Chances are you wouldn’t walk into a showroom and buy a car without doing some research first. Or pick out a TV, order a kitchen appliance, or purchase a shiny new laptop without reading reviews, asking friends for advice, and otherwise becoming an informed buyer.

Consumers are doing their homework.

Business buyers are doing their homework too.

Your prospects are researching you long before you know they’re there.

During a recent MarketingProfs Webinar, Tom Martin highlighted three statistics about B2B buyers:

  • 77 percent—the amount of research B2B buyers conduct before contacting you
  • 57 percent—how far B2B buyers get through the sales cycle before contacting you
  • 51 percent—how many B2B buyers form a short list before contacting you

Martin calls them “invisible buyers.” And this isn’t just a factor for national agencies, prominent law firms, office supply chains, and other big vendors. It’s about how every business gets found—and closes the sale.

Your digital footprint is more important than ever.

Every page of your Web site is a breadcrumb for your prospects. Every blog post, every guest post, every SlideShare presentation, every YouTube video, and everything else you say and others say about you is a touchpoint. It’s about being helpful, so prospects recognize that you can help them too.

It’s not just what they find when they get there. You have to be findable.

Martin talks about turning browsers into prospects via smart Web architecture and a well-designed content machine. This is the new sales pitch. The elevator speech you can’t give because you can’t watch them window shopping. It’s why I redesigned my Web site to funnel visitors more deliberately to the pages I want them to visit. It’s why every page has a clear call to action, a next step in the process.

Are you findable? And when your prospects get there, what do you want them to know and to do next?

Photo by Shahrokh Dabiri (Flickr).