Influencing buyer behaviour: 5 best tactics for contract manufacturers

All articles | Sales
Published Mar 20, 2024 | Written by Megan Clack

The sales cycle for contract manufacturers used to be much simpler. In the past, finding potential customers, pursuing leads and fostering business opportunities sat solely within the sales department, with little thought given to how the company was influencing buyer behaviour, if at all.

Thanks to the internet and the availability of information right at our fingertips, today’s consumer tends to avoid direct sales contact in favour of pursuing their own buying process online. This reality of changing consumer behaviour spells trouble for contract manufacturing companies still reliant on traditional sales channels and processes.

According to Gartner, 75% of B2B buyers prefer a rep-free sales experience. This highlights the need for a change in strategy and approach when it comes to acquiring customers. So, what tactics can your sales and marketing teams leverage to influence consumer behaviour before your prospects even speak to you? Let’s find out.

Navigating the complex buyer’s journey

As much as 69% of buyers have said that gathering information online is superior to interacting with a sales representative when looking for solutions – and there is a myriad of resources and digital tools at the ready buyers tap into to aid their purchasing decisions. Yet the buyer’s journey grows ever more complex, as does consumer buying behaviour. 

b2b-buyers-journeyThe modern-day buyer’s journey and the complexity of influencing buying behaviour

Even with easy access to the answers they’re looking for, the buyer’s journey is still riddled with twists and turns that marketing and sales teams alike need to be aware of when influencing buyer behaviour and encouraging buyers to commit to purchasing. Luckily, every bend along the buyer’s journey presents an opportunity to engage with your prospective buyer in a meaningful, non-intrusive way, with enticing messaging and content that answers their questions.

Influencing buyer behaviour with a customer-centric approach

In the age of inbound and content marketing, influencing buyer behaviour through a customer-centric approach is a necessary precursor for growth. This involves engaging with potential clients well before they actively seek solutions to their business challenges, and in some cases, before they even know such challenges exist.  

Influencing buyer behaviour in this way requires a shift from simply identifying and responding to demand in the market to actively generating demand. By preemptively engaging with potential customers, your brand can establish a dialogue with them, effectively speaking to their needs, aspirations, and pain points.

The differences between service-orientation vs market-orientation when influencing buying behaviour

It’s all about attracting the right-fit prospects into your brand's orbit and engaging them meaningfully - through entertainment, education, and nurturing - long before the traditional sales process begins. 

From this position of influence, you can convert these engaged audiences into MQLs and, eventually, SQLs, by consistently providing a valuable customer experience and building strong, trust-based relationships. In this way, marketing becomes not just a funnel to sales but an integral part of building lasting customer relationships that, in turn, influence buyer behaviour.

Five useful tactics for influencing buyer behaviour

So, how can you attract your ideal customers and start influencing their buying behaviour? Try these 5 tactics:

1. Attract your ideal audience with social media

Creating a strong social media presence allows you to connect with potential buyers and build a community around your brand. Instead of sitting back and waiting for folks to come to you with their needs, social media puts your brand out there and provides a platform for sparking conversations and building a crowd that's all ears when you speak. Not to mention the added benefit of getting data insights into the psychological, cultural and social factors driving consumer buying decisions.

  • Create interesting content that you publish regularly 
  • Weigh in on industry topics and conversations 
  • Join relevant groups

2. Improve your online visibility with blogs

Gartner has already predicted that 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels by 2025, so it’s worth having a well-established digital presence. Blogging is a great way to increase online visibility, foster discovery, and establish yourself as an authority in the manufacturing industry. 

Share your expertise and provide valuable insights to your audience through a well-turned blog optimised for top-of-funnel search terms. If your blog does a good enough job, buyers will clock your brand as helpful to their purchasing decision process and remember you in future.

3. Become a thought leader

Speaking of establishing yourself as an industry authority, becoming a thought leader is a sure way to win the trust of prospects and influence their buyer behaviour down the line. Position yourself as a thought leader by sharing expert knowledge that sets you apart. This can be through:

  • White papers, case studies and eBooks
  • Speaking at industry events
  • Writing articles
  • Contributing to industry publications.

4. Leverage video

In the world of digital content, video is king. In fact, after Google, YouTube is the second-most visited website in the world – a goldmine of opportunity if you know how to leverage video as part of your overall marketing strategy.

Video is a powerful tool for creating brand awareness, engaging with your audience and showcasing your products. You can create demos on a particular product, customer service tips and tutorials, or even behind-the-scenes content to build trust with potential buyers while entertainingly influencing consumer behaviour.

5. Build your brand

In a world bombarded with choices, a distinctive brand identity cuts through the noise, guiding prospective customers and turning casual buyers into lifelong fans. Just think of Apple’s avid user base – iPhone now has a 28.8% market share in the global smartphone industry.

Building a brand is like crafting a story that resonates deeply with your audience, creating an emotional connection that’s key to influencing buyer behaviour. When people feel connected to your brand, they're more likely to trust you, choose you over competitors, and even advocate for you to others. 

But it's about more than a catchy logo or a slick tagline. A strong brand stands as a beacon in a crowded marketplace, not just influencing buyer behaviour but shaping it, creating a community of customers who believe in what you stand for, thus fostering brand loyalty.

Summary

Although buyers’ preferences are constantly changing and shaped by their digital experiences, not all hope is lost. Taking a customer-centric stance, you can start proactively generating demand for your contract manufacturing business that catapults growth, instead of reactively responding to demand as and when it arises. 

By building a solid brand, becoming an authoritative industry leader, and leveraging tools like blogging, social media and video, you can influence the buyer behaviours of potential customers better than before, bringing your contract manufacturing sales cycle and marketing strategy in step with the modern-day customer’s expectations.

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Published by Megan Clack March 20, 2024
Megan Clack