PJA first teamed up with its research partner Aberdeen in 2017 to field a global survey about what B2B buyers really wanted.
Our global survey highlighted three findings:
The most important takeaway? Even if you’re a small or emerging company, you can become a trusted guide to prospects and significantly increase your odds of winning. If, that is, you can provide those three things they value most.
Clearly, though, B2B buyers continue to struggle, and there’s more to it than being spoiled for choice in most categories.
To find out why, we decided to field more research in Q4 of 2018.
Our thesis question: Why do so many sales stall in B2B? (As a B2B agency we, too, sell B2B solutions, and despite a pretty decent win rate this is a topic we wonder about constantly. Did the client lose their budget? Did the company lose interest in the program? Did our client not know how to make a case? Was it all a dream?)
For this round of research we expanded our audience. Our survey touched 350 global B2B buyers, a third of them C-level and two-thirds VP or above. Their company size ranged from smaller start-ups to multibillion-dollar behemoths. Three-quarters of respondents reported being “the decision maker” in B2B purchases, and 90% had been involved in an enterprise-level purchase, more than half of them in purchases of $100,000 or more.
So what did we find? First of all, the pain in B2B buying is real:
Figure 1: You can’t make a good purchase if you’re not sure what you want.
Figure 2: So that’s why everything went quiet.
The bright side?
For me, the three most powerful findings from the research were these.
Figure 3: Hey, now! BtoB buyers are far more likely to engage with companies that deliver new approaches, especially when it comes solving existing problems in new ways.
Figure 4: New and insightful beats known but ordinary.
Figure 5: Hello! We weren’t expecting you so early.
This is an opportunity to be mined, but companies must be ready. If you can put the hard sell to the side and help a prospect define their needs, even if what they need isn’t ultimately your product, you are building your brand in a way that attracts future buyers. People talk to their peers about good experiences. Even better, if your solution is a good fit, any objective information you’ve provided to help them make the case functions as what we call a Champion’s Kit, a tool to help your prospect sell you up to their ultimate decision-maker, or to build consensus for a committee-based decision.
Figure 6: Listen, collaborate, share, and increase your win rate.
Again, what can you do about the agonizingly slow pace of so many B2B sales?
To see the full research report, just click on this link.