There’s a reason why “the customer is always right” is a tried and true saying in the business world. At the end of the day, everyone’s goal is to satisfy customers’ needs.
As a B2B business, you know digital is non-negotiable to your customers when it comes to how they engage with your brand. Whether you’re selling t-shirts to your field sales reps, napkins to franchise locations, or wood to lumber distributors, you need to provide the best online order experience possible.
As customer needs and expectations continue to change, use them as a compass for what strategies to focus on in the coming years. As we look ahead to 2019, understanding the B2B buyer will help guide your priorities.
Who is the 2019 B2B Buyer?
The connected consumer is going to work. The way that decision makers do business is changing.
In the past, B2B business was confined to phone calls and meeting rooms. Today, a B2B buyer can research a company, compare products, request a demo, or make a purchase all from their phone on the way into the office.
B2B buyers are adopting the technology-centric behaviors they’re used to at home in business settings. In order for B2B companies to remain competitive and relevant, you need to meet customers where they are.
Here are the top 4 traits of the B2B buyer in 2019:
The B2B buyer is a millennial:
Yes, it’s really true. Millennials now make up the largest percentage of the workforce. By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be comprised of millennials.
This means that not only is this generation researching and influencing decisions, but they are also the decision makers.
As a B2B business, you need to make sure that you are connecting with this generation in relevant ways.
Offering ways to meet the new millennial decision maker where they are; online, on mobile, and on social, are key in creating a long term customer.
The B2B buyer does their research:
The B2B sales cycle is changing. B2B buyers are spending time researching and comparing before even coming in contact with a sales rep.
In fact, almost 45% of B2B buyers prefer to identify possible solutions before they engage with a sales rep.
This means that you need to get your products and services in front of buyers during that research phase. Utilizing eCommerce, you can allow B2B buyers to “choose their adventure” or spend time browsing products in a way that makes sense to them.
Giving B2B buyers the option of how they want to do business with you is essential.
The B2B buyer is mobile:
You’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times. Today’s buyers are tethered to their phones even more than in years prior.
Today, about 50% of all online searches are made from a smartphone and this is expected to grow to 70% by 2020.
Being able to find you online, access information about your business, and ultimately place an order is the expectation of today’s buyers.
Not only are B2B buyers looking for you on smartphones, but they also want a great experience when they finally find you.
More than 90% of B2B buyers say they are likely to buy again from a vendor with a superior mobile experience.
The B2B buyer is social:
It’s clear that the B2B buyer is spending more time online – both personally and professionally. Habits that were once confined to personal life – such as scrolling through social media – is seeping into the workday.
B2B buyers are the same people who have been using social media to get recommendations, read reviews, searching forums, and interact with their peers for years.
It shouldn’t come as a shock that 84% of C-level and VP-level buyers are influenced by social media when making purchases.
A “social” buying experience has become somewhat of an expectation. For some brands that means integrating buying capabilities into the social experience, and for others, it means integrating social capabilities (reviews, chat, sharing, etc.) into the buying experience.
The 2019 B2B buyer is changing the game for businesses. Their forward-looking tendencies are forcing businesses to adopt forward-looking technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality and virtual reality. It’s today’s buyers that are going to help shape the next generation of B2B eCommerce expectations.
Are you ready?
This is the buyer persona that informed our 2019 B2B eCommerce Predictions eBook. If you’re curious as to what’s ahead, download your own copy.