Lets's face it - the entire purpose of B2B e-commerce is to get "his money into our bank account"!
Sure, we want to understand what the customer is doing and we want to provide the information he needs to do his job. But if we're just being philanthropic, then we should contribute to Wikipedia.
What we're trying to do is to accompany the customer around his Awareness Cycle to the point where's he's Convinced that we're the best deal in town and then to do the business with him. In return, we expect his money to transfer to our bank account.
Each transition in the Awareness Cycle is a conversion and each needs a carefully considered Conversion Point, with which to manage and monitor the transition.
Someone is out there, Unaware of your existance. If your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) efforts result in their finding your page then - Bingo! - you've just transitioned someone from Unaware to Aware and your SEO is your first conversion point.
If your landing page is well-crafted - and reflects the search term used - then it should immediately inform the prospects that - yes! - you do have the answer to her needs. A few carefully worded and well-placed links to related content, technical data sheets etc. allows the user to become Informed and then - perhaps by using an appropriate configuration or pricing tool - to be Convinced. Each click on a link or a button can be considered a conversion point. If the sequence is well-thought out and implemented then you have a Conversion Path that leads the user from "out there" to exactly where you want her - clicking the Buy! button.
[Yes, I know: "You can't sell our widgets the way amazon sells books!", so you don't think that you actually want anyone to click the Buy! button - but you get the idea! Also, we come back to this objection later.]
I've aleady said elsewhere that the Awareness Cycle on it's own is not suficient to model all the interactions that are taking place (or that need to take place). The Awareness Cycle needs to embedded in the Customer Activity Cycle and is repeated many times as the (potential) customer works her way around the Activity Cycle.
Without delving into the specific detail of the Activity Cycle for every customer type and every individual (large) customer, it's safe to say that the type and detail of information that the customer needs, will vary as she negotiates her way around her Activity Cycle.
We need to ensure that our conversion paths reflect this fact, as well as the fact that the Awareness Cycle will need to be repeated at each level of detail. In effect, we're experiencing a top-down approach by the customer - and we only get to the next level if the previous level scored a "Convinced". I've already used the example of someone being convinced on functionality and pricing, but scoring a "No Longer Convinced" against the bad delivery experience.
The fact that the Awareness Cycle applies to everything can be superimposed on the Customer Activity Cycle - or on any detailed aspect of the cycle.
With this view, we can capture the top-down progression of the (potential) customer, as they deepen their understanding of our company and of our product and services: