You may think you know everything there is to know about business-to-business (B2B) sales. But the truth is, B2B is a constantly-changing field with new trends every year. The sales process is becoming increasingly less linear and more dependent on video communication. As you peruse this list of 13 surprising facts about B2B data, you will notice that the B2B data statistics tell an interesting story. Not only are new technologies changing this field, but the Covid-19 pandemic has also changed the game for people working in B2B sales.
B2B Buyers Only Spend 17% of Their Buying Time Meeting With Suppliers. (Gartner)
The amount of time buyers spend talking to suppliers has dropped dramatically over the years. This is large because of the freedom the internet has given buyers. While suppliers were once the sole source of information about products and services, endless internet resources have sprouted. The contemporary buyer spends 27% of their buying time researching independently online, 22% meeting with a buying group, 18% researching independently offline, 17% meeting with suppliers, and 16% of their time using other research methods. This sobering statistic is proof that the time that suppliers get to meet with their buyers has become incredibly valuable and needs to be used wisely.
77% of B2B Buyers State Their Latest B2B Purchase Was Very Complex Or Difficult (Gartner)
The switch from speaking to suppliers to internet research has not been universally pleasant for buyers. Many buyers have found the wealth of information available on the internet downright intimidating. Sometimes it can be tough to tell which reviews are honest and which were paid for by the supplier. This conundrum can make buyers intimidated and confused, which means we need to be patient with them.
There Are Six Jobs Customers Must Complete to Make a B2B Purchase (Gartner)
Gartner outlined the six jobs that customers need to complete to make a B2B purchase as “1) problem identification, 2) solution exploration, 3) requirements building, 4) supplier selection, 5) validation, and 6) consensus creation”. This long process can be taxing on the client, and it is important to take them into account when you consider client needs.
Customers Are 2.8 Times More Likely to Make a B2B Purchase With Better Information (Gartner)
So how can you make this process much easier? You can ensure that your buyers have plenty of correct, clear, and concise product information. This information can be a game-changer for buyers who find themselves inundated by the wealth of disorganized internet feedback.
The B2B Buying Process Is Less Linear Today (Gartner)
We generally think of the B2B buying process as a linear process, but in fact, it can be quite convoluted and cyclical. Although all buyers go through the same six steps in the buying process, they may be doing them in a different order or cycling back to a previous step if a supplier falls through.
60% of B2B Sales Organizations Will Transition to a Data-Driven Selling Approach By 2025 (Gartner)
Data has always been an important component of B2B sales organizations, and most forecasters predict that this will only increase. Gartner predicts that 60% of B2B sales organizations will transition to a data-driven sales approach by 2025. This is on top of all the organizations that have already made the switch.
80% of B2B Sales Interactions Between Suppliers and Buyers Will Occur in Digital Channels by 2025 (Gartner)
Another prediction that Gartner has made is that “80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels by 2025”. This prediction is based on the precipitous rise digital sales have seen during the Covid-19 pandemic. Even as the impact of the pandemic has eased and business can be conducted in person, many sales are still being made online because it is simpler.
More Than 75% Buyers and Sellers Say They Now Prefer Digital Self-Serve and Remote Human Engagement Over Face-to-Face Interactions (McKinsey)
Even when buyers have the chance to make their sales in person, many are choosing digital self-serve or remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions. This is usually because these interactions are more time-efficient, and as video conference technologies improve, this will become an even better option.
The Majority of B2B Sellers Believe That Digital Sales Are More Effective Than Face-to-Face (McKinsey)
Most B2B sellers agree with buyers that digital sales are superior. Sellers are finding it much easier to set up a video conference with a buyer than to make time to see them face to face.
Buyers Are Quite Comfortable Making Big Purchases Using Remote or Self-Service. (McKinsey)
One of the big concerns that sellers had as they transitioned to digital sales was: “Will buyers feel comfortable making big sales without the in-person support of a sales rep?” This is one of the primary reasons why many sales reps were initially resistant to the idea of digital sales. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and the business adaptations it caused proved the opposite. People are quite comfortable making large purchases online. “Notably, 70 percent of B2B decision-makers say they are open to making new, fully self-serve, or remote purchases in excess of $50,000, and 27 percent would spend more than $500,000.”
Digital Buyer Interactions With Sales Reps Over Video Have Increased 41% Since the Pandemic. (McKinsey)
This statistic shows the staggering shift to video conferences that the past two years have ushered in. Since the pandemic began, digital buyer interactions with sales reps over video have increased 41% above pre-pandemic levels.
Another way to look at this shift is through revenue. Video-related sales interactions are generating 69% more revenue than they were before the pandemic. This shift has led many companies to prioritize improving their video conference technology, allowing them to support a small and mighty sales team that can be much more time-efficient.
At Least 70% of Sales Reps Prefer Video Conference Interactions Over Traditional Phone Calls (McKinsey)
But when it comes to how sales teams connect with buyers remotely, the medium is important. Fortunately, sales reps are nearing consensus when it comes to the best way to connect with clients remotely. Sales reps enjoy video conference because it is often of better quality, they can easily present slides to their clients, and they can interpret buyer body language.
The Big Takeaway
So what do all of these statistics mean? We know the means our buyers are using to research products are more diverse than ever before, and so we must give these buyers strong, reliable information to help them make informed decisions.
It also means that we need to be patient with buyers and understand that they have a lot to think about when choosing a supplier. We also know that the pandemic has entirely and permanently changed the way B2B sales are made.
Fortunately, many buyers and sales reps are happy with this change and are ready to make big purchases online and make big decisions over video.