When it comes to making sales, few things are as helpful as an overview of the behavioural patterns of the buyers. For this reason, we’ve rummaged through the latest B2B Buyersphere Report from Base One and B2B Marketing, to find all the nuggets of information that can help you make more sales, or at least inform your sales conversations.
B2B buyers and the buying process
The best place to start is by identifying why B2B buyers buy. According to the report, 51% said improving productivity was the top priority in starting the buying process. This statistic is already starting to highlight the mindset of the typically B2B buyer. However, even more great information was uncovered – the second biggest reason for investing in a new purchase was ‘business expansion’. In addition to this, when asked to rate their priorities, the need to cut costs attracted 32% of scores over 8.
So, just from this first paragraph we can see that B2B buyers are looking to increase productivity in line with their growing business, but they need to do so while cutting costs. Ultimately, they are looking to achieve more with less.
Thankfully then, the third biggest reason for investing in a new purchase was leveraging new technology. Buyers have identified that utilising technology is a good way to keep costs down, increase productivity and add scalable consistency to the output.
How B2B buyers seek and gather information
Given the rise of inbound/content marketing and the reduced role the salesperson plays at the early stages of the buying process, interview with a company expert was rated 4th most popular way to gather information. So what other ways are buyers getting their information? Well, 1 in 3 buyers attended a live event and these were rated the single most influential information type.
But what about the other buyers who weren’t so keen on using a face-to-face meeting to gather information? Well, Slideshare is a popular destination with 21% of buyers downloading presentation decks and half that number watching a video. In addition to this, 51% of buyers downloaded at least one PDF, 47% also used printed brochures, and 29% of buyers considered them influential.
As expected, relevant content plays a lucrative role in the buying process, but it’s not alone. Slideshare’s value for buyers continues to grow and so should its importance for salespeople.
B2B buyers and social media
When it comes to social media usage for buyers, it’s worth noting that it might not be the all-encompassing tool that many may have thought. In fact, 47% of buyers declared themselves staunchly opposed to social media. In this report at least, there’s almost a clear 50/50 split between those who enthusiastically use social media in the buying process, and those who don’t.
So, what about the half of respondents who do use it? Well, amongst the CEOs and executives that were surveyed, Google+ is used slightly more than Facebook and twice as much as Twitter. However, those that use Twitter (5% of respondents) are fully committed to it – users rated it 10/10 for ‘influence’.
One key finding that is worth noting is that 1 in 5 said they use industry-specific forums during the buying process. So, irrespective of social media channels, buyers still look for information from their peers and listen to recommendations.
Other key findings
(Brand awareness) - 2/3rds of buyers had previous knowledge of the winning brand
(Location) - 17% of buyers ended up choosing a supplier within a distance of 50km
(Quality over cost) - 65% agreed that their chosen supplier simply offered the best product and service
(Communication channels) - Email was the most successful communication tool
(Most memorable communication) - 88% said it was personal contact via phone or F2F
(Mobile devices) - 20% of info accessed by B2B buyers was viewed on a smaller screen
To find out more about increasing sales and revenue in your business…