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You’ve got a great SAP business and you’re proud of what you deliver. Now you need to communicate your awesomeness to the world, and how you can help them achieve their goals and solve their problems – this is where marketing comes in!

If you are an SAP partner who is looking to learn more about marketing or review the fundamentals, then this post is for you!

When it comes to making important purchases, most people don’t just make the decision to buy – rather their thought process goes through a progression, which we refer to as the buyer’s journey. In Marketing, understanding the buyer’s journey is important because how we approach buyers is very different in in each stage.

Explore – Realizing a need

Think about your mindset when you start a completely unfamiliar task, or start to learn a new skill – in this initial stage, you might exclusively focus on learning the process exactly as described. It is only after you develop some familiarity and gain proficiency will you start to become aware of opportunities for improvement or problems in the methodology.

This is the thought process of individuals in the Explore stage – most of them are primarily focused on just getting the job done. The “evolution” happens once they start to think about opportunities for growth or needs for improvement.

How explorers use the Web

The Web is a great place for explorers to learn about their job and the industry they work for. They can browse social media sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook to read posts and interact with fellow professionals. But they might also visit other websites where they could get information related to their industry, such as industry association websites, and sites of service providers.

Explorers early in the stage might simply be browsing for fun – to see what’s out there. Those who are more along the journey might start to look for specific topics, but in general, explorers are primarily learning, absorbing, and formulating thoughts and ideas.

How you can help – Establish your brand as one that can be trusted 

Your goals for individuals in the Explore stage are:

  • to raise awareness of your brand

  • to demonstrate your confidence and thought leadership

  • to earn trust.

You want to let your audience know that you understand their reality, empathize with them, and want to see them succeed. You want to let them know that you are a leader in your field who is able and ready to share her or his knowledge. You want to plant seeds in the minds of your audience, that perhaps there is a better way to do things, and that your offering is the one that will lead them toward success.

Examples of content you can share include news and posts about:

  • Latest industry/ line-of-business trends

  • Tips and tricks to help them with their work, that they can use right away.

  • Case studies or success stories about people in a similar role and industry as them

Share your content on your own website, but also understand where explorers get their information from, and try to post there as well.

Evaluate – Assessing the options

In the Evaluate stage, an individual has identified that they might have a need to be met. She or he will start to investigate the need more – both to get a better understanding of its specifics, but also to understand how to respond.

Of course, there can be more than one approach to taking action –the answer might be to adopt better technology for example, but it might also be to provide additional training, or hiring additional staff. In this stage, any option is on the table, and individuals here will start to investigate the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Eventually, they will decide on a specific approach to take, and short-list providers that can execute accordingly.

How evaluators use the Web

When conducting research on their problem, evaluators will use more directed Web searches to find answers ad guidance to their questions. The searches might be on how to complete a specific task, or they might look for success stories and case studies on how other individuals in similar situations solved their problems.

How you can help – Show how your solution approaches the need

Your goals for individuals in the Evaluate stage are to ensure they understand how your offering can help them address their needs. Create content that has a problem-solving approach (as opposed to a product-feature approach).

As an example, you can provide high-level, but use-case-based product videos. You might also share success stories from similar customers they can identify with. Think about social or digital content, or pre-recorded demos or webinars that are customer centric – that is, instead of product features per se, describe how your offering solves problems or improves workflow.

Your goal is to convince the buyer that you are a noteworthy choice, that you are experienced, credible, reliable, and trustworthy, and that your solution can help with her or his need.

Again post to your website but also consider other locations on the Web where evaluators look. Make sure your content includes keywords evaluators use when conducting their search, so that your posts appear in search engine results when these terms are entered.

Buy – Choosing the path forward

At this point, someone in the Buy stage has short listed vendors and has a good idea of how each vendor’s offering can help. She or he is now focused on pricing, features, support, and other activities that will help with making the final decision.

A buyer at this stage will likely be focused on detailed information about the product’s features, pricing plans, and support commitments. They might be willing to invest some time working with a demo or trial version of the solution. This is also the stage where any special offers you might have will have the greatest impact, helping them choose you over other short-listed competitors.

How buyers use the web

Buyers most likely spend all their time on the Websites of the vendors they have short listed, however they might also look for reviews and opinions (if such posts exist).

How you can help – demonstrate how your solution is the best choice

Now is the time to focus on product-specific details so your buyer knows exactly what will she or he will receive. You also want to demonstrate how you are better than the competition.

Provide content such as price lists, ROI calculators, competitor comparisons, and customer success stories. You might also consider free trials and personalized demos.

Keep in mind

When making a purchasing decision, buyers always begin their journey thinking about meeting a business need. Only after they have decided on a specific strategy, do they look at vendors who can best help them execute.

Therefore, you want to ensure you are communicating effectively, appropriately, targeted and efficiently, and creating content that responds to these different needs.

If you are mindful of your buyers’ needs and maintain a customer- and value-centric approach when communicating with them, you will remain top-of-mind, earn goodwill, demonstrate your thought leadership, and increase the chances of being considered for the deal.