b2b marketing buyer CXOB2B Marketers, sales and product managers need to adapt their tactics and content assets to the changes in the CXO buyer’s journey in order to win the attention of CXOs and improve their chances of commercial success.

This is the powerful conclusion from John Neeson, co-founder and managing director of SiriusDecisions, speaking at SiriusDecisions 2013 summit.

The big question Sirius Decisions posed in a recent survey of CXOs was:

“If you were responsible for buying a major new system that will change the productivity and profitability of your business, what is the first thing you would do? Where would you go to get information and advice?”

The real-world answer was not that buyers would call vendor sales reps and ask for information. (Really? You don’t say!)

Instead, CXO buyers reported that they were more likely to assign the project to a subordinate; consult with their network of peers and colleagues; or conduct their own research on the Internet.

Not only that, but B2B salespeople agreed, reporting that when they finally get a chance to talk to CXO buyers, those buyers are already well informed.

Instead of general information, these buyers want a strong demonstration of the value of the offering, relying on the salesperson having in-depth knowledge of the buyer’s specific industry and business issues.

During this final phase of the buyer’s journey, vendor selection, CXOs look to connect with vendor executives and search for content to justify their decision. To validate a vendor selection, CXO buyers rely most heavily on customer references and their prior experience with the vendor.

Neeson emphasized that the types of content that buyers and sellers find most valuable changes throughout the buyer’s journey.

“There’s no doubt that you need a lot of content to succeed in B2B sales and marketing today – but it has to be the right content,” he said.

g2m Solutions has written literally dozens of blogs on the topic of content and the buyers journey and its so great to hear that there is some strong research from a specalist independent research firm that backs up our views.

Salespeople are being forced to engage later and later in the buyer’s journey. Their ability to wield influence early in the process is waning. They are rarely included in the education phase of the buying process.

Implications for B2B Marketers

This means salespeople must rely heavily on their colleagues in marketing to reach B2B buyers and exert influence on their buying journey. If marketing fails to step up to the plate, the selling organisation risks losing the ability to influence the buyer and leaves the door open for the competition to step in.

The early education orientated phases of the buyer’s journey aim to raise awareness of the problems and challenges your business solves for the buyer, dimensioning what their problem actually is and help define a clearly articulated need.

How should B2B Marketers approach this challenge?

By building carefully constructed content that answers the B2B Buyer’s questions at each stage of the buying journey. Of equal importance is the need for a comprehensive content distribution plan that aims to get your content into the hands of your buyer.

If you would like to read more about building content for the B2B buyer please download our whitepaper on the topic.