The behaviour patterns of B2B buyers are evolving as they become increasingly focused on controlling their own purchase journeys and gaining access to self-service. Alongside this, buyers are beginning to value references and testimonials over companies’ own promises to meet their needs (see image below). As these trends show no signs of slowing, B2B providers have to contend with a more discerning and demanding target market.
In order to overcome the challenges posed by these developments, Forrester highlights that sales teams in B2B organisations must prioritise openness, connectedness, intuitiveness and immediacy. Furthermore, failure to stay ahead of these changing dynamics is likely to have a direct negative impact on results.
But while having highly trained sales agents is a defining factor of success in the B2B sphere, it’s not the only one. To drive success in this demanding market landscape, they must have access to technology that aids them in engaging with customers and meeting their expectations.
Treating buyers as partners
Buyers today expect to form part of the purchase journey. They no longer wish to be convinced by a sales agent or even feel like they’re being sold to. Their aim is to find a person who can help them find a solution to their problem – which explains Forrester’s report that shows buyers are more likely to engage with empathetic sellers.
This means that in order to meet buyers’ expectations, sellers must have the tools to understand their industry. They must be open in order to reduce frustration and establish trust, and they must connect with buyers to create peer-to-peer relationships. Sellers must also gain a heightened sense of intuition in order to deliver personalised experiences more quickly.
A Forbes article also highlights that levering the right CRM system will enhance sales to B2B buyers. Investing in digital purchase options, chatbots and virtual assistants creates a seamless experience for buyers that puts their particular needs at the heart of the sale.
Understanding customers’ buying motion
It’s not possible to count on a one-size-fits all approach when understanding and adapting to buyers’ evolving expectations. Today’s marketers must realise that buyers fall into different categories according to their specific situations.
Forrester’s Buying Motion Matrix uses buyer familiarity and decision complexity to help marketers understand the buying motion of potential customers (see image below). By leveraging the patterns of the category that their customers fall into – transaction, improvement, reaction, or transformation – sellers can create optimal experiences for buyers that meet their expectations.
Transaction purchasers are comfortable with the process because of its openness and immediacy, while improvement buyers require heightened intuitiveness in order to gain more familiarity and understanding. Buyers that fall into the transformation motion seek connectedness in order to thrive in new markets, and buyers in the reaction category prioritise immediacy as they are aware of problems but unaware of how to solve them.
Regardless of the motion that corresponds to a particular buyer, organisations must invest in digital engagement to provide tailored solutions to buyers of every category.
Prioritising transparency and trust
Business relationships are becoming more important than ever. In fact, Forrester outlines that by 2024, pricing will become so transparent between buyers and sellers that cash cows and sweetheart deals will be a thing of the past. Forrester also predicts that by this time trust will become the new currency as shared risk-reward partnerships become commonplace, while providers will have to become more creative with funding.
Highlighting the importance for sellers to foster strong relationships efficiently, research shows that buyers may only spend 5% of their time with any one sales representative. These new trends mean that organisations must utilise digital platforms to quickly reach buyers with content that is informative and relevant to them.
Today’s buyers know exactly what they want: to be treated as partners while providers offer them customised and transparent solutions. Organisations – such as Arconvert, who recently shared with us their experience of better connecting with B2B buyers – must understand how to implement the right technologies in order to meet buyers’ expectations. Not only is this important within today’s digital landscape, but it is a must in light of social-distancing measures brought about by COVID-19.
Using its 15 years’ experience as technical consultants and CRM experts, redk supports companies looking to enhance efficiency and profitability through world-class tools that optimise performance across organisations.