Research from Gartner shows that the b2b buying journey has changed. If your sales strategy hasn’t changed with it you’re at risk of losing customers and sales. Here we cover what the changes are and 3 ways b2b sellers can improve their sales strategy.
Why has the b2b buying journey changed?
The set of options and solutions buying groups can consider is expanding as new technologies, products, suppliers and services emerge. Because the typical buying group for a complex b2b solution involves six to ten decision makers, all armed with easily available information, customers are finding it increasingly difficult to make purchases. More than three-quarters of the customers Gartner surveyed described their purchase as very complex or difficult.
Alongside this, sellers are struggling to influence their customers decisions as less importance is weighted on sales reps. It’s easy for buyers to gather information independently via digital channels, so sellers have less access and fewer opportunities to influence customer decisions.
As you can see from this Gartner illustration, the B2B buying journey is not linear or predictable. Instead, b2b customers loop around, revisiting possible solutions to their identified problem as they explore their requirements and investigate suppliers.
So what can you do to influence the new b2b buying journey as a b2b seller?
1. Make it easy for buyers to navigate the purchase process
Firstly, your b2b ecommerce platform needs to make it easy for customers to access the information they need to make a buying decision and to make a purchase. Content must be relevant, easy to understand, useful and credible. Ideally content should also be shareable, provide confidence, align to customers emotional needs and lead back to your USPs.
Gartner research found that customers who perceived the information they received from suppliers to be helpful in advancing across their buying journey were 2.8 times more likely to experience a high degree of purchase ease, and three times more likely to buy a bigger deal with less regret.
2. Align all of your sales channels
Sales reps are no longer the main channel to customers, they are one of many channels a customer may use to seek the information they need to get a job done. This means in-person and digital channels must be aligned to support customers in the way they actually buy.
3. Make sure sales and marketing operate in parallel
In the new b2b buying journey customers are not buying in a linear fashion. They are using both digital and in-person channels with near-equal frequency as they loop around their buying journey. As a result, there is no handoff from marketing to sales, or digital to in-person. The once linear buying journey, where the most qualified opportunities are handed from marketing to sales for in-person pursuit, has gone. If your business still operates in this way it’s time to adjust to sales and marketing working in parallel to maximise sales.
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