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Studies on How and Why B2B Customers Are Behaving More Like B2C Consumers

Do you really understand how your business customers buy?

  • Sellers who are ready to meet customers at different points on their journeys will exploit digital tools more fully, allocate sales and marketing resources more successfully, and stimulate collaboration between these two functions, thereby helping to win over reluctant buyers. Our experience with upward of 100 B2B sales organizations suggests that while the change required is significant, so are the benefits: an up to 20 percent increase in customer leads, 10 percent growth in first-time customers, and a speedup of as much as 20 percent in the time that elapses between qualifying a lead and closing a deal.
  • Our research indicates nearly 50 percent of all B2B purchases will be made on digital platforms by the end of 2015, and expenditures for B2B digital advertising are expected to double by 2018.
  • Our research shows that, on average, a B2B customer will regularly use six different interaction channels throughout the decision journey, and almost 65 percent will come away from it frustrated by inconsistent experiences.
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Omni-Channel Experience is Critical to Fueling B2B Customer Engagement, Finds Accenture and SAP hybris Study

  • The global study of 2,000 B2B buyers and sellers – titled “Mastering Omni-Channel B2B Customer Engagement – was conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Accenture Interactive, part of Accenture Digital, and SAP hybris. It finds that business buyers’ expectations for personalization and excellent support – regardless of channel, device, or stage in the journey – are rapidly evolving, influenced by their experiences as consumers.
  • Even when B2B customers aren’t buying online, they are researching via digital channels, with 98 percent of buyers doing at least some online research on work-related purchases that they make offline. Most begin their research using either consumer marketplaces, such as Amazon or eBay (33 percent), or search engines (26 percent). Traditional B2B online destinations declined significantly from last year, with brand manufacturers’ websites down 19 percentage points and distributor websites down 16 points.

The Changing Face of B2B Marketing

  • 89% of B2B researchers use the internet during the B2B research process
  • Over the past two years, there’s been a dramatic shift in the B2B researcher demographic. Back in 2012, there was a pretty even mix across age groups. In 2014, however, 18- to 34-year-olds accounted for almost half of all researchers, an increase of 70%. This generation, known as the millennial generation, is unlike any other that came before it.
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The oldest members of the group were born around 1980, and that means they’ve never known a world without the modern-day internet. By the time millennials joined the workforce, half of all Americans were using email regularly, BlackBerrys had been on the market for several years and search engines were already a part of daily life. In other words, millennials are digital natives.

  • Research shows that those involved in the B2B buying process are already 57% of the way down the path to a decision before they’ll actually perform an action on your site.
  • 90% of B2B researchers who are online use search specifically to research business purchases.
  • On average, B2B researchers do 12 searches prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site.
  • 42% of researchers use a mobile device during the B2B purchasing process. Of those, there has been an impressive 91% growth in use over the past two years throughout the entire path (instead of just at the initial stages of research).

Why B2B is Really Becoming More Like B2C in the Marketplace

  • In fact, a 2014 Forrester report shows B2B buyers expect to view product information, analyze activities, take delivery and return or exchange across all channels through one source.
  • A striking 68 percent surveyed noted the importance of being able to see purchasing activities across all channels. Not only that, but this trend affects businesses’ likelihood of returning. Seventy-five percent of international businesses said they would buy again from businesses that offer seamless omni-channel capabilities.
  • In fact, 39 out of 50 news sites get more traffic from mobile devices than desktop computers. Not only that, mobile usage accounts for 60 percent of time users spend consuming digital media, according to comSCORE’s 2014 U.S. Mobile App Report.
  • A whopping 70 percent of focused, functional spenders say convenience is important when purchasing, according to a Hammerson report published in January. More than half said they would use “click and collect”—a check-out system that allowed them to pick up the product in store instantly after online purchase—if offered, and 47 percent expect delivery within the same day.
  • Decision-makers are more likely to look at online reviews and trust what other people say rather than the company. In fact, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, according to Bright Local’s 2014 Local Consumer Review Survey.