How B2B Buyers Have Been Forced To Evolve [Infographic]
You’re probably reading this sentence on your smartphone – possibly on a morning commute or enjoying your lunch break. One day, you put down the newspaper and decided that you’d consume the bulk of your information through this handheld item.
Unsurprisingly, you weren’t the only one to do this.
As technology continues to impact our lives on a day-to-day basis, we take for granted just how much influence and the reliability we now we have on it.
The irony of this is that we could assume that with wider access to more information at our disposal, we might make better buying decisions. Research, however, would suggest otherwise.
We’re slowly seeing the impact technology and new methods of information consumption have had on the B2B buying process. A study from Social Media Examiner in 2018 showed that 66% of B2B companies use Instagram to distribute content. This demonstrates an obvious desire to comply with market trends.
It raises further questions of where social media and other digital media now sit in the buying process. It also casts a light on what role other forms of traditional media now play, if at all.
The Modern Day Decision-Making Process
Communigator have pulled together a wealth of research to draw up what the modern day consumer decision-making process could look like for a typical B2B company.
- Need Recognition: The psychology is still the same. A need is triggered from either an internal or external stimuli. With the higher quantity of touch points available to the target buyer, comes a greater opportunity to trigger those stimuli.
- Information Gathering: Target buyers have traditionally used magazine ads, TV and radio to gather information. By now though, they are now exposed to a far greater volume of sales messages. These can come through social media, search engines and digital advertising. Standing out has become more difficult.
- Evaluation of Alternatives: The nature of review and quote comparison websites have made evaluation easier in some respect. Giving the buyer all the information they need across the touchpoints in which they operate, gives them a greater understanding of the offering.
- Assess the Evidence: It isn’t easy for B2B buyers to measure the value of a product or service. This can be bridged through testimonials, referrals and awards, each of which is more freely available due to digital. These help to reduce the perceived risk of the offering – especially for what would be a new relationship.
- Selecting an Option: With 7 people now involved in a typical B2B purchasing decision and with greater access to more information, it’s understandable why selecting an option may take longer.
- Implement the Decision: Although the process up to this stage may seem a little complex, the actual purchase should be as simple as possible. It should be done seamlessly through a website, a simple order form or a phone call. This reduces the risk of any issues to arise.
- Decision Review and Evaluation: The psychology of following up isn’t lost. But the way it’s done has evolved. Automated email streams allow this to be done at scale. And of course, web analytics give insight into usership if the product is an online one.
The increased number of touchpoints across the digital sphere has, in some regards, forced B2B businesses to adapt to this trend.
Though it is clear that these channels play an important role within the buying process, there has been little focus on how well these channels are being used and whether these organisations are maximising their value.
The research does little to investigate how these channels are used, and how effective the messages are being communicated.
If the message does little to aid the buyer along the journey, you could argue the message becomes counterproductive, as the opinion of the business could fall.
To conclude, there are plenty of opportunities to use digital media within each step of the buying process. But ensuring that B2B businesses are using these channels in the right way remains integral to closing the final sale.
How has technology changed in your buying process, if at all?
The Decision Making Process – The Infographic
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