B2B Buying Experience
What is the B2B Buying Experience?
The B2B buying experience is the process businesses go through when purchasing products or services from another business. The buying experience includes everything from researching and comparing different vendors, to negotiating terms and conditions, to making the actual purchase.
During the buying experience, buyers aim to find the best possible product or service at the most favorable price. They consider several factors, including quality, reliability, customer service, and delivery times. Understanding these criteria and the steps in the buying process helps companies create an outstanding experience that converts prospective buyers into long-term customers.
- B2B buyer experience
- buyer journey
- buying journey
- buying process
Goals of the Buying Experience
For B2B companies, the buying experience is optimized to meet revenue-oriented goals, which are:
- increase top-line growth
- improve margins
- reduce costs
- Improve buyer engagement
- improve customer retention
Top-line growth is achieved by acquiring new customers and growing existing relationships. To improve margins, companies must focus on selling higher-value products and services and improving operational efficiency. Reducing costs can be accomplished through streamlining processes, automating tasks, and negotiating better terms with suppliers. Finally, improving customer retention leads to increased revenue through repeat business and referrals.
Steps for an Exceptional B2B Buying Experience
Gartner reports that 77% of B2B buyers state that their latest purchase was complex or difficult. A primary factor in the complexity of the B2B buying experience is that 6 to 10 people are involved when purchasing a complex solution. Therefore, businesses must understand the buying process and the vendor evaluation criteria involved in purchasing their products or services to optimize the buying experience.
Many factors impact the buying experience. For example, how products and services are displayed on a website can influence whether or not customers will be able to find what they are looking for. Additionally, the pricing of products and services can also impact whether or not customers purchase.
Let’s look at the steps involved in optimizing the buying experience:
Identify Customer Pain Points
Identifying and addressing customer pain points is vital to creating a remarkable buying experience. It’s crucial to understand not only how the product meets the customers’ needs but also the challenges potential customers face in making a purchasing decision. Understanding customer needs helps companies in the following ways:
- improve products and services
- create marketing and sales messaging that speaks to the buyers’ needs
- build a process based on how customers make purchasing decisions
- offer the right solution to the customer during the sales process
- build trust and rapport
- create a competitive advantage
Understand Where Prospects are in the Buying Process
It’s vital to understand every step a buyer takes in purchasing to understand their decision-making process and provide the best possible experience. In addition, sales and marketing teams must understand where each individual buyer is in the process to address their concerns at their current stage and help move them further toward making a decision.
There are generally three stages to the buyer journey:
- Awareness: The customer is aware of their problem or need.
- Consideration: The customer considers options for solving their problem or filling their need.
- Decision: The customer has decided on a particular product or service and is ready to make a purchase.
Understanding these stages in the buying journey enables marketing and sales to provide prospective customers with the information they need at their current stage in the buying process to help them make a purchasing decision.
Provide a Frictionless Sales Process
An exceptional buying experience guides customers through the sales process with ease. Friction is anything that gets in the way of a sale and makes it harder for a prospect to buy. There are many different types of friction that can occur during the sales process. Some common examples include:
- long or complicated sales cycles
- difficult or uncooperative decision-makers
- lack of budget
- unclear requirements
- competing priorities
Sales and marketing teams can mitigate or eliminate these types of friction and make it easier for prospective customers to purchase. Here are a few tips on how to provide a frictionless buying experience in B2B sales:
- Understand the buyer’s needs: As mentioned above, the first step is understanding what the buyer wants and needs. What are their pain points? What are their goals? What are their budget constraints? The better a business understands its buyer, the easier it will be to provide a frictionless buying experience.
- Map the buyer journey: There is no typical B2B purchase and the buying decision process doesn’t always follow a sequential, linear order. Therefore, revenue teams must map the buyer journey and determine all the decision-makers involved at each step to discover how prospective buyers flow through the buying process. Only then will the organization fully understand how to streamline the sales process.
- Simplify the sales process: A long and complicated process is one of the surest ways to create friction. Make sure the sales process is as streamlined and efficient as possible.
- Be responsive to buyers: Time is of the essence in any B2B sale. Buyers are pressured to make decisions quickly, so sellers must be responsive to their inquiries. Accelerating lead response time can help sales teams close more deals, so it’s vital to use sales enablement tools that will help reduce response time.
- Provide relevant information: When providing information to buyers, it must be relevant and tailored to their needs. Offer personalized sales content on product benefits, implementation timelines, technical requirements, and comparisons with competitor products to empower customers to make informed decisions.
- Be flexible on price: In many cases, price is the deciding factor in a B2B sale. If buyers feel like they’re being overcharged, they will not buy. Be flexible on price and be willing to negotiate.
Provide Product Comparisons
Product comparisons are essential to the buyer journey, especially in the business-to-business space. They help buyers understand their options and make an informed decision about the best product for their needs. They also help sellers understand the features, prices, and packages that are most attractive to buyers.
Reasons to provide product comparisons in the B2B buyer journey include:
To help buyers understand the different products available
When buyers are considering different products, it can be helpful to see how the products compare. This can help them understand each product’s different features and benefits and decide which product is right for their needs.
To make it easier for buyers to find the right product
By providing comparisons, sellers can save buyers time and effort in their search for the right product. Product comparisons can help buyers narrow their options and find the best solution.
To help sellers understand buyer needs
Product comparisons give sellers insights into the features that buyers value most. Product teams can use this information to improve products and ensure that they meet buyers’ needs.
To build trust with buyers
Buyers are more likely to trust a seller who provides useful content and product information, especially when they are transparent about pricing and the features and benefits of each product package or service tier.
