward a sale and then end. They’re nonlinear and continual and are broken into four main phases: EXPLORE — EVALUATE — PURCHASE — EXPERIENCE.

2. The CBJ focuses on a group of people in a company as the customer rather than an individual. For any buying decision, the focus is on understanding who’s involved, when they’re involved, what their needs are, and how they behave. The CBJ approach measures the engagement of companies — not just individual people.

3. The CBJ is only viewed from the customer perspective. Every decision begins with meeting the prospective customer’s needs. To this end, the CBJ simplifies to three main things to think about for each phase:

CUSTOMER: Understand the needs of your prospects and customers.
CONTENT: Respond to these needs by creating the right content.
CONNECT: Get your customers and content together.

By anticipating and meeting your customers’ needs at every phase, you’ll build strong relationships and thereby improve your performance.

The Company Buying Journey was developed as part of B2Beacon — a new educational initiative from ClickZ in collaboration with business-to-business (B2B) agency BusinessOnline and 30 leaders in digital marketing. B2Beacon is a collection of insights, data, and tools to help digital marketers in the B2B sector improve their performance.

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