“Why do you want my email and phone number again? So your sales consultant can contact me? No thanks, I’ll pass.”

Most B2B marketers are still fixated on capturing registration data, and no wonder. The marketing automation machine lives on a diet of email and your sales process is built on the telephone.

The problem is, your buyer’s process is not built on your email or your phone. According to research, buyers only engage with companies directly during the last 40% of their research process.

When you insist on registration, you are in effect telling prospects:

  • We don’t want to be involved in the first half of your research.
  • We are only willing to engage with you on our terms and timetable.

That is not the message you want to give a new prospect.

Today, 70% of research starts with search and 65% of buyers turn to social media during the purchase process (statistic on slide 10).

For B2B marketers, this environment requires a renewed focus on three elements and one major change.

  • Being discovered (search and PR)
  • Being recommended (social media)
  • Being worth discovering and sharing (content)
  • Making marketing contacts channel agnostic

The first three elements represent inbound marketing with the addition of PR. Traditional media properties continue to be major traffic drivers and that traffic can kickstart social sharing and linking.

Meeting the needs of an audience that is hesitant to register and engage directly will require B2B marketers to redefine a marketing contact and restructuring their marketing automation around a new channel-agnostic contact.

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and various niche platforms will be potential ways to nurture prospects, in the environment each prospect chooses. Marketing automation platforms will respond with extended support for social media contact channels.

Your Turn

Will B2B marketers embrace buyers that spend 60% of their time before engaging with the company or will they continue to focus on the traditional registration process and capturing contact information? Share your view below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).