Master The B2B Buying Cycle In Three Steps

According to a study by Gartner, there's a new B2B buying cycle emerging that only proves why it's so much trickier making a B2B sale than it is a B2C. To make sense of the current buying cycle, there's a complex group involving six to 10 decision makers that each will have around five pieces of information that they've gathered while doing research, and then they have to discuss with the group. 

That dynamic makes the buying process increasingly difficult, with three-quarters of buyers agreeing their last purchase was highly complex. The complexity of the buying cycle boils down to the following phases:

  • Problem identification
  • Solution exploration
  • Requirements building
  • Supplier selection
  • Validation
  • Consensus creation

Even though there are complex phases, B2B brands will only hear from buyers for roughly 17% of the time throughout a buying cycle, making it somewhat challenging to master it. Below you should find some tips that will make it easier.

Offer Incentives Along The Way 

Incentives won't necessarily make the buying journey less demanding, but they will enable you to reward your buyers for using your company. Incentives and rewards put meaning towards the purchase - having an emotional connection is something we'll discuss further along.

The b2b loyalty programme from Incentivesmart is an excellent example of a reward-based programme that works. According to one study, 90% of US businesses have a customer loyalty program, and 55% of B2B marketers said they are improving their customer loyalty by offering a better customer loyalty reward programme. 

Make Their Journey Easier

Considering that 77% of buyers thought their last purchase was complex and tricky to complete, one of your primary focuses should be making their buying journey easier. One way to do that is to focus on instant access to customer support and foster buyer enablement.

Chatbots are a great way to harness the power of technology to provide instant customer support. They're an emerging trend that's huge in B2C and is about to become the same for B2B as we move towards eCommerce-based sales. 76% of B2C shoppers prefer to contact a company via chatbots – and the same could soon be true for B2B sales.

In the same study conducted by Gartner – they found that buyers who receive information from suppliers that helped them advance through the buying journey were 2.8 times more likely to feel their purchase was easy and were three times more likely to shop without regret. You can do this by finding simple solutions like bringing forward delivery dates, sending product samples, and sending price lists before buyers even ask for them.

Consider Emotional Connections

Considering the emotional connection between you and your buyer is key to improving the buying cycle. Purchases – be they made through B2C or B2B channels – require an emotional connection. According to CMO, B2B customers are significantly more emotionally connected to their vendors. Buyers analyze multiple aspects of a business to make a logical decision. 

They might look at core business values, rewards programs, eco-friendly materials, and the list could go on. B2B buyers want to know that the vendor aligns with their brand vision and form a fruitful partnership. Fostering a positive emotional relationship is easy to do by aligning brand values, focusing on buyer enablement as discussed previously, and creating a need that your business can fill. 

The buying cycle might be more complex and take weeks to complete, but the involvement from you as a brand is minimal. As the Gartner study found, you're only likely to hear from buyers 17% of the time, meaning they make all their decisions without you. That's why it's essential to focus on product quality, website usability, and content promoting your business alongside the tips mentioned above.

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