The Slow Reveal: B2B Buyers Are 70% Through Cycle By The Time They Engage

Advisory to B2B sellers: By the time buyers contact you, they are already 70% through the buying journey. 

They have passed the awareness and consideration stages — a cycle that takes eight months.  All that is left is the decision stage, according to the 2023 B2B Buyer Behavior Report, a study released Monday by 6sense.

Thus, 84% of deals are won or lost before the seller is even aware of them.

Of the buyers polled, 83% initiate the first contact with vendors — when they are ready to engage. By this time, 78% have either totally or mostly established their business requirements. 

Brands must assert themselves long before the 70% stage — via thought-leadership content, one-on-one subject-matter expert consultants, practitioner communities or educational events.  



This is also the stage when marketing emails can act as an introduction to or reminder of the vendor’s products/services. Only a minority of buyers respond to emails, but email does better in this regard than vendor ads or website registrations. But it's critical to know who to email — buying teams typically are comprised of nine people.

Here is the list of interactions with winning vendors: 

  • See, but not click on a vendor ad — 14%
  • Click on a vendor ad — 20% 
  • Attend a vendor-sponsored event (e.g., dinner) — 42% 
  • Register for a vendor online event (webinar or similar) — 31%
  • Fill in a form to view vendor content — 31%
  • Meet in vendor’s physical offices or other locations — 35%
  • Respond to a sales or SDR call — 37% 
  • Respond to a sales or SDR email — 37%
  • Engage in chat on a vendor website — 41%
  • Proactively contact a vendor company for more info — 50%

Through the buyer’s journey, here are the types of interactions they have:

  • Virtual meetings with vendors — 55%
  • Internal meetings with the buying team — 52%
  • In-person meetings with vendor — 45%
  • Consuming vendor content — 43%
  • Reading analyst reports — 39%
  • Meeting with analysts/consultants — 37% 
  • Talking with peers — 33%
  • Attending industry events (live, virtual) — 31%
  • Engaging in social discussion — 31% 
  • Visiting third-party review sites — 24% 
  • Reading industry publications/web syndicated content — 19% 

6sense surveyed 900 B2B buyers between June and July 2023. Each of these respondents had engaged in a B2B purchase of more than $10,000 in annual value with the last 24 months. 



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