B2B Sales Road Has Grown More Long And Winding: Study

Despite technology, the B2B sales journey is more complex and has more detours than it ever did, judging by The New B2B Experience, a study by Showpad.

Among other things, buyers are spending more time researching products, and a growing number of stakeholders are involved in purchasing decisions.

Left to their own devices, buyers spend 20 hours researching before they reach out to a sales rep.

Of the 656 buyers polled, 64% go to vendor websites and 59% see peer reviews on sites like G2Crowd and 49% have conversations with peers. 

When it’s time to contact a sales rep, 56% email their reps and 54% prefer to call. 

Videos are critical for high-ticket deals, both for personal information and for selling the C suite. However, 60% of C-level types prefer peer reviews over all other types of research. 

The study doesn’t offer insights on email marketing per se. But the import is clear: Follow-up is critical, and so are triggered emails based on buyer behavior and preferences.



In a recent survey of 229 marketers by Ascend2, 47% said email is an effective nurturing tactic, which beat out content or video marketing (45%), social media (40%), web personalization (33%) and search engine optimization (33%). 

Clearly, relevance is paramount in whatever channel you use. And content must be clear and complete. Here are the main obstacles to purchasing:

  • Not enough information applicable to my purchase — 39.99%
  • Not enough information available — 32.16% 
  • Difficulty showing ROI — 28.81%
  • Information was confusing — 27.99%
  • I did not trust the information I found — 20.68%

And there is no question that the process is taking longer. The buyers say that timing has:

  • Stayed the same — 36.62% 
  • Increased somewhat — 32.47%
  • Increased significantly — 22.26%
  • Deceased somewhat — 7.77%
  • Deceased significantly — 1.98%
What slows things down? Here are the factors:
  • Disagreements over price — 37.96%
  • Difficulty understanding information — 32.62% 
  • Difficulty sharing information internally — 29.57%
  • Disagreements over product capabilities — 22.87% 
  • Disagreements over ROI — 22.71%
  • Sales rep wasn’t knowledgeable — 12.96%

In the end, 70% of buyers crave contact with sales reps above all else. And 38% say interacting with reps beats doing research on their own. Preference for sales reps is especially prevalent in the C suite.

Here are a few other tidbits to keep in mind:

  • 72% say timeliness of response to an inquiry is extremely important.
  • 86% are overwhelmed when presented with more than 10 pieces of content, and 42% feel the same when given more than five. 
  • 53.51% say technical specs are useful content, and 48.78% cite case studies, far outpolling white papers and infographics.
  • 45% say personalized content portals would accelerate purchasing decisions. 
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