What B2B purchasing behaviour looks like and what it can teach sales reps

Posted in Customer relationship management, Sales techniques and processes.

The B2B landscape is constantly evolving and changing. Recent developments have shown that customers in B2B companies are leaning more towards a B2C way of purchasing. This means that the focus is shifting more towards the customer and how the seller can fulfil their needs, away from a purely technical environment. Here are three ways in which B2B purchasing behaviour is changing and what sales reps can do to adapt:

The need for collaboration

Buyers are more educated than ever before due to information being so abundantly available online. Buyers are seeking more from the buying process and, thus, more from sales reps Instead of the sales rep simply providing information that the buyer may already have access to, there is a strong need for collaboration. Sales reps now need to become a partner whose goal is to help the buyer create a plan for the future, and also to play an advisory role when it comes to decision-making. Sales reps need to be more engaged with the buyer instead of simply providing information and then waiting on a response.

This collaborative effort also needs to involve asking in-depth, tough questions that cut through the noise and aid in making a good decision. The buyer needs a sales rep that will serve as a guide and not just the one with the control.

An awareness of risk

Sales reps may see risk as a negative subject to bring up in any interaction with a buyer, but risk can be used as an advantage. Contingency plans are a part of any B2B agreement so avoiding it doesn’t make sense. The sales rep needs to face the potential of risks head-on by openly addressing them, and then discussing with the buyer how they plan to eliminate or circumvent these risks effectively.

Not only does a discussion on risk strengthen the view that the sales rep is a partner in the decision-making process, but also makes them stand out from competitors as reputable and trustworthy.

The rising role of research in buyer decision-making

There has been an increase in the amount of research a B2B buyer does before making any contact at all with a sales rep. This research is done online, through contact with peers, current client suggestions, and recommendations. Even though this removes the sales rep from a portion of the sales process, sales reps can still play a role during the initial research.

Sales reps can make information available online in the form of a website or an electronic catalogue. The most frequently sought-after pieces of information, according to research reports, include pricing information and product specifications. Since companies are most influenced by facts, ensure that the facts you present are always up-to-date and relevant. Case studies and testimonials as well as industry comparisons also influence the research process greatly. Therefore, think about ways you can provide the prospective buyer with relevant information in this regard.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you must create more content, but rather smarter content. Place the focus on what the buyer needs to know to make an informed decision and provide it in an accessible and understandable format. This makes the decision-making process for the buyer much smoother. It also shows that you are intuitive and focused on the customer’s needs which, according to recent research, is very important in the B2B environment.