Shifting Habits of B2B Buyers

As social media marketing, digital advertising, and e-commerce continue to overtake the market, the buyer’s journey–especially for B2B products and services–has drastically shifted.
The buyer’s journey can be understood in these stages:
  1. A need is identified
  2. The buyer gains awareness of potential solutions
  3. The buyer researches solutions
  4. The solutions are compared
  5. A solution is selected

Years ago, an advertisement may have satisfied the awareness stage, and the next step was a phone call with the company being considered. A decision shortly followed a few competitor comparisons. 

Now, buyers are spending a large percentage of their search process online. Hayley Molloy reported that “67% of the B2B buyer journey takes place in digital channels.”

Furthermore, according to WBR Insights, “B2B buyers are 57-70% through their buying research before contacting sales.” Whatever can be found about the company online during the interest phase will be relied upon before personal interaction is initiated.

All awareness, research, and comparison is completed online (except in cases of referrals), with reliance on digital branding and content, and diminishing discussions with sales representatives.

These trends can largely be attributed to shifts in buyer personas and demographics. By 2025, 27% of the workforce will be Generation Z, who has a clear preference for poring through online resources over engaging in phone conversations.

What are buyers looking for?

Through awareness and research, the buyer is seeking a solution that demonstrates a true understanding of their problem or opportunity, as well as their market. 

It’s important that the solution has authority–think messaging that demonstrates experience in the field.

They’re also seeking social proof: examples of successful projects that are similar or parallel to their need, a track record.

These messages will be illustrated in your online content. WBR Insights describes its importance: “Nine out of ten B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions.”

When they find your content, it needs to portray that you have a trustworthy solution to their need.

Where to go from here

To keep growing and remain competitive, manufacturing and B2B service companies need to recognize these shifting behaviors and adjust their tactics accordingly. 

Investing in branding, content marketing, and lead generation efforts is proven to produce results. Marketing efforts that focus strategy on market segmentation and the 95-5 rule will be rewarded with high ROI. To execute these new strategies, a balance of insourcing and outsourcing is key. 

The shifts in buying habits and behaviors can be most effectively managed by companies applying modern marketing approaches. 

At 50 Marketing, we meet modern developments with strategies that boost the brand’s positioning and subject matter authority, and meet buyers where they are. Get in touch today to see how we’re employing methods to keep up with digital evolution.

References

Hays, G. (2023, August 15). Gen Z opting for texting due to ‘phobia’ of phone calls, research reveals. Fox News. https://www.foxnews.com/media/gen-z-opting-texting-due-phobia-phone-calls-research-reveals.

Molloy, H. (2023, June 22). The shift in B2B buyer expectations, are we really delivering what they want? https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/shift-b2b-buyer-expectations-we-really-delivering-what-hayley-molloy/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_android&utm_campaign=share_via.

Noor, A. (2023, September 13). 20+ Gen Z Statistics For Employers in 2023. Qureos Hiring Guide. https://www.qureos.com/hiring-guide/gen-z-statistics#:~:text=Gen%20Z%20currently%20makes%20up,flexible%20work%20policy%20(LinkedIn%20survey)

Worldwide Business Research. (n.d.). Worldwide Business Research. https://www.wbresearch.com/relationship-between-b2b-buying-content-sales-changed-insights#:~:text=B2B%20buyers%20are%2057%25%20%2D%2070,major%20effect%20on%20purchasing%20decisions.

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