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In the last several years, the B2B buying process has changed dramatically. Buyer’s expectations have changed accordingly. Consequently, traditional sales processes are becoming less and less effective.
Selling to today’s savvy B2B buyer requires new thinking. Here are three factors that influence buyer behavior, and how to deal with them.
Today’s B2B buyers know their stuff. The Internet is their encyclopedia, making information widely available and instantly accessible. According to Accenture, 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research at some point in the buying process.
All the basic information they need about your company–your products and services, reviews, feedback, competitive comparisons, etc.–they can get without ever talking to a salesperson.
Solution #1: Ramp up your ability to offer insight into the buyer’s situation. B2B buyers want partners who understand their pain points and are knowledgeable about the industry. Show your expertise. Provide perspective on the market to show prospects it’s worth their time to engage with you beyond an online search.
The modern buyer is cynical about vendors. So many companies sending out sales reps armed with little more than a one-size-fits-all strategy and a me-too sales pitch. The results of a recent Forrester study are hardly surprising: 59% of buyers prefer to do research online instead of interacting with a sales rep.
Solution #2 Change your sales strategy. Buyers don’t want a sales pitch. They’d rather learn something to help them make a decision. Your salespeople had better be ready to offer something more. Arm them with relevant research studies or technical papers that support their needs.
Technology has made buyers more informed. It’s also led to purchase anxiety. With so much information available to them, it’s easy for buyers to second-guess themselves, be afraid to commit, and potentially miss out on a better vendor. A primary goal of many buyers is to reduce the risk factors that could cause a wrong decision, damage their professional credibility and impact their job security.
Solution #3: Add value through content. On average, B2B buyers review 10 sources to support a purchase decision. While that information is easy to find, making it relevant is the challenge. Offering a range of content to buyers—like case studies or white papers—on your website and via your salespeople, can help address their anxieties, demonstrate your value, and show ROI.
Technology has changed buyer behaviors and their expectations for vendors. Addressing their changing needs is critical to earning their trust and positioning your company as their very best choice.
Read more of my posts at 0to60branding.