Remember that moment in Star Wars when Obi Wan Kenobi gives Luke Skywalker the lightsaber? At that point in the movie, Obi Wan knows something that Luke doesn’t. Luke is about to go on a journey, a challenging one. And the lightsaber, accompanied as it is with Obi Wan’s words of wisdom, is exactly what Luke needs to succeed, at the exact time he needs it.
Before Star Wars was even a twinkle in George Lucas’s eye, the mythologist Joseph Campbell broke down the components of what he called the monomyth, essentially a template that all great myths follow. From Odysseus to Harry Potter, the same series of events occurs. Campbell would describe Luke’s encounter with Obi Wan as “meeting the mentor.”
The Hero’s Journey/The Buyer’s Journey
Like the hero’s journey, the buyer’s journey follows a template. For each buyer, the nodes along that journey are the same: awareness, consideration, evaluation, purchase, advocacy. We know that they occur, but today, with a B2B buying committee that is composed of more than 6 individuals from a variety of disciplines with a many different titles and interests, it’s more difficult than ever to know where they are on their journey and what is going to move them to the next stage.
Today’s marketplace demands that a B2B marketer be at every stage. But if we look closely at Campbell, it’s clear that the most important role to play in the buyer’s journey is the role of the mentor. We want to be there right when our hero —the B2B buying committee— needs us. We want to be Obi Wan Kenobi, ready with the sage advice and tools that they need as they embark on their journey.
The Force/Intent Data
This requires careful listening. In Star Wars, Obi Wan knows what’s about to happen because of what a Jedi Knight calls The Force. For a B2B marketer, it’s intent data. According to Obi Wan, The Force is “what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.” Intent data is what gives the B2B marketer power, enabling them to know when a prospect account is researching products and solutions like theirs, so they can provide them with the content and messaging they need exactly when they need it.
A mentor’s role doesn’t end with his initial advice, and neither should a B2B marketers’. In Star Wars, Obi Wan stays with Luke throughout the movie. Even after he’s struck down in his duel with Darth Vader, Obi Wan continues to advise Luke at all stages of his journey, mystically prompting him to trust The Force to complete his mission.
Luckily for us, the B2B marketer doesn’t have to resort to mysticism. We have access to data at every stage of the buyer’s journey. However, we must know how to access it, and what to do with it once we have it. Data, for example, informs a smart account-based marketing program. By paying close attention to how an account is behaving (Are they seeing your ads? Are they visiting your website? Are they engaging with your content?) you can evaluate where they are in the journey and optimize your efforts accordingly.
The Power of Integrations
Again, the journey doesn’t stop here. They may have downloaded a whitepaper, but they’re probably still not ready to buy. They may have reached out to a salesperson, but that doesn’t mean that you’re done nurturing. But now you have even more data. They’re in your marketing automation, solidly chugging along in your nurture tracks; their behavior is explicit.
It’s at this point where the B2B marketer needs solid integrations in their marketing stack. Your account-based marketing platform should talk to your marketing automation instance and your CRM. Information about account behavior should bubble up to the sales team so they can have more meaningful interactions. Behavior information should trickle back down, so that your account-based marketing can continue to nurture the prospect account with display advertising and content that is hyper-relevant to its stage in the journey.
In Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, the hero is the one who descends into the underworld, defeats the evil found there, and returns with the prize. It can’t be done without the mentor. In Star Wars, Obi Wan isn’t around to reap the benefits of the prize that Luke wins, but Luke couldn’t have done it without him.
By contrast, the B2B marketer is lucky. When we move the leads through the funnel more quickly, when we can provide sales with the insights that enable them to efficiently close more business, we’ve won for both our new customer, and ourselves.
For more information about how you can anticipate the buyer’s journey of your customers, request a demo of ActivateABM today.