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The Interplay of Channels across the B2B Buyer’s Journey

Sales and marketing teams aim to build a repeatable revenue process. This is how they achieve year-on-year growth in a predictable manner. A sizable part of building a better revenue process is dependent on understanding and mapping the buying journey. It is from this understanding that you’ll develop the insights needed to help the buyer find relevant information at every step of their journey.

Critical insights like channel preferences, timing, and the activity that receives the most engagement can boost revenue operations. But all such insights make sense when they are read in the context of the buying stage where these engagements happen.

The credit conundrum in B2B revenue operations

In B2B marketing and sales, the funnel plays an important role. Reason being the breakdown of the buying journey into stages and levels that enable better tracking of sales progress. Ideally, it should provide a clear view into the performance of activities and channels across the buying journey. Or more precisely who gets the credit for a successful deal? Sales outreach or marketing ads?

However, this is rarely the case and precisely why you often find B2B marketers talking of the scary, dark funnel. Between lead collection and deal closed (assuming it passes through all the stages) lies the missing pieces of the buying journey. Most revenue teams don’t have absolute clarity around the marketing and sales touches that contribute to a closed won or lost.

Imagine having access to this intel. For any stage in the buyer’s journey, you’ll know exactly what activities and channels should be preferred for engaging certain types of accounts and personas. These insights can be pulled from the historical engagement data of opportunities that converted into closed won. A trend of such insights for similar accounts can be used to build a model for predictive analytics. Then, you can predict what actions through which channels will bring the best outcome for an account at any stage.

Yes, you can make sales success a sweet, repeatable process. This gives you the insights you need to plan your budget allocation for different channels and activities. Wouldn’t this be the holy grail of revenue growth for ABM practitioners?

A typical B2B revenue team tracking and measuring the impact of channels and activities across the buying journey would stop here. Should we? We think not.

Why is the interplay of channels a critical piece of the funnel puzzle

With the rise of omnichannel marketing, buyers are exposed to so many avenues of information at once. One display ad on your favorite blog page, a newsletter in your inbox, and a search result during your online research. All from one company targeting you with precisely the messaging that chimes so well with your needs.

Traditionally, sales and marketing have thought of channels and activities that contribute to the sales as existing in silos. So, one channel and one activity is earmarked for one particular stage of the buying process. Today, companies need to explore the idea that different-channel activities contributing to the sales pipeline happen in tandem.

No buyer is going to stop and think,“Oh, I’m in the consideration stage and I should only look at ads with comparison guides and case studies.” Then, why should you?

There is an interplay of channels and activities across the buying journey. Each combination of channels is responsible for moving an account forward in the pipeline. And the variation in these interplays for different market segments is what makes all the difference.

Tracking the interplay of channels across different market segments

A major part of B2B marketing is creating and targeting different market segments. Creating audience segments with similar traits, needs, behaviours, and in the same geography improves engagement with potential customers.

Companies in the UK and the US are likely to have different needs and attributes. With those needs come different types of engagement. B2B sellers need to interpret these needs into information that buyers require at every stage of the journey. And where would this information be delivered? Or how would they be delivered?

As discussed earlier, the interplay of channels come into play here. And with variations for different market segments. For a buyer in the US, there might be an increased chance of conversion if you serve a targeted LinkedIn ad along with an outreach email when they are in the decision stage. But a buyer in the UK might be more interested in a product demo and outreach calls. Similarly, for each market segment, every buying journey stage will have a unique combination of channels that impacts the funnel velocity. The interplay of these channels will determine the closing ratio in your target market segment.

Another factor for variation in the interplay of channels is the multiple personas in the buying group. You can’t expect the CTO and the CMO of an account to consume the same content or find your brand on the same channel at any stage of the buying process. Each of them will have their own preferred channels for collecting information. So, you need to understand the interplay of channels across the buying group in your relevant market segments.

Measure channel interplay across the funnel for predictable growth

By tracking and measuring the interplay of channels across the buying journey for every segment, you can derive the insights to make your predictive analytics model stronger. There is a way to ensure that no good lead goes cold while you’re solely relying on one channel to give you the outcome for every stage. You can confidently work on driving the segment- and persona-specific engagements that’ll convert more leads into opportunities and closed-won deals.

amit swain
Amit Swain