In a recent survey by McKinsey that surveyed over 1000 B2B buyers across multiple locations, some interesting trends in buyer behaviour emerged.

Here are the Top 3 Things you should know about how your prospective customers would behave.

1. First Time Purchase vs Repeat Purchase

Only a small proportion of B2B buyers need in-person support when making a simple repeat purchase.

The responses showed that the industry sector in not a factor in the buyers decision to turn to a digital channel rather than a traditional one. To be successful, B2B suppliers have to have great digital assets and capability as well as a great, trained sales force.

That being said, 76% of the B2B buyers would like to speak to a Salesperson when making a first time purchase. What is important to note here is that the are looking at a Salesperson as someone who could offer them a ‘solution to their problem’ and not be a ‘brochure talker’.

The figure falls down to 50% for repeat purchases of products with different specifications and only 15% would like to meet a Salesperson in the case of a re-ordering of the same product.

2. Response Time and Product Knowledge are Critical

Slow response times are buyers’ biggest complaint.

30% of the buyers of industrial products said that they preferred to speak to Distributors because manufacturers’ sales reps take too long to get back to them. Poor knowledge of the product was seen a detterent by 14% of the respondents. This is a significant problem area with millennials in the work force with low attention span, bad or learning unfriendly content and geographically dispersed sales teams. However, this problem can be solved by having a proper Sales Enablement practice within the organisation and unsing a sales enablement tool like Outsell.

3. After Sales Service is more important than you thought

Post-sale, suppliers’ slow response would drive buyers to competitors.

42% might desert you for slow after Sales service, hence, invest in your sales force.

a. Build Digital Assets 

Make your products easy to find, easy to compare, comparison engine on your site, click to chat functions etc can reduce your sales cycle time. And yes, do send automatic email reminders for repeat customers.

(Half of B2B buyers rely on sellers to reach out to them on information when to re-order, but according to the survey many sellers disappoint.)

b. Invest in Sales Knowledge

Two areas are now important in terms of the Sales force productivity

i. Product Knowledge along with Training on the job

ii. Access to all Sales collateral on their mobile devices

This way, the sales persons are more effective in their customer conversations and can rely on data, handle product queries and troubleshooting questions better which in effect helps customers in their complex buying needs and at the same time this builds trust which helps in customer retention

You can read the survey here.

Happy Selling!