How B2B Customers Make Purchase Decisions
by Strategic Piece, on 9 Nov 2021
More and more companies are doing most of their product research and evaluation online and, in some cases, even when it comes to the purchase. Buyers in the B2B world want the same convenience of purchasing products or services as we do in the B2C world.
What does that mean for your business? In this video, we talk about how B2B's are adapting to the digital world and what factors are necessary in order to survive and thrive.
Watch the video or read the transcript below. Please subscribe to the Strategic Piece YouTube channel to be notified of new releases and leave us a comment if you like the video!
Melanie: We work exclusively in the B2B world - in other words, with businesses who sell to other businesses.
So the questions we’re trying to answer every day revolve around how B2B buyers make their purchasing decisions and how that’s evolving.
Matt: We can all see how things have changed on the consumer, or B2C, side.
Department stores are almost extinct and locations specializing in one product or service are the domain of luxury brands, not everyday commodities.
Instead, we search, research, evaluate, and purchase whatever we need online, using tools like Google Shopping, Amazon Marketplace, and Wayfair.
Melanie: Not only is it a super-convenient experience that we can enjoy from the comfort of our couch, bed, or bathtub, but we get access to literally millions of products without having to visit multiple locations.
For both products and services, we can find thousands of reviews and see how people like us have rated the solution they chose.
Not surprisingly, people tasked with purchasing things on behalf of their company are hankering to bring that same level of convenience to the B2B world.
Matt: Recent research found that B2B buyers are performing up to 80% of their product research and evaluation online without ever speaking to a salesperson..
A recent McKinsey study that surveyed corporate purchasing specialists found that almost half of them would feel comfortable making a million-dollar purchase using an end-to-end digital process.
So this isn’t just about office supplies or cleaning services. Large purchases and contracts are shifting into the digital domain.
Melanie: This new approach puts the buyer firmly in control.
Where salespeople used to hold all the cards, granting buyers access to product information and pricing while talking them into a deal, now buyers can conduct their research in stealth mode, only revealing themselves to vendors when they are ready.
This means your business must shift its focus from closing deals with active buyers to providing helpful, relevant information to prospects and customers wherever they happen to be in their buyer’s journey - an approach called inbound marketing.
Matt: More than the purchase itself, it’s the entire customer experience that matters.
From receiving helpful information while you’re exploring your options all the way to personalized customer support and loyalty recognition, we know a good customer experience when we encounter one.
So when are we going to see the same thing happening in B2B?
The good news is, we already are. The bad news is that if your company hasn’t already adopted a digital-first approach, you’re at risk of getting left behind.
Melanie: Exponential developments in cloud computing, AI and machine learning, marketing technology, and e-commerce platforms are converging to rapidly accelerate the digital B2B experience.
We call this an information-driven customer experience, and we specialize in helping companies align their marketing, sales, and service teams around a single system of record and a strategic customer experience, built on the HubSpot platform.
Matt: Using the latest technology to manage inbound marketing, outbound marketing campaigns, lead capture and nurturing, and customer support is no longer optional. If you want to lead and grow, a fit-for-purpose tech stack is now table stakes.
In short, the B2B buying world is changing fast. End-to-end digital processes are replacing legacy, in-person sales, just as they have done in the B2C world.
Companies that embrace this change and adapt to provide their customers with the seamless, personalized experience they know from their lives outside work will be the winners in the 2020s.
Melanie: Those who delay will lag behind and may fail.
If you’d like to learn more about understanding your customer, mapping their customer journey, structuring and managing data, implementing marketing technology or any other aspect of delivering an information-driven customer experience, please visit our website and our YouTube channel, or drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you.