Salespeople drive B2B sales, but only to the extent that they offer clear information and have strong digital support, judging by Turning B2B Salespeople Into Strategic Advisors, a study by digital marketing firm Avionos.
Of the B2B buyers polled, 88% say they would turn to a competitor if their supplier’s digital channel could not keep up with their needs. Indeed, 81% would choose a firm with excellent ecommerce service even if the product is moderately higher priced.
But many can’t understand what sellers are saying. And while the study does not say so, that confusion must exist in both promotional and transactional email.
Other studies suggest that email is critical during the nurture stage, especially in the eyes of salespeople. And email remains the top B2B content vehicle, according to a study by Centerline Digital. However, only 18% of buyers in that survey say automated nurture emails are valuable in generating demand.
In general, 59% in the Avionos study say the biggest buying challenge is understanding product specifications/configurations.
Moreover, the study notes: “Only 35% say they feel confident making purchases greater than $500,000 online.”
Actually, we’re surprised it’s that high: You have to be real sure to make an investment of that magnitude online. You also probably have to have a relationship with the company.
Here, too, email plays a role in providing clear information, whether it’s automated or sent by salespeople.
Here are the main purchasing pain points:
And, in addition to the difficulty in understanding specifications, here are the main buying challenges:
Now if you read through the study, you will find that it’s really about salespeople and why they’re needed .
For instance, 69% agree that would be impossible to complete orders without interacting with a salesperson, and 30% strongly agree.
In addition, 94% agree that B2B salespeople generally improve the buying experience, and 39% strongly concur. Also, 51% wish they could interact with a salesperson, and 32% as much they want.
And 76% feel that having a salesperson involved increases confidence at that $500,000 level. And similar percentages believe that about all purchase sizes.
Here’s one tidbit about B2B buyers — 82% are worried about a recession in 2020, but 92% say salespeople will help them weather any downturn.
Avionos has 150 U.S. B2B purchasers with active roles in their company’s purchasing process.