Inside the mind of the B2B buyer
Before going deep into detail about the aspects and actions of a B2B buyer, it is fundamental to understand the difference between B2B and B2C buyer psychology. Attracting potential B2B consumers with one-strategy-fits-all assuming that buyers are all made from the same mold, is like buying a one-way ticket to Nosalesville.
Buying soap for example, is cheap, impulsive, there is not much risk, thought or planning involved and in most cases it delivers results fairly quickly. A B2B buying process on the other hand, is much more complex, methodical, expensive, risky, time consuming and planned. To make things even more complicated for sales reps, buyers are now adapting to the influence of the Internet causing a change in their initial decision process.
Since 2010, we have entered a phase where everything revolves around content marketing and the consumer has acquired more power than ever. 70% of the buyer’s decision process is done before meeting with a sales representative, due to the increased power to access, purchase and research whatever and whenever. Buyers have become more informed, educated, comfortable in making purchase decisions on their own and are willing to learn everything via Web.
B2B buyers feel the need to work within specific ecosystems and rely on network participations; taking their time to map out where to explore and how to explore rather than becoming aware of solutions.
Looking ahead what does all of this mean? That outbound selling is over and that only marketers are going to hold the speech? That all the selling work will be done through word of mouth ? Probably not.
While word of mouth is (as it has always been) a highly strong driver for buyers’ interests, the ol’ fashioned selling outbound actions, are and will still be critical for companies. Very few companies can proudly argue they only deal with inbound requests, right? The current issue is straightforward: as buyers have raised their purchasing IQ, it is urgent for sales teams to dramatically raise their IQ too !
For sales reps, this means putting much more effort in research when looking for prospects and try to place oneself in the buyer’s shoes: what is the number one pain of the client? What is the internal agenda he has to deal with? What is at stake on a strategic level?
Raising awareness of your product or differentiating from the competitors is one thing… but understanding the events and the hidden agenda of the buyer is a completely different thing that is acquiring more and more importance. On top of that, everyone knows that cold calling a decision maker and introducing your product straight away gives zero results.
Sales trigger alerts look like the definitive intelligence sales teams urgently need: they give turnkey starting conversations, are a major way to detect needs, they identify new budgets, seize an opportunity and take control of it.
Who can keep buying raw prospecting lists and ask their sales reps their quota of cold calls?
Who needs a badly equipped army that has no chance winning the battle?