Influencer marketing is not new. Brands have been using celebrities to influence buyers for decades—even B2B brands, such as Accenture, which partnered with golf superstar Tiger Woods, for example.
So why talk about influencer marketing now? It has become a hot topic because of the increased significance of social media in the business world. It has created a whole new set of influencers and also brought offline influencers to the online world—where the buyers are.
Yet, there's a set of influencers we tend to forget. They have offline influence on buyers but are not active on social media.
Should you use online methods to find them? Maybe. Should you use offline influencers to influence online buyers and decision makers? Maybe. Undoubtedly, though, you can strengthen your B2B influencer marketing performance by including both offline and online influencers.
In the B2B world, where deals are bigger and they can take months or even years to close, numerous people get involved in different phases of the purchase process.
Imagine a 55-year-old man who introduced himself to your sales team as a sourcing adviser from the customer side. Unfortunately, he is not active on social media, making your job difficult. And being a marketer means you are not part of the sales meetings. So how will you identify that adviser with the potential to influence the deal?
The starting point to identifying B2B influencers who are inactive on social media is mapping. Map the people (customer-side or third-party) who are often involved in the sales cycle. See the following image for a typical sales cycle with various stages and examples of people who get involved at each phase: