B2B marketers have to speed up their game. Prospects are engaging earlier in the process, and they want custom content.
But they may speed up the process — or call a halt to it — based on changing conditions, according to the 2019 B2B Buyers Survey Report, a study by Demand Gen, sponsored by Demandbase.
Of 250 senior B2B executives polled, 83% of often rush — or delay — purchase decisions based on changing business needs or priorities.
Despite this situation, it appears that the B2B buying process is speeding up.
Of the marketers surveyed, 42% said they are speaking to reps in the first month of a process, compared to 33% in 2018. In addition, 33% accept calls and demos, up from 23% in 2018.
In addition, 25% seek RFP/competitive bids and pricing from “a select list of vendors in under one month,” compared to 19% in 2018, the study notes.
These stats show that “a growing number of buyers are no longer looking to remain anonymous in the early days of researching a process,” it continues.
Therein lies an opportunity. Capture that email address early, and you can start sending tailored content not only in the middle and bottom of the funnel, but right at the very top.
In addition to changing their timing, B2B customers have altered many aspects of their purchasing process in the past year.
For instance, 75% spend more time researching purchases (36% agreeing strongly with this idea) and 74% now conduct a more detailed ROI analysis before deciding (with 36% agreeing strongly).
What’s more, 32%brought team members into the research process in the first month, compared to 25% in 2018.
Ads play a positive role — 68% say they notice them when researching, and 37% feel they lead to a positive view of the company..
However, 27% say that ads do not change their perception.
But here’s the takeaway for brands that use email: Make sure your content is tailored — and informed.
These conclusions are drawn from customer response to the website.
Of those surveyed, 97% say it’s important that vendor sites have content that speaks directly to their company.
Moreover, 96% feel that vendor sites should speak “directly to the needs of their industry,” the study notes. Finally, 97% want easy access to content — that means no gates, even minimal ones.
That demand for tailored understanding extends to sales meetings — 95% say they want sales teams to have insights about their company needs.