10 January 2022
It has been repeatedly mentioned that the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly changed our lives both professionally and personally. The sphere of B2B was no exception: the world pandemic radically affected the behavior of B2B buyers, and this must be taken into account when building a business plan for 2022, adapting its strategies in accordance with these trends.
To better understand how the pandemic COVID19 changed buying behavior in B2B, McKinsey & Company compiled a report B2B Decision Maker Pulse. It was compiled on the basis of a survey among 3,600 B2B decision makers from 11 countries.
In general, the behavior of B2B customers has not changed as much as it happened in retail and other areas, but consumer orientation is clearly becoming the main trend of the next year.
The main factor in such changes was that specialists began to work at home. Obviously, the simple and personalized B2C shopping experience is different from purchases B2B and market trends have complicated B2B sales. However, buyers are still looking forward to this experience.
On the other hand, it should be noted that in the current unstable situation, it is very important to start adapting to what Deloitte calls the “next normal”. 42% of marketers mentioned that their marketing teams lacked the bandwidth to adapt to shifting priorities quickly.
Therefore, the 2022 business plan will need to use flexibility to remain relevant, competitive and flexible. And duly take into account the behavior of B2B buyers that we will review in this article.
1. B2B buyer became a millennial
This trend has lasted for several years and will continue to be even more relevant until 2025. Among those who make decisions in the field of B2B, more than 73% are representatives of the millenium generation (age 25-39 years). At the same time, more than 1/3 of buyers are defined as the only decision makers. This is stated in the study Harvard Business Review.
Thus, the increase in the number of young people with digital thinking in professional buying roles has changed the course of the traditional B2B buying experience. At the same time, older specialists began to increasingly focus on millennials and adopt their experience.
2. Transition to digital reality
The transition to online started up yet before the pandemic, but with the launch of global restrictions it became even more relevant. At first it was a reaction to the crisis, and now it has become the norm.
According to the report, over 75% of buyers and sellers say they now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions.
This allows them to get the necessary information and place orders at whatever convenient time. For example, using the Contact + Kompass service, customers can in a few clicks send a request to search for certified suppliers within the B2B Global Community which covers 60 countries.
3. Big purchases are online
Whereas previously e-commerce was used mainly for retail, now B2B customers are sure that large purchases are more convenient to be made on the Internet.
According to the B2B Decision Maker Pulse report, 70% of B2B decision-makers say they are open to making new, fully self-serve or remote purchases in excess of $50,000 online.
The Kompass Public Tenders service has been created for such large purchases. It brings together customers in the Public Sector and suppliers in more than 190 countries around the world.
Now, more than ever, buyers respect the personal appeal to them. After all, when it comes to the sphere of B2B, we have to create offers for people who prefer personal recommendations.
Thus, personalization is the creation of a specific offer tailored to the requirements of one particular customer or segment. This includes personalizing leads, emails, and even the company’s website. And, of course, any voice and video communication should be personal.
To do this, you need a good internal database in which all contacts are kept, sales are fixed, future transactions are scheduled. However, sometimes in-house database is not in the best condition. If you need to maintain or improve the quality of your data, then the Data Integration service comes to hand. Kompass specialists will audit the data, improve them if necessary and expand the database. This will result in better communications with customers.
5. Trust and support
It is vital for any customer, whether in B2B or retail, to trust their supplier. Especially at present, when almost the entire purchase process takes place remotely. Yes, customers are in love with self-service, but this does not mean less communication.
According to Google research, 67% want more communication during installation and post purchase, and 69% after using the product.
One in three buyers indicate that suppliers still do not provide enough after-sales support, according to Google study.
Such customer support can and should be provided with automation. Enterprises are using CRM or ERP systems, digitizing the work of their warehouses and delivery. The next step will be “automation of automation” – the formation of intelligent systems that will be ready for self-management and optimization without the human help.
Thus, each B2B enterprise needs a CRM system, using a database to correctly identify the clients, buyers and suppliers. It is even more desirable that such a database be continuously updated and extended. If you already work with Salesforce, the Kompass Data App for Salesforce will help with this, connecting the company’s CRM system to the high-quality Kompass database.
6. Customer needs quality content
Of course, a B2B customer would require the most complete and accessible information about the products they need. This is especially true in our digital times, when maximum tasks are solved remotely. Today, customers expect stable high-quality content from their favorite brands.
60% of customers consider inquiring and buying a product after reading any kind of content about it, reported in the infographic “A Guide to Marketing Genius: Content Marketing”.
Naturally, search engines love the quality of material, and this is the prerogative of SEO promotion. But the content should be written to appeal directly to the person. Ideally, when these two points are combined into an effective content strategy. The Kompass Booster package will help to increase the company visibility and increase its SEO performance. At the same time, presenting high-quality and detailed information about the company on the Kompass B2B portal allows you to increase both the corporate visibility and sales efficiency.
7. Omnichannel – above all
Over the past two years, B2B customers have had to adapt to remote and digital ways of interacting. At the very start, it was unusual for them, but, in the end, many liked it very much. Now customers prefer cross-channel communication, the McKinsey report says, and they equally want personal, remote and digital self-service.
This way, if a user visits a website and Facebook page, sees digital ads, receives an email, or look at the POS materials in the store – all of them must carry the same message. Such effect is achieved by a high-quality marketing strategy, developed with the tools of Kompass Global System.