Have You Adjusted To These Changes In B2B Buying?
My colleagues and I have been discussing the changing landscape of B2B marketing on this blog for some time now. Our focus has been on the changing B2B buyer and how we can better understand and leverage ‘Buyer 2.0′ (hat tip to SiriusDecisions) to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our demand generation programs. This ‘brave new world’ of B2B marketing, where the changing buyer must be the center of our demand generation efforts, also is a resounding theme at the 2010 B2B Marketing University (Twitter: #B2BUniversity) series Silverpop underwrites.
Digging a little deeper, though, we find a critical element of how the B2B buyer has changed in the Web 2.0 world is not only about individual buyers, per se, but also is about how buyers interact with their peers and how they leverage communities more than ever to make buying decisions.
B2B buyers leverage referrals from their peers in making purchase decisions by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio over any other factor considered in the buying decision-making process, according to data from ITSMA in a post on Propelling Brands, and nearly 75% of B2B technology buyers consult social media before making a decision, per the same data. And B2B buying decisions, more than ever, are made via group consensus. We see this in data from MarketingSherpa (see chart below), which indicates that even in the lower-purchase-price categories, four or more people are regularly engaged in making a purchase decision nearly 2/3 of the time — growing to larger groups as the purchase price rises above $100K.
Marqui Marketing Buying Process
The new B2B buyer is no longer a singular buyer. Instead, the buyer is what my colleague Adam Needles refers to as a ‘complex, savvy buying unit.’ This means B2B marketing more than ever must balance engagement with the singular user/buyer with the community surrounding that buyer and his/her decision.
What has changed, and how do we respond?