To show value and differentiate your products from the competition
It can be difficult to stand out from the competition in a crowded marketplace. However, by providing product comparisons, sellers can show buyers why their products are the best option. This can help companies win more business and grow their revenue.
Create a Feedback Loop
To create a superior buying experience, allow customers to provide feedback about the product or solution they purchased. Letting buyers know that customer experience informs product design builds trust and loyalty.
The Role of Sales in the Buying Experience
The sales team plays a vital role in the business-to-business buying experience. In most cases, the sales team is the first point of direct contact between the buyer and the seller, and they create the initial impression of the company and its products or services.
The sales team’s primary objectives are generating sales opportunities, building relationships with potential customers, and closing deals. They achieve these objectives through various activities, such as prospecting, networking, conducting market research, producing sales quotes, and presenting proposals. By becoming trusted advisors, sales reps lead prospective customers toward the purchase that is right for them.
The B2B sales process can be long and complex, so salespeople need to be knowledgeable about their products and customers’ needs, and they must communicate effectively with decision-makers within a company. They also play a critical role in ensuring that the customer has a positive experience and is satisfied with the product or service they purchase.
In many cases, the sales team works closely with other areas of revenue operations, such as marketing, product development, and customer service. This allows them to better understand the customer’s needs and the company’s offerings and provide a more holistic solution.
How Digital Sales Transformation Changed the B2B Buying Experience
The way businesses sell products and services has changed dramatically in recent years, thanks to the rise of digital transformation. This shift has profoundly impacted the B2B buying experience, improving sales productivity and efficiency.
Digital transformation of the sales process is made possible by data collected across the buying journey. With the ability to track data and analytics, revenue teams can determine where there is friction in the buying process and then make informed decisions about how to streamline the buying experience for their customers.
This data enables sellers to better understand customers’ needs, their decision process, and the product features and benefits that attract buyers and ultimately motivate them to purchase. In addition, new sales technology enables companies to implement complex pricing models and automate previously labor-intensive and error-prone sales processes.
For buyers, digital sales transformation has made buying more efficient. Buyers conduct much of their research online before contacting a sales rep. It’s now easier to compare prices and find the best deals on products and services. In some cases, buyers can purchase products and services online 24/7, without having to leave the office or wait for regular business hours.
Digital sales transformation has thus changed the landscape of the B2B buying experience, making it more convenient, efficient, and effective.
Buying Experience Technology
Several technologies enable an effective and efficient B2B buying process, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, and e-commerce platforms.
In addition, sales enablement technology, including marketing and email automation, sales intelligence tools, CPQ software, digital sales rooms, contract management software, and eSignature solutions are continually evolving the way companies optimize the sales process to improve the buying experience.
CRM software can help to manage customer data and interactions. This can include contact information, sales history, and other important data points. This information can be used to better understand customer needs and preferences, and to tailor the sales process accordingly.
ERP software can help to streamline back-end operations. This includes things like inventory management, financial accounting, and order processing. This can help to make the overall B2B buying experience more efficient and effective.
E-commerce platforms can provide a number of different features and benefits like online payments and customer support. This can help to make the B2B buying experience more convenient and user-friendly.
CPQ software is designed to improve the buying experience by simplifying and streamlining the process. It automates many steps in configuring and pricing products, making it easier and faster for customers to get the information they need. Perhaps most importantly, CPQ software can help to ensure that customers receive the correct product configuration based on their specific needs and requirements.
This can help to avoid delays and frustration associated with getting the wrong product, or having to wait for a new product to be shipped.
An example of a CPQ solution that improves the buying experience is DealHub. DealHub connects CPQ, DealRoom, contract management, eSignature, and subscription management, enabling one fluid sales motion for a frictionless process that buyers appreciate.
Digital Sales Room
A digital sales room (DealRoom) is a powerful tool that improves the B2B buying experience. By providing a single, centralized location for all sales information, a digital sales room makes it easier for buyers to find the information they need and makes it simpler to compare different products and services. In addition, a digital sales room can provide valuable insights into customer behavior, helping sellers to understand their buyers better and tailor their sales strategies accordingly.
Ultimately, a digital sales room can help to make the B2B buying process more efficient and effective, ensuring that both buyers and sellers get the most out of the experience.
People Also Ask
What is B2B buying?
B2B buying refers to the process businesses use to purchase products or services from other businesses. This can be contrasted with B2C buying, which refers to the process individuals use to buy goods and services for personal consumption.
There are a few key differences between B2B and B2C buying. The decision-making process is usually much more complex in a business setting. This is because there are usually multiple decision-makers involved, each with their own objectives and areas of expertise. Moreover, the stakes are often higher in a B2B context, as the products or services purchased are typically integral to the buyer’s business operations.
Another key difference is that B2B transactions are usually much larger in scale than B2C transactions. This is because businesses tend to have greater financial resources than individuals. As a result, B2B buyers are often able to negotiate better terms and prices than their B2C counterparts.
Finally, the relationship between B2B buyers and sellers is typically much different than between B2C buyers and sellers. In most cases, B2B relationships are much more long-term and collaborative. This is because businesses need to trust that the products or services they’re purchasing will meet their needs over the long term.
How can the buyer’s experience be improved?
There are many ways companies can improve their buyer experience. One strategy is to simplify the purchase process and make it more efficient. Another way is to provide more transparency around pricing and product availability.
Additionally, improving communication and customer service can help to enhance the B2B buyer’s experience. Ultimately, anything that makes it easier for buyers to find and purchase the products they need will help to improve their experience.
How is the buying experience different from the customer experience?
The buying experience focuses on potential customers, whereas the customer experience focuses on existing customers.