The B2B buyer is demanding – there’s no denying that. There’s an average of 6 to 10 people involved in one buying team, all of whom focus on one sale, and 73% of those are headstrong millennials. Get it right, and engaged and interested buyers using digital sales channels are willing to spend over £500,000 per transaction. Get it wrong, and B2B brands can quickly become part of the 90% of businesses that fail within the first ten years. Below, we’ll look at the balancing act that’s meeting customer expectations without damaging business.
The Demand For Discounts And Deals
There is a difference between discounts and deals – discounts will always benefit the consumer and are ultimately profit damaging. Whereas; deals can favour both the buyer and the seller. Discounts typically entice new customers in or sell off unwanted stock, but at the detriment to the profit – a 10% discount removes 10% of the profit. It’s a balancing act to ensure profit isn’t severely damaged by throwing out too many discounts but also to please the 27% of buyers that actively look for lower prices.
Deals, unlike discounts, can encourage brand loyalty and further spending by promising something in return for purchase and typically won’t damage profits. Multiple sales strategies like utilising b2b loyalty programmes support that by offering deals based on spending. It’s so important that 65% of B2B brands have plans to implement a loyalty programme or upgrade their current one.
The Demand For Virtual Vs In-person
The demand for virtual and self-service options is growing rapidly – one study by McKinsey at the end of 2021 found that 35% of buyers are willing to spend £500,000 or more on a single interaction through self-service options – that was up from 27% earlier in the year. Recently, one study found that nearly 100% of buyers now seek self-service options and virtual interactions, with 57% saying they want no interaction with sellers throughout the sales cycle.
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Autonomy and eCommerce are a big B2B trend. The demand is forcing brands to go digital, but there is still a chunk of old-school buyers who prefer in-person meetings. But according to McKinsey, that number is only 20%, meaning the demand for virtual interactions or no interactions is definitely the leading way to conduct business.
The Demand For A Smoother Buying Cycle
The B2B buying cycle has always been complex – 77% of buyers thought their last buying cycle was too problematic, but that’s not always the seller’s fault. The B2B sales cycle follows anything but a linear route, and it’s a mix of the changing demands of the buyers and the ability of the seller to meet those demands. It’s something that a Gartner study recognised, stating that because of looping around and going in multiple directions, buyers value sellers that can provide them with clarity and navigate through the purchase.
So much so; that the buyers who feel sellers supported them through the process were 2.3 times more likely to say the buying cycle was easy and are willing to spend more in the future. That can be as simple as utilising omnichannel to offer buyers will multiple platforms for communication and purchasing.
There is a definite balancing act for meeting consumer expectations without compromising the growth, values, or expectations of the business. Yet, brands need to implement new strategies that meet the ever-changing needs of buyers. In the case of 2022, the needs are very much hands-off for the seller and digital for the buyer.