As the BtoB landscape continues to demand more buyer-centric strategies and tactics, new research shows an increased focus on the consumerization of BtoB buying habits. Consumer expectations of flexible pricing models, free trials and access to solutions across multiple platforms is now migrating to the business world.
These and other findings were part of the highlights from the DemandGen Report Second Annual Inside The Mind Of The B2B Buyer Survey, which was sponsored by marketing automation provider Genius.
The survey found more BtoB buyers were doing more “window shopping,” as 21% of respondents said they determined their budget after multiple bids and 16% said they were willing to take from another line item after need was established/clear. “Budget has not gone out the window, but it’s not necessarily a driving force,” said Matt West, Senior Director of Marketing at Genius. “If there’s a need, they’ll find the budget to buy.”
The research found buyers are most interested in how products and services will benefit their organization. More than half of respondents indicated that receiving product information upfront via free trials and product overviews were the most useful in the early stages of the buying process. Despite the impact of case studies spotlighting successful implementations and documents/tools that support the ROI justification for the project, a majority of respondents (57%) said they are most interested in vendor comparison analysis.
Other important factors in buying decisions addressed in the survey are:
- Meeting the needs of buyers’ pricing/terms;
- Expertise/helpfulness of sales team;
- References from existing clients; and
- Availability of trials and free demos.
“Free trials are an expectation,” West noted. “If consumers cannot get their hands on the product/service, they’re not going to buy it.” Marketers who are willing to meet buyers’ needs on pricing and terms, as well as the expertise/helpfulness of sales team were leading factors for buyers when selecting a vendor, regardless of company size.
West also stressed the impact of freemiums on purchasing decisions. Marketers are not obligated to provide a full-blown training package for buyers, however they should offer them enough information to get to that stage, he advised. Marketers also should invest more in the product and making sure it is intuitive along the way, West said.
More than 230 respondents were surveyed in the Inside The Mind Of The B2B Buyer Survey to obtain insight on BtoB purchase decisions. The participants varied among industries, such as high-tech/software, software professional services, financial services, healthcare and telecom. Company size of respondents ranged from less than 50 employees to more than 750.
DemandGen Report will soon publish a comprehensive white paper detailing the findings and key BtoB buyer attributes.