B2B Buyer Journeys: When One Size Doesn't Fit All

July 3, 2024 Zoe De Preter

Navigating the “Oh-So Complex” B2B Buyer Journeys

The path to purchase in the B2B world is rarely straightforward. With numerous stakeholders and varying factors, no two buyer journeys are alike. Despite this, many revenue teams assume their audience’s journey is predictable and repeatable, leading to untargeted or irrelevant campaigns. Understanding the complexities of B2B buyer journeys is crucial for successfully navigating the B2B marketing and sales landscape.

Personas and the Overall Buying Group

First, we need to identify who will be involved in the purchase. Since no two buyer journeys are ever the same, the personas taking part in the decision-making process will engage at different times and levels.

  • The Key Buying Group: These individuals play a role in driving the initiative throughout the journey. They are directly involved in evaluating and selecting a product or service. For example, an HR manager might lead the evaluation of a new HR solution.
  • The Ultimate Approvers: These decision-makers provide final approval on a purchase. They ensure the purchase aligns with business goals and budget. A CFO, for instance, may need to sign off on a significant investment.
  • The Influencers: These can be end-users or experts who shape the decision by providing valuable input. An IT specialist might influence the choice of a new tech solution based on technical requirements.

Various factors strongly influence the buyer journey:

  • Trigger Event: The catalyst for the journey, such as a new project or regulatory change. For example, new compliance requirements might trigger the need for updated software.
  • Company Size: Influences the number of stakeholders, length and complexity of the decision-making process. Smaller companies may decide quickly, while larger firms involve multiple departments.
  • Deal Size: Larger deals involve more rigorous evaluation and extended timelines. Smaller deals are quicker and less formal.
  • Risk Level: High-risk purchases involve detailed assessments and more stakeholders. Implementing a new enterprise system, for example, requires thorough evaluation.
  • Industry: Unique buying processes and requirements vary by industry. A healthcare provider’s procurement process differs from that of a tech firm.
  • Market Type: Niche markets often have more complex buying processes due to less familiarity with the solutions available.

Buyer Journey Examples

Let’s look at some specific cases to illustrate the diversity of B2B buyer journeys.

Example 1 – Generic: