There’s a lot of mystery around B2B buyers—who are they, how do they work, and what do they want? The truth is that B2B buyers are just like you and me. They use Uber, they shop on Amazon, and they watch Netflix. The only difference is that they work in the B2B world, where sales processes are horrible and often referred to as minefields. Only 14% of B2B companies are customer-centric, and a lot of that is because they don’t try to get inside the mind of the B2B buyer.
According to Forrester, 59% of B2B buyers prefer to do research online instead of interacting with a sales rep because they feel reps push their own sales agendas instead of actually listening to the buyer and finding a solution that solves their unique problem. There’s nothing more annoying than a salesperson who doesn’t listen, and in the B2B world, it has gotten so bad that buyers are actually avoiding sales reps.
B2B buyers are also faced with post-purchase anxiety. There’s a lot on the line with their purchasing decisions, and many buyers wonder if they could have gone with a better vendor, even after the deal has been signed. They consider a variety of risk factors, including damage to their professional credibility, a reduction in job security, inability of the software to perform as promised, and a loss of monetary investments. Clearly, there’s a lot weighing on the buyers’ minds during and after the transactions. If the product doesn’t perform like it should, the buyer is the person who has to take the blame within their organization.
The result is nervous buyers who are more anxious than they have ever been before. The job of B2B companies is to instill confidence in the buyer so they know they are buying the right product that will make a positive difference at their company. Companies and sales reps should recognize the full range of rational and emotional factors behind business purchases and tailor the value proposition accordingly. Be more proactive instead of simply pushing a one-size-fits-all sales agenda and work to fill an advisory role so buyers know they can trust your company to meet their functional and emotional needs. That’s part of the reason B2C sales are so successful—customers feel fulfilled and validated emotionally and rationally.
By addressing the B2B buyer’s unique needs while including some elements of B2C like emotional engagement, a B2B company can create an experience that customers will love. After all, B2B buyers are just people like you and me, so connecting with them and building trust can go a long way.
Originally published at forbes.com
— Published in CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE on March 8, 2018