Section three:

The rise of the self-service buyer

Some two-thirds (66%) of B2B buyers are now self-serving more information before contacting vendors. Again, marketers are seeing this to an even greater degree with almost three-quarters (74%) seeing customers taking more control of the process. In fact, over half (53%) of buyers would prefer to buy without any interaction with sales at all.

of buyers are now self-serving more information before contacting vendors

of marketers are seeing customers taking more control of the process

Importantly, when they do speak to sales, 63% of buyers want a greater level of insight and advice. The days of the cookie-cutter playbook and generic PowerPoint look increasingly numbered. Customers want to see value not just in the products and services they buy, but also in the interactions they have with potential vendors.

This means brands need to excel in making it easy for buyers at every stage of the sale to get what they need (both for themselves and to help convince other stakeholders).

They need to offer multiple content paths to enable customers to succeed whether they are at the very initial needs-search stage or comparing vendors for a final shortlist.

Sixty three%

of buyers want a greater level of insight and advice from salespeople

It also means ensuring salespeople get the content they require to add real value when they do interact. This is a requirement that’s been well researched (see The Challenger Sale). The most effective salespeople are those that can teach their customers something valuable about how to better run their businesses or better compete in the market.

But is all of this just a brief post-Covid interlude before a return to business as usual?

In a word, no.

Over half (52%) of buyers say they will never go back to the old way of buying (and 63% of marketers agree). To put it simply, if you are waiting for things to go back to normal, that ship has likely sailed.

of buyers say they will never go back to the old way of buying

of marketers agree