Since the end of 2020, many small businesses and SMEs have had to set up e-commerce solutions and interfaces, a platform to provide a “click & collect” type of service, or else acquire capable tools. to streamline the customer relationship. We also noticed that the large accounts were reassessing their communication and their personnel management. It is under these conditions that digital marketing specialists at Google have tried to explain what guides decision-makers in the B2B purchasing process , and to discern the levers able to encourage them, or on the contrary, to observe the brakes that push them to back down from an offer.

B2B decision-makers: changing profiles

First, let’s start by defining the very term “B2B decision makers”. These are the people who take part in the decision to purchase a service or product on behalf of their business, regardless of industry, type of business, and category of purchase.

But the reality is not as simple as it seems. We can indeed distinguish a large number of functions and teams that play a role – major or minor – in purchasing decision-making in the B2B sector.

The first thing that can be said is that more than 75% of decision-makers do not belong to what is called the “C-level”, that is to say, senior executives, staff. who works at the upper levels of management, such as the CEO, vice-presidents, general Italy Phone Number List managers, and directors of different departments, for all sectors of activity and company sizes.

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But what is even more striking is that among the percentage just mentioned, the vast majority of decision-makers are not even part of the team in charge of b2b purchases!

Thus, more than 60% of the new employees who make up this panel analyzed by Google are in fact neither buyers nor senior executives.

However, these numbers are likely to vary depending on the size of the business. Depending on whether the company is more or less important, the share of decision-making coming from the managers varies. For example, for small businesses, 25% of decision-making comes from the management team, compared to just 15% for companies with between 250 and 10,000 employees.

In addition, women represent barely 35% of B2B decision-makers, whose average age, all sexes combined, ranges between 25 and 45 years.

B2B buying journey

Then, we notice the rise of digital in B2B decision-making, although human relations remain essential in modern marketing.

Indeed, digital occupies an increasingly important place in purchasing decision-making, both among buyers, but also among sellers in the B2B sector. We see, for example, that more than 60% of the aforementioned actors give a greater share to digital compared to what we could observe before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, the ideal B2B buying journey can be described as a cleverly balanced cocktail of digital and human interactions. In a recent study, McKinsey, the famous American strategy consulting firm, clearly demonstrated that omnichanneling is becoming essential throughout the B2B marketing and sales process, with almost half of the buyers who have used one or more online media, such as video, chat, etc. and over 40% who have actually used an online sales platform, where products or items are sold directly to businesses.

In addition, it appears that remote meetings are starting to become a common occurrence when discussing a purchase or decision-making in the B2B sector: in 2021, more than 65% of companies in the sector plan to ” organize more than half of their meetings by means of a videoconference, and this, even if the conditions allow the meetings to take place in a traditional way, that is to say face-to-face. This phenomenon must also be accompanied by an upgrade of the teams in terms of digital technologies, according to the statements of the same study.

It is still important to note that the digitization of the B2B buying journey is not uniform, because it is much more present in the first stages of the buying journey, especially during the research and decision phases. knowledge, where search engines and newsletters are used very frequently. On the other hand, in the following stages, such as consideration and purchase, the physical meeting and a direct personal relationship with a sales representative are considered essential.

Finally, we note that the length of the purchasing process tends to decrease over time. Thus, more than 65% of purchases are made in less than a month, and some are even done in the space of a day (25%)!

Some ideas for B2B players who want to meet their customers’ expectations

1-? Reconsider the relationship you have with your customers

We’re not necessarily talking about a physical relationship here, but rather human support for your prospects until a deal is finalized. And many of these moments of direct contact can be made on the internet: chat, live demonstrations, call center, etc.

You will therefore have to think about the different ways of always being close to your new prospects.

2-? Refine your customer knowledge methods as much as possible

To do this, make full use of CRM data, but also proprietary data from your own website, obtained through cookies placed on each web page. With the targeting possibilities offered by Google, you can also identify your B2B target by exploiting insights, such as demographic information, related to the professional sector or the size of the company. By skillfully combining your data and the tools made available by Google, you will be able to optimize your paid-media action on Display or YouTube, among others.

3-? Be transparent from A to Z

If you are in the B2B sector, it will not have escaped your notice that the level of demand from buyers is very high, and leaves you no room for error. Transparency should therefore be a golden rule for your business, and can even be seen as a unique value proposition that sets your offer apart from the competition.

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