Guest post from our U.S. partner Text100 and its Hypertext blog. Insights for this post were taken from the Text100 Influence Index: Paving the Path to Advocacy. Authored by Rowan Benecke.
A major goal for B2B companies is reaching decision-makers to keep their product top-of-mind and ultimately result in sales. However, given the proliferation of content and general noise in the B2B industry, it’s hard to keep track of who is actually influencing buying decisions. Based on surveying more than 1,900 decision-makers, our Influence Index revealed the major influencers impacting business decision-makers and what they purchase.
In order to make the right choices regarding who to target to ensure your brand is part of the product buying conversation, decision makers (unsurprisingly) turn to sources they trust, who are highly influential in the decision-making process. Typically, these influencers fall into three main buckets:
- Independent third parties. Of those surveyed, decision makers said that third party trusted advisors are the top most important information source at all stages of the decision-making journey from the initial awareness/information gathering stage, through the buying decision.
- Peers/colleagues. Peers/colleagues were also listed as important influencers, as decision makers will turn to people they already have a relationship with who have knowledge in the space they’re planning their purchase in. For example, 36 per cent of those surveyed ranked colleagues and peers as one of the top five most commonly used information sources during the information gathering/awareness phase.
- Happy customers. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t leverage a relationship with a customer who has become a proponent of your product or service. Customers who become advocates are not only more likely to purchase from you again, but organically become external influencers for other decision-makers.
So the question is: once you’ve identified these top influencers, how do you make an impact? You need to ensure these influencers have the right information on your product when decision-makers are doing research/asking questions and then making their decisions. The key to being part of the conversation is a steady stream of relevant content.
“Companies need to ensure that third-party influencers have the right information to share with decision-makers.” – Influence Index
People are turning to social channels when making their purchasing decisions, meaning it’s a crucial way to reach influencers. An online presence will enable this group of trusted advisors to endorse your product and provide valuable information to decision makers. This can include anything from forums to social networks, such as LinkedIn and Twitter – you need to evaluate where your specific audience is relying on the most and populate with content that will help decision makers and their influencers feel confident in what you are selling.
Identifying these influencers and the means to reach them is a critical step in increasing the credibility of your company with these decision makers. We’ll be sharing additional blog posts on creating the right content in the coming weeks.
How do you identify who your top influencers are in your organization?