Understanding the Modern B2B Landscape
Today’s B2B landscape is increasingly digital. Buyers are better prepared before they make contact with salespeople; there are more people involved during the decision process; and stakeholders have higher demands. As the buyers’ behaviour is changing and they now initiate the process, they hold much more power.
As a B2B company you need to ensure the strategies you employ take into consideration key aspects of the modern B2B purchasing landscape:
The internet empowered B2B buyers to do extensive research before even making any contact with any of your sales representatives. An array of channels online can be leveraged to gain insight into your product, including websites, social media, online videos, and peer reviews and recommendations.
The B2B buyer is already halfway through the purchasing process before they talk to someone on your team, and has performed on average 12 online searches before they even visit your website.
Digitally-Native, Younger Buyers
Half of B2B decision-makers are under age 35. Younger stakeholders are much more averse to pushy sales pitches, like paid ads, cold calls, and any other way that swarms them with information. These digital natives want to be in control of the process and start looking for what they want, when they want online. They will be staying away from salespeople until they have already made some progress with their research.
Further, they will read reviews and recommendations of others and check a company’s online presence. The website acts as the first contact in most cases, so it must provide a comprehensive view of the brand along with the information buyers seek.
Long, Multi-Step Sales Journey
As is the norm in the B2B business, the sales journey usually goes through a long decision-making process and multiple steps with demos and questioning periods, before making a purchase. This process is the exact opposite of the instant, B2C purchasing process.
Along the multiple-step journey there are several different stakeholders you need to convince before making a sale. The trend is that the number of decision-makers keeps increasing as solutions become more complex and corporations get bigger. The average number of stakeholders involved in a B2B purchasing decision is between 6 and 10, each coming from different departments and having different priorities.
Going through an arduous process of selecting a solution, B2B companies usually seek a deal that lasts for at least a few years. That directly contrasts with B2C buying, where one consumer quickly makes a short-term, low-stake decision.