Marketers: Your buyers aren’t switching vendors. Are you?

Marketers and salespeople spend a lot of time trying to get buyers to switch vendors and choose their own company’s solution. We create buyer personas, conduct account-based marketing (ABM), and do a plethora of other activities aimed at getting our prospects to purchase from us.

And then we get frustrated when they don’t. I believe that looking at our own buying habits might help us better reach our target buyers.

For example, last year I helped a client with a LinkedIn advertising campaign aimed at C-level executives. While we achieved a good click-through rate for a business-to-business (B2B) campaign, my client’s CEO wanted even higher click-through rates. I asked him if he’d ever clicked on a LinkedIn ad. Silence. Of course, he hadn’t.

The lesson? Maybe we shouldn’t ask buyers to do things we wouldn’t do ourselves.

Think about it: When was the last time you thought about switching vendors? And when was the last time you actually did it?

I recently analyzed my own business buying habits, and here’s what I realized:

  • I open less than 1% of cold emails. If you don’t have a compelling subject line, I won’t open your email. And I open snail mail only if it’s interesting enough.
  • I only shop when I have an immediate need. Here’s an example: I receive emails advertising document translation services all the time. I deleted them for years – until I had a client ask if I could help them with translation. Since I’d deleted all those emails, I ended up asking my network and then Google to help. I only looked at three websites before I contacted the company I ended up choosing.
  • I am easily frustrated by search. Now that almost every company puts money into paid search, I find myself scrolling down past all the sponsored results, blog posts, and “people also ask” suggestions before I get an actual list of what I was seeking.

So how do I find new vendors? When I’m ready to buy, I always seek referrals first. I, like most people, trust recommendations from friends and colleagues. Simply put, word-of-mouth referrals work.

Yet I don’t see my clients running marketing campaigns around asking current clients to refer them. Nor do I see many of my clients putting time into a true customer reference program. Yes, reference programs cost money and time. But they also work. Reference clients will take phone calls from prospects, speak at conferences, and participate in testimonial videos or case studies.

Even if you have a Message Map and great buyer personas, what are your B2B buying habits? It’s worth considering as you plan your next marketing tactics. Because if your tactics won’t get you to switch vendors, your buyers aren’t switching vendors either.

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