B2B sales has changed
Living in a digitized society makes it possible for us to access all the information we need at any time and from anywhere. This trend is the reason why potential buyers spend most of their buyer journey independently and doing their own research before even contacting a sales representative.
According to a study by Gartner, meetings with vendors today account for only 17 % of the total buying process. The pressure on sales to deliver convincing buying experiences on these few occasions is correspondingly high.
What does Buying Experience mean?
Buying Experience can be described as the sum of all emotions, information, and interactions your prospective buyers perceive on the way to a purchase decision. It covers the entire engagement with your products and services from the buyers´ perspective, from the moment of initial perception to the final product selection.
The emotional level of customers with their wishes, needs and fears has the greatest impact on the evaluation of the buying experience perceived. Therefore, it is essential to develop a deeper understanding of your prospects´ intentions and needs, because in the end, delivering a great buying experience is nothing more than listening and responding to these.
What makes for a compelling Buying Experience?
Since the individual perception of people is based on their needs and emotions, every buying experience is unique. Consequently, the design of a convincing buying experience can only succeed if the process is viewed from the customer’s perspective.
On the information level, fundamental differences arise for buying experiences due to supplier-specific factors such as the product offered, the industry affiliation or the sales channels of a company. Some buyer journeys are simple enough to consist of just a few steps. Subscribing to a software-as-a-service solution on a website, for example, is relatively straightforward. Larger and cost-intensive acquisitions, such as the purchase of complex ERP software, tend to be much more involved, requiring multiple decision makers and additional steps.
The key factor relevant for every kind of successful buying experience is just about to be increasingly transferred from B2C to B2B. We are talking about ‘customization’.
Tailor-made offers are the reaction of providers to increased competition caused by the unlimited access of buyers to information as mentioned above. This user-centric approach has transferred to customers’ expectations and is now more and more reflected in the buyer journeys of the business world. Marketo already reported on this phenomenon in its Creating Epic Customer Experiences report in 2019. Nearly half of the surveyed B2B buyers stated that they expect experiences that are tailored to the specific needs and interests of their employers.
According to Gartner, buying experiences meanwhile have the biggest impact on prospects’ final buying decisions. Even bigger than product and price! Companies that deliver great buying experiences benefit from more incoming leads, higher conversion rates and shorter sales cycles. The result is a doubling of the companies’ growth rate compared to competitors with buying experiences of only average quality.