Decision-making process of B2B buyers – information search

11/08/2014

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You may already know that in B2B markets, personal relationships can be even more important than in a B2C scenario, as B2B buyers are generally longer-term buyers. All this makes B2B buyers potentially more demanding than consumer markets. So what does it take to convince B2B buyers to buy from you?

How can you even begin to influence their decision making process? If this sounds all-too familiar, then don’t panic - we have some market insight we want to share with you, writes Spirus.

Small and medium sized B2B organisations account for a fairly large proportion of our clientele. We know from experience that when working with the B2B market, the decision making process is highly complex: and for a B2B marketer, that means facing a very knowledgeable buyer. In every interaction with the target audience the marketer has to be able to demonstrate a high level of experience, insight and expertise, and show patience and diligence during negotiation.

You may already know that in B2B markets, personal relationships can be even more important than in a B2C scenario, as B2B buyers are generally longer-term buyers. All this makes B2B buyers potentially more demanding than consumer markets. So what does it take to convince B2B buyers to buy from you? How can you even begin to influence their decision making process? If this sounds all-too familiar then don’t panic - we have some market insight we want to share with you.

Our experience tells us that, whether you are selling to businesses or consumers, your branding has to start with a polished website. For SMEs this is the most important promotional tool.  Whenever you are mentioned in the press, adverts or direct mail, the most likely action will be for a potential customer to enter your name in to Google (other search engines also available).  If they can’t find you, the battle is lost, and few people will persevere for a company they don’t know.  Even if they do find you, but your site is out of date or is a hassle to navigate, it doesn’t reflect well on you. After all, if you aren’t spending that care and attention on your own site, what likelihood is there of you doing a better job for them? You’ve already lost your opportunity, and they will remember the negative experience the next time your brand comes up.

The research by Enquiro into the B2B buyer behaviour revealed that on the scale from one to seven, website visibility scores 5.4, being considered a top factor in building buyers’ awareness of different brands (Brafton, 2012). Moreover “the Internet is the 21st century B2B buyers’ first stop for the researching products and services” (York, 2013). Your online presence is absolutely vital in winning new business.

The actions of the UK B2B buyers in terms of the information search and influences of the decision making process is characterised by the following behaviours:

  • 87% of B2B content consumers say that online content has a major (27%) or moderate (60%) impact on their vendor selection
  • 83% conduct their online research before making decision about the next purchase. Online is also where B2B buyers usually find their supplier
  • 51% start their online research with a search engine. Of those, a whopping 77% start their searches with Google
  • 74% of B2B decision makers click through organic results, compared to less than 20% who click on pay per click ads
  • 60% of business decision makers say “branded content helps them make better purchase decisions”
  • 77% of B2B buyers said that adding social media sharing buttons made content marketing either “much more influential” or “somewhat more influential”
  • 16% of B2B buyers consult content on Facebook for shopping insights
  • 14% use LinkedIn
  • 11% consult Twitter
  • 11% turn to “other social sites”, i.e. forums

Websites, blogs and organic search are amongst the most effective for both lead generation and brand awareness. These are also some of the least expensive marketing tactics, and we have plenty of advice to offer in optimising your online presence in these areas. And as well as helping you to generate leads, we can also lend a hand if you need to broaden (or deepen) your knowledge of a particular industry or field to help your credibility when approaching those new leads.

We hope you found this article useful. We would like to invite you to comment and share your thoughts with us. What are the challenges you find hardest to overcome in the B2B space? Is there a specific challenge you’d like us to answer for you? And if you think we missed something, do let us know. We would love to hear from you!

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Spirus

We are a Cambridge based consultancy specialising in Marketing, Events and PR. Our aim is to make your life easier by helping you to get your business noticed. We’re not your average supplier.

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