Today’s buyers control their journey through the buying cycle much more than today’s vendors control the selling cycle. In a recent survey, 74% of business buyers told use they conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase. This buyer dynamic changes the role of B2B marketing in a fundamental way. Marketing now owns a much bigger piece of the lead-to-revenue cycle. And B2B marketers must take responsibility for engaging with the customer through most of the buying cycle. And, you need to engineer a cross-channel, engagement strategy to successfully engage with today's buyers, who proactively seek the information they need — through digital and social channels, from peers, on YouTube, at events, and, yes, through your sales reps — to advance their decision process.
Forrester research shows that today’s B2B buyer will find three pieces of content about a vendor for every one piece that marketing can publish or sales can deliver. They are finding this content in an ever-expanding number and variety of channels. And they are accessing these channels from an increasingly diverse array of devices. Without debate, the business from business buyer is already much more multichannel than the business-to-business sellers are. Buyers of business products and services are online, in social channels, on YouTube, going to events, and evaluating options on their iPads and smartphones. The buyer’s journey looks a lot more like this than the linear models (e.g., the funnel) that we usually use as a graphical representation.