The evolution of B2B purchase-Why information is crucial to the buying process-part 1
“In the world of B2B, your professional network is everything. Because your business is about business, the potential of who you know and who they know is where powerful connections happen.”- Amber Naslund
Tracking the changes in B2B buying journey
Digitisation and technological boom has completely changed the face of the market in the last decade. Today a human sales representative is practically non-existent or his work is considered to be 5-6% of the entire buying process when it comes to B2B purchasing. The revolutionary change in online marketing has forced buyers and sellers to migrate to online research as compared to an actual sales rep pitching his sale in person to the company. So does that make it easier or harder for sellers to convince their buyers to buy the product? In reality it makes it so much harder than it was before. The B2B customer playing field has changed tremendously according to B2B Buyer Research report by Gartner. According to this report, the linear B2B buyer journey no longer exists and has been replaced by the new B2B purchase which consists of six tasks. This has resulted in an increase in the buying complexity.
The 5 influencers of the B2B sales
In the digital world, a buyer has the freedom of comparing vendors online, and conducts a thorough research about the vendor’s background, product quality, his success and reviews without ever having to interact with the actual vendor. He needs access to the information to do his job as efficiently as possible without having to pick up the phone or send an email. While he needs proactive communication regarding orders, shipping, and price, he wants it presented in a streamlined way with all the information he’s searching for in one place.
Usually when an organisation is planning to buy a major product or service, there are five main milestones that the seller needs to keep an eye on, since they are the major influencers or decision makers of the purchase. If a seller manages to convey his authenticity to all of these five levels, he then may have a successful B2B sale in hand. Each of these influencers has two main agendas on their mind while making a purchase- how your product or service will affect them personally in their job and how your product or service affects their company.
- The Financial Decision Maker– This is the main decision maker who gives the final approval for the purchase, has the veto power and also has the final say in realising funds or offers. This role may consist of more than one person, such as an executive committee, and could even be the Board of Directors.
- The User- This can be a person or an entire department that will use your product or service directly and therefore this will have a direct impact on their job performance. They are an important influencer in this decision since the purchase affects them directly in many ways.
- The Technical Buyers- The technical decision makers have to play the role of screening or blocking your proposal. This may include more than one department depending on the impact your proposal has on the organisation. They are called in to judge your proposal, set some standards beforehand and make further recommendations.
- The Consultant- This influencer is like a mediator between the two companies that rallies that takes the proposal from one to the other and rallies the entire buying process. The consultant may be an executive either inside or outside the organisation. He is called upon to interpret why the company is buying, what benefits they are looking for and give you access to the other influencers.
- The Researchers- This group can be a tough nut to crack since they go through all their resources to find even the slightest details of your past sales, the success of your product and what other organisations have to say about you. Information plays a huge role in tipping the scales in your favour.
In the second part of this blog, we will have a look at why researchers are the new masters of the B2B buying process and how the exact, pinpointed selling content can boost your B2B sales with the help of professional digital marketers.