Every B2B technology business wants to be focused on the customer, from marketing efforts to product innovation. Part of customer-centricity involves truly connecting with prospects before they become customers. But according to a recent report from TrustRadius, many vendors fall short in this arena.
The 2018 B2B Buying Disconnect Report highlights the difference between how B2B technology buyers and vendors view the purchase process. The report dives into the motivations, preferences and dislikes of B2B buyers, where vendors fall short, and how vendors can bridge the ‘trust gap’ with their buyers.
Buyers Want the Full Picture in Making a Decision – and that’s where many vendors fall short
According to the TrustRadius report, the average buyer spends between $11,000 and $50,000 on just one technology product (with nearly a quarter spending over $100,000). It is understandable that buyers want to feel very confident in their purchase decision, given the money they are spending. Buyers are truly looking to get a full picture of the product before they sign the dotted line. Unfortunately, most vendors fall short in helping buyers through this process.
Vendors often focus on creating marketing materials – such as landing pages, ebooks, and white papers – that buyers don’t actually find very trustworthy or influential. To get a picture of the disconnect, take a look at the top five resources used by vendors, along with how buyers utilize these sources:
There’s a clear trend here: branded content is either used less often or trusted less by most buyers. Clearly customers bring a healthy level of skepticism to branded content. So how can vendors address the disconnect?
How Vendors Can Address the B2B Buying Disconnect: Transparency & Resources
The reality is B2B buyers use a wide range of information sources to make a purchasing decision. Check out this list of the main information sources used by buyers along the purchasing journey:
Customer reviews clock in as the second most popular information source, leading us to ask why. According to the report, the reason behind the popularity of reviews is that buyers value real world insights from current users. Reviews allow buyers to see both pros and cons of the product, and to get an understanding of how the product works for people like them.
“User reviews are a must – the product needs to have a good reputation.”
~ Survey participant in the B2B Buying Disconnect Report
One key conclusion of the report is that buyers use multiple resources to support their decision, because no one resource is fully adequate or trustworthy. So vendors who ensure their buyers have access to a variety of informational resources — including those that aren’t fully within the vendor’s control, such as reviews, analyst reports, free trials, and customer references — are better poised to enable their buyers to make a quick and confident decision.
Buyers also reported being more influenced by vendors who were more transparent. Buyers who reported that their vendors were ‘highly influential’, were also more likely to feel that their vendors were up front about the product’s limitations.
Another simple way to reduce this disconnect is to create personas based on both the positive and negative reviews that you receive – segmenting customers by industry, professional profile, satisfaction, etc. These personas will not only help you in your marketing efforts but also better understand the customers you currently have.
Introducing transparency into your marketing efforts and offering a range of resources to potential customers are the most influential over the buying process. For example, empower your buyers with free trials, allowing them to push the limits of your product. And connect your buyers directly with customers, who experience your product daily and are a highly trusted by buyers. This can be in the form of reviews, case studies, and customer references.
These small steps should help you, the B2B vendor, overcome the 2018 buying disconnect.
Brooklin Nash writes about the latest tools and small business trends for TrustRadius. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading YA dystopian fiction (with guilty pleasure) and cooking.