Paul Mosenson, President of NuSpark Marketing, is a very handy colleague to have. As a content aficionado, he frequently forwards valuable B2B marketing info that I might miss seeing otherwise.
Recently he sent me a copy of a report from 2009 loaded with interesting insight into the behavior of business buyers. The 202 pages in the document are part of “The Buyershere Project” put together by Gord Hotchkiss of Mediative (formerly Enquiro).
As he explains, the Project started with wanting to know how business product and service buyers make their buying decisions. He began the research by just talking to over 100 B2B buyers and asking them how they buy within their organization. Then he added insight gathered from a panel he moderated at the SES San Jose that included representatives from Google, Covario, Business.com, Demandbase and Marketo.
Here are highlights of a few items the report covered that I found most interesting:
At their core, buying decisions are not rational. Regardless of the RFPs, RFQs and vendor approval processes in place to make sure that buying decisions are purely rational, the fact is that, after all the information is gathered, decision makers and influencers make gut decisions. I think this is why personal “relationships” are one of the most important elements in the decision.
- 50% of B2B budgets go to purchase common items that we buy frequently and repeatedly
- 46% of these repeat purchases are made from a single preferred vendor
- The opinion of an existing vendor was the most in?uential factor in business purchases
“99% of B2B buying is about covering your butt.” Buyers typically reduce risk based on these channels:
- Personal experience with existing vendors
- Word of mouth from co-workers and peers
- Credibility and position of the vendor (Remember when buyers thought, “You can never be fired for buying IBM”?)
- Online research
After price/value, the second reason B2B buyers bought was the sales rep. This was true for influencers as well as decision makers.
Winning sales seems to be nearly as much about smart, likeable sales people as it is about the product being offered. It tells me that, maybe, B2B marketers should bring sales into the picture earlier.
As I reported in an earlier blog post, “How B2B marketers can help prevent lost sales,” Kathy Tito of Call Center Services, Inc. explained, “I have seen instances of companies that allow sales leads to become stale by not transitioning them to sales quickly enough to develop interest on the next level. If you have to err on one side or the other, keep in mind that the ‘premature’ hand-off can be managed to have little to no downside. If the lead is not ready, they can always be cycled back into nurture mode.”