Understanding the Buying Behavior of B2B Customers
Traditionally, buying behavior of B2B customers relied heavily on building personal relationships, nurturing those contacts and providing them with a reliable point-of-sale with their preferred suppliers. Millenials have flipped the script. Few stay in one position long enough to learn everyone’s name at their own companies, let alone establish profiles within an industry. Technology is also having a marked change in B2B sales. Loyaltyworks walks you through the latest trends to help keep you ahead of the curve.
Social Input Greatly Influences the Buying Behavior of B2B Customers
In the past, your company sales pitch was the most important factor in building relationships with other brands. You had to have the right person in place to drive purchases forward. Today, B2B buyers are becoming much more like their consumer counterparts in that recommendations online are playing an important role in whether or not they’ll complete a sale.
In fact, according to a report by Avanade, 61 percent of these buyers are putting more importance on review sites and recommendations from industry friends than on company salespeople.
If your sales team has been reluctant to give up their winning sales techniques from the past, it’s time to drive the point home that online presence has a place in your advertising strategy. To ignore or avoid these changes is no longer an option.
More Interactions Take Place in the Buying Behavior of B2B Customers Today
Despite the sales team having less influence on B2B buyers, the number of interactions required before a sale has grown. Industry leaders at McKinney say the average sale requires six touchpoints. A customer needs six interactions with your brand before they are ready to make a purchase.
This is why online content is still king – and might remain that way for quite some time. The market is full of noise from competitors, and everyone is vying for the same dollars. It isn’t enough to create a catchy ad for a product. Successful businesses must develop robust campaigns capable of funneling customers from awareness of a product or brand through the decision process. The best of the best will follow up to nurture those existing relationships and use them to generate future sales.
Retargeting is a huge part of this new sales process, but that also means traditional marketing budgets are on the move.
Expect to Spend More to Shape the Buying Behavior of B2B Customers
Campaigns with multiple touchpoints will be essential to generate successful B2B sales relationships in 2018, which will mean investing significantly more in content creation. In particular, online tools and applications that drive sales forward – instant quotes, payment calculators and other interactive engagement methods – will be in high demand.
B2B sales are taking the consumer attitude of “time is money” and applying it to their time at work. Anything capable of making their decisions easier, or seemingly faster, is going to generate a good deal of customer appreciation.
This has to be a focus across all channels as well, not just on mobile devices or personal computers. The days of focusing on one or the other are history. Today’s savvy enterprise buyers access a website in multiple ways before making a purchase, so hiccups in mobile presentation, poorly designed apps, missing or mismanaged social network accounts and subpar customer service experiences reflect poorly on the company as a whole.
The need to create a comprehensive presence on- and offline is going to drive up costs significantly for companies that traditionally sold their products through personal contacts.
Sales Incentives Will Be Even More Effective Going Forward
As B2B sales become more than B2C businesses, the same types of programs can build strong relationships and encourage sales. Loyalty programs can work with your marketing to provide your customers with the increased interaction they’re expecting. Taking advantage of existing incentive platforms allows you to satisfy customer need without greatly increasing your expenses.
For instance, you can use an online quiz to inform buyers about your product line. A whopping 92 percent of executives reported effective education of existing customers was a key factor in repeat sales. What’s more effective than finding ways to make learning fun?
You can also incentivize the experience by rewarding participants with points they can use on company-branded merchandise. Over 40 percent of B2B customers base their purchasing decisions on personal values, compared to 21 percent who base them on business values. Select the right type of promotional items to fit the personal values of your customers, from golf balls and water bottles to discount tickets for local charity events.
A surprising 14 percent of B2B don’t distinguish any real difference in suppliers’ products, so tapping into those personal values is a powerful way to secure long-term sales relationships.
To uncover more ways you can use reward programs to guide the buying behavior of B2B customers, contact us at Loyaltyworks today.