Deconstructing the Four Stages of the Industrial Buy Cycle

B2B marketers agree that lead generation and nurturing campaigns must deliver relevant content to their target audience to be successful. Typically, that means understanding the prospect’s pain and then offering a solution for relief.

Sounds simple, right? But not easy to execute because there usually is a disconnect between what your prospect wants to hear and what you want to say about your company and its products and services.

The problem becomes more acute for the industrial sector because the industrial buy cycle can be a long and complex process that often involves multiple decision makers. Without a clear understanding of the stages, it is difficult to align your marketing content with your customer’s decision-making process.

Industrial Buy Cycle White PaperI downloaded a white paper called “Understanding the Industrial Buy Cycle: How to Align Your Marketing with Your Customers’ Buying Process” from GlobalSpec that has done a very good job of explaining the four stages of the industrial buy cycle and how to match your marketing content to each stage.

The white paper has deconstructed the complex industrial buy cycle into four distinct stages that the buyer systematically goes through. The stages are:

  1. Needs Awareness
  2. Research
  3. Consideration & Comparison
  4. Procurement

The white paper then goes on to explain how industrial marketers must match their marketing content to the buyer’s stage in the buy cycle. The recommendations are based on the results of a survey of engineering, technical, manufacturing and industrial professionals who have influence on their company’s processes for buying products and services. In short, this is good, practical and actionable stuff and not some marketing theory.

Here are some stats, results and recommendations that I found very useful:

  • In the Needs Awareness and Research stages, buyers use a broad array of sources, including social media, Webinars, e-newsletters, search engines and [vertical search engines like] GlobalSpec. By the time buyers reach the Procurement stage, supplier Web sites and catalogs are the most important information sources.
  • 83% of buyers review only three or fewer pieces of content before making a decision on purchases under $1,000, while 70% of buyers review four or more pieces of content on purchases greater than $10,000.
  • During the initial Research phase, 42% of buyers evaluate four or more suppliers, but as buyers move closer to Procurement, only 26% get quotes from four or more suppliers. Those that drop off the list are often those who did not provide the right level of information to buyers or did not meet some other perceived or real need in the buyer.
  • Allocating online marketing in a broader and deeper fashion across multiple programs not only helps you connect with more potential buyers throughout the buy cycle, it helps prevent a key mistake that some marketers make: relying only on the ‘last click’ to determine which marketing programs are effective in bringing buyers to your company.

This 28-page white paper is chock full of useful information for aligning your marketing content with the industrial buy cycle. There are plenty of charts and graphs too. You can download it from here (does require registration).

Have you read it, If so what did you think?

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  1. […] of experience and expertise at the Procurement stage (RFQ/RFP). That’s the final stage of the industrial buy cycle. It is too late by then because the customer now only cares about your price and lead time or you […]

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