In the marketing world lately, we’ve heard plenty of talk about how the B2B buyer’s journey is evolving. As people learn to better navigate digital spaces and the line between B2C and B2B buyer preferences rapidly grows thinner, yesterday’s strategies are no longer enough to meet today’s sales goals.

But what does that mean for video? How can you use video to not only give prospects what they’re looking for, but also improve the customer experience and captivate your customers when it matters most?

What Is the B2B Buyer’s Journey?

When we talk about the B2B buyer’s journey, we’re describing the process a person (or a team of people) follows to discover, assess, and ultimately purchase a product or service on behalf of a business. If you sell a product or service to businesses, your customers are already following a buyer’s journey, whether you’ve defined it or not.

If you’ve already outlined the optimal buyer’s journey for prospective customers, you’re a step ahead. You may have even gone so far as to leverage marketing tactics to improve that journey. If you haven’t yet defined the buyer’s journey for your product or service, there’s never been a better time than today.

Why? It’s estimated that 67% of the buyer’s journey now happens digitally, and at the current trajectory, that number is poised to rise going into 2022 and beyond. If less than half of your current marketing strategies are happening online, your buyer’s journey is underserving prospective customers and you’re probably losing some of them along the way. Fortunately, video provides one of the most accessible entry points into digitizing the sales experience while keeping customers coming back for more.

The 5 Stages of the B2B Buyer’s Journey

The B2B buying process is relatively straightforward and can be broken down into five fundamental stages that may overlap at times. The good news is that strategic video content can keep buyers moving down the pipeline at each stage.

1. Recognizing a Problem or Need

The B2B buyer’s journey starts when someone recognizes their business is encountering a problem or has an unfulfilled need. Often, that problem or need may exist for an extended period of time before someone realizes it’s worth doing something about it. Even then, the people who initially recognize the problem or need may have to help others understand the scope or importance of the issue before they can do anything about it.

It’s also worth noting that the recognition stage of the buyer’s journey isn’t always internally driven. A business may realize that one of their competitors or another company is doing something differently and recognize that they need to follow suit if they aim to stay competitive.

How Video Can Help

Case study videos can kickstart the buyer’s journey by helping businesses quickly recognize an unfulfilled need or common problem that your business commonly solves. These videos can also help prospective customers sway others on their team by giving them insight into the root problems at hand. They open people’s eyes to the possibility of a better way and show what other businesses are doing about common problems. Case study videos are also easily shareable and provide an ideal format for highlighting common problems or needs early on in the buyer’s journey.

2. Evaluating Potential Solutions

After recognizing a problem or need, B2B buyers need to determine what they can do about it. At this stage, buyers know what they’re trying to solve, but they still may need to convince other stakeholders why it’s worth solving. Next, they have to figure out what the options are for solving it.

The evaluation stage is often a crossroads for businesses. After identifying the problem or need, potential buyers test the waters to get an idea of how easily they can solve it. If the options are cost prohibitive or not worth the time, they may choose to do nothing about it, maintain the status quo, or deal with it later.

Ideally, businesses evaluate potential solutions and discover options that introduce the possibility of a return on investment or improved efficiency. When that happens, they move into the next phase of the buyer’s journey. When it doesn’t, you lose a potential customer.

How Video Can Help

At this stage, the most critical things on a buyer’s mind are options and cost. Buyers first want to know what avenues are worth exploring, and they want to know how much it’s going to cost. Buyers just want to know if the initiative is worth pursuing any further, and you can tailor video messaging to those priorities for buyers at this stage.

If you want to target customers at the evaluation stage, your video can provide a quick overview of the available options on the market and how your product or service stacks up to alternatives. In this way, you’re helping prospective buyers research while simultaneously showing them how your approach compares to other options.

3. Defining the Ideal Solution

Once buyers have gathered enough information to decide that a solution is worth pursuing, they also have the insight to start developing a vision for what they believe that solution should look like. Informed by research, they can begin developing a roadmap or checklist of what they require to effectively solve the problem or address a need.

Some key considerations include:

  • Cost and budget
  • Product/service requirements
  • Unique company needs

How Video Can Help

During this stage, buyers are beginning to envision what the next steps will look like. Animated video provides a compelling way to step into the shoes of the buyer by sharing a hypothetical perspective of what to expect next if they partner with your business. A visionary video detailing next steps doesn’t just help prospective buyers clarify their own expectations—it also helps them understand if your approach aligns with what they’re looking for.

4. Vetting Prospective Partners

Depending on the scope of the investment and the company’s administrative processes, the vetting process looks different for just about every purchase. For long-term business partnerships, companies may spend months to a year or more talking with potential partners. For inexpensive office supplies, the vetting process may be conducted in less than an hour. That’s why it’s critical to define the average vetting period for your customer base. The longer the vetting process, the more information and content you need to provide customers to move them forward while keeping your brand top of mind.

How Video Can Help

During the vetting process, buyers ultimately compare how your business stands up to the competition and alternative options. That’s why one of the best video strategies at this stage is creating a differentiator video that clarifies what sets you apart from your competitors. This information helps buyers understand why they would choose you over other partners on their list.

5. Making a Buying Decision

During the vetting process, buyers ultimately compare how your business stands up to the competition and alternative options. That’s why one of the best video strategies at this stage is creating a differentiator video that clarifies what sets you apart from your competitors. This information helps buyers understand why they would choose you over other partners on their list.

How Video Can Help

The first 30 days of any business partnership are arguably the most important. Onboarding videos can help you get the most out of those 30 days while making it easy to set the foundation for the rest of the business relationship or product lifecycle. The onboarding process goes noticeably smoother when partners know what to expect, when to expect it, and how the broader process works. Videos provide an easily digestible way to convey this information. At the same time, onboarding videos help streamline the process because partners can work through the videos at their own pace.

Need some help integrating video into your marketing strategies? Abstrakt Studios has the expertise of a dedicated video team paired with the capabilities of the nation’s fastest-growing marketing company.

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Understanding B2B Research Preferences

It’s important to remember that for B2B buyer’s the buying journey is never as defined or clean cut as the steps outlined above. Buyers rarely think of themselves as going from one step to the next. Instead, the buying process is better understood as an organic series of tasks buyers follow to solve business problems and inefficiencies.

It’s helpful to not think of the journey exclusively as a process but as all the tasks a prospect needs to do in order to become a customer. Those tasks are going to look different for every customer, but when you create content—especially video content—that provides the information buyers are looking for when they need it, you make it easier for them to complete those tasks. When you make customers’ lives a little easier before they’re even customers, they’ll naturally want to partner with your business when they’re ready to make a buying decision.

Video provides a quick, accessible format to guide customers at every step of the buyer’s journey and even has the potential to make the process more enjoyable. After all, 69% of people would rather watch videos than read text when learning about a new product or service. If you aren’t using video to showcase your product or service, you’re doing your business a disservice.

Let’s Create Your Next Business Video!

We hope this post gives you a better understanding of where your customers are coming from and how you can integrate video strategies into your broader marketing toolbox to bring in more business. It may have even inspired your next brilliant video idea. When you’re ready to get that next video started, reach out to the team at Abstrakt Studios with your goals, and we’ll help you get your project underway!