Gartner has found three steps universal in the business buying process. They usually occur in the following order, but not always.
- Interest is aroused by discussions with colleagues
- Research is done using independent experts
- Vendor information is gathered.
Advertising doesn't make much of a difference unless it's newsworthy and spurs discussion.
Gartner Blog Network: The First Three Steps in B2B Buying, 2019-Feb-26 by Hank Barnes
As a vendor, you can not control the buying process. Even if you generate the initial interest, the buying team will be doing lots of other activities, independent of you. But there are things you can do:
- Provide ways to facilitate sharing information among the buying team. And look at your content from the perspective of the ease of sharing (and really conveying the information) across the buying team.
- Help teams discover influencers that follow your space. And encourage them to seek them out (and yes, you should guide them to independent influencers that have a favorable view of your company and your products/services–when the customer situation fits.
- Finally, provide a mix of ways for prospects to discover you to kick off their process. Provide compelling insights that get them to think about things in new ways. Then encourage them to validate with an influencer or discuss internally.