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SiriusDecisions Research: Room For Improvement In B2B Customer Experience

Featured SiriusDecisions Research: Room For Improvement In B2B Customer Experience

Eighty percent of B2B buying decisions are based on a buyer’s direct or indirect customer experience, according to new research from SiriusDecisions. Only 20% of buying decisions are made based on the offering or price.

Megan Heuer, VP-Research at SiriusDecisions, presented the research findings, as well as the advisory firm’s new Customer Experience Design Framework, during a keynote at its 11th annual SiriusDecisions Summit in Nashville in May.

“If your customers’ experience is a failure or even just average, it’s costing you money in demand creation,” Heuer said.

The study also found that customers believe there are many gaps in their post-sales experience, which highlights the need for B2B companies to rethink post-sale goals and delivery. Heuer said she was not surprised by the gaps reported by respondents. “I think people are increasingly expecting from B2B providers what they get from B2C providers,” she said, indicating that enhancing the post-sale experience for customers just makes sense and impacts the bottom line.

The updated Customer Experience Design Framework was presented as a proposed antidote to SiriusDecisions’ study findings. The framework, one of 30 new strategic models unveiled at the conference, is designed to help B2B companies employ best practices and use customer insights to create a customer experience that satisfies both customer needs and a company’s goals for efficiency, retention, growth and advocacy.

Often, the issues related to the post-sales experiences gap are marketers’ lip service to customer-centricity. “Far too often, B2B organizations portray themselves as customer-centric without really understanding what customers want after they buy,” Heuer said. “I think it’s because they’re not asking customers enough. We watch what they do, but we don’t often ask what they like.” Heuer said she sees many companies fall into that trap.

Heuer also said customers want better relationship basics from their B2B providers. A look at the balance of positive and negative views shows significant risk for most companies. The study found 42% of customers are unsure about renewal with current vendors, and 45% said they didn’t get the value they were promised during the buyer’s journey.

Additional findings include:

  • Less than half of B2B customers feel their providers offer them the needed value post-sale. As a result, only half of respondents plan to buy more from their current providers.
  • Executives and end users have very different perceptions of their post-sale experience. In every post-sale phase, the two customer roles reported almost no overlap in their post-sale content and interaction preferences, and described completely different gaps in what they’re getting today compared to what they want.

To keep current customers, attract new ones and grow revenue, Heuer said B2B marketers need to make some changes, and SiriusDecisions’ study shows that small changes have the potential to have significant impact on improving customers’ post-sale value and sentiments.

A total of 450 B2B customers completed the survey in March from a broad range of industries and business sizes.