The buying cycle changed during the pandemic. According to a Demand Gen Report survey from 2020, 68% of B2B buyers said their purchasing cycles took longer than the year before. Prospective clients still go through the same stages, but their journeys aren’t linear. Rather, they “loop” through the various stages over and over to validate their decisions.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that companies are looking for information (i.e., content). If that content is deemed helpful, then prospective clients are 2.8 times more likely to experience a high degree of purchase ease. They’re also three times more likely to sign a bigger deal and experience less regret.
Sounds simple enough. However, there’s a drawback. Every agency has a website and social presence. Companies can shop around and compare options without much regard for geography before coming to a consensus. If you don’t define your focus and establish your expertise, you’ll be just another face in the crowd.
Establishing Your Expertise in the Buying Cycle
Agencies, especially young ones, typically believe they must do everything and be everything for all their accounts. That’s simply not sustainable, and it doesn’t distinguish you in the marketplace. If you’re a jack of all trades, how are potential clients going to find you? What will they search for?
Over 75% of B2B buyers expect personalized attention, particularly around their goals and challenges. This gives you a chance to move away from general offerings. Establishing your agency’s expertise will help you focus the content you’re putting out, making the information more relevant to clients moving through the buying cycle.
The question is: How do you differentiate your agency from the competition and develop your customer base? Here are three steps to get started:
Define Your Niche
The term “niche” might sound limiting when it comes to business, but nothing could be further from the truth. Defining your niche allows you to be the go-to agency for help and advice. You become the obvious choice for a few specific service lines. Plus, there’s less competition within any niche — even one as seemingly broad as an industry.
Your niche must work for your business. It should be hard for another agency to catch up with your knowledge about a certain area. This area could be industry-centric, audience-centric, channel-centric, deliverable-centric, etc. If you find that the competition consistently overshadows you, then you might not have picked the right niche.
Flesh Out Your Point of View
With your niche squared away, turn your attention to your agency’s distinct point of view. How do you intend to serve your clients in a unique way? What will influence your work? What do your solutions look like? Your point of view offers an opportunity to market directly to companies. It also makes you seem more relatable, authentic, and distinctive from other agencies in your niche.
Our agency’s point of view, for example, is that companies should focus much of their marketing spend on growing business within their existing customer bases rather than chasing new clients. This point of view informs our approach to challenges and helps us better support clients’ goals.
Ensure your social channels reflect these elements
Once you’ve figured out your niche and point of view, you have to tell the world. This is where a lot of agencies fall flat. They fail to mention what they excel at on their websites, social channels, and other content created for client acquisition purposes.
Don’t make the same mistakes; share your expertise to enhance your exposure and reach. Write a book. Host a webinar. Launch a podcast. Talk about what you can do for potential clients and pitch your services.
The buying cycle looks nothing like it did a decade ago. Companies want reassurances that your agency can deliver on the promise to grow their businesses. The only surefire way to do this is to leverage your expertise in a specific area. Show them what makes you unique, and then use that distinction to make a name for yourself in the marketplace. You likely already know which avenue to go down. It’s just a matter of taking the first step.