B2B Customers Are Aloof. Does That Matter to Marketers?

Today’s B2B buyers are decidedly aloof, and increasingly independent. So what does that mean for you as a B2B marketer?

Over the years, shopping in grocery stores has become an ever more isolated experience. 

What once involved a friendly chat with a cashier is now all shrill self-service checkouts. Next up, checkout free stores that let you walk out with a full cart and drive away.

However nostalgic you feel about the demise of social interactions like these, the same thing is happening in B2B sales. 

The Growing Independence of B2B Buyers

Research by B2B marketing agency Considered Content has revealed two-thirds of buyers in medium and large businesses are now self-serving more information before making any contact with vendors. And more than half (53%) would prefer to buy without any interaction with sales at all.

In short, today’s B2B buyers are decidedly aloof, and increasingly independent.

The good news? This makes marketing’s function all the more important. Because it’s marketing that oils the buyer journey — and if we know how buyers think, we can create the content and experiences for which we know they’re actively hunting.

In short, brands today need to excel in making it easy for buyers at any stage of the sale to get what they need. We need to do this both for buyers themselves and to help convince the rest of the decision makers in their companies (because, of course, in almost every B2B sale, there’s more than one decision maker). 

Related Article: The New Priorities of Next-Generation B2B Marketing

Valuable Content Means Education, Information

This means offering multiple content paths to enable buyers to succeed, whether they are at the very initial needs-search stage or comparing vendors for a short list. They should be able to source richly informative, educational content — from guides and case studies to research and instructional videos. Critically, this content must be focused on their needs and their pain points (and crucially, not simply be all about you).

We must also equip salespeople with what they need to add value when they finally do interact with buyers. The most effective salespeople are those that can teach their customers something valuable about those customers’ businesses. This has already been well researched: see The Challenger Sale and the Sense Making Approach.

Ultimately, marketers should be making the research-to-purchase journey as painless as possible. Because where buyers encounter friction, their first instinct is not to struggle through it, it’s to go elsewhere.

Related Article: Why B2B Marketing’s a Long Game, Not a Hit-and-Run SaaS Play

Buyers’ Remorse Is Real

But don’t think that just because buyers are aloof that they don’t expect excellent service. Buyers’ remorse is real and far from uncommon (especially in software sales). 

You’ve successfully convinced buyers to devote time, effort and implementation costs into switching to your product or service. They’ve started to make changes to their processes to accommodate new systems. They have big adoption plans. But, suddenly, everything starts to seem very difficult. Sound familiar?

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