Where do we go from here?
While the future is always uncertain, the direction of travel is clear. In purchasing complex products and services, today’s customers are taking the initiative in how they research, interact with and ultimately buy from vendors.
They want to be able to self-serve all the information they need to make the purchase process as pain-free and low-risk as possible. And when they do engage with sales, they want an experience that adds value to how they think about the challenges they face.
So how should today’s B2B marketers ensure they are best placed to give customers what they need and remove friction from long sales cycles?
We have three key recommendations:
Ensure you have high-quality content that covers every stage of the sale – make this available ungated. As a matter of urgency, look to plug gaps between what buyers value and what you currently offer
House your content on an easy-to-navigate self-service hub – focus less on organising it by content type and more by its focus and role (this will better support buyers’ non-linear purchase journeys)
Equip salespeople to have better conversations with prospects – conversations that clearly demonstrate expert knowledge and understanding of customers’ businesses, challenges and the options for overcoming them
The changes uncovered in this research are best seen as long-term trends that have been accelerated by the Covid pandemic. More than a short-term shock to the system, they represent an enduring shift in how B2B customers research products, engage with vendors and ultimately choose who to buy from.