B2B Vital Stats 3: playing hard to get

Over the last decade, there have been some fundamental shifts in the way business people buy.

For B2B marketers, keeping up can be hard. This is why we created Vital Statistics for B2B Marketers back in 2010, bringing together all of the facts and stats from across the industry to paint a picture of what’s going on out there.

We feel the time is ripe for a brand new narrative, because the what, the who and the how continues to change.

Watch the film, spread the word, make your board sit up and listen, and please; feel free to share your own vital statistics with us on Twitter using #B2BVitalStats.

When push comes to shove, B2B marketing is about winning the hearts and minds of your buyers – but buyers today seem to need a lot more convincing than they used to.

The trust issue
More than 58% don’t trust vendor claims (even from the ones they buy from). 69% don’t trust ads, and 46% say they’re overwhelmed by content.

This is the age of the self-directed buyer.
Instead of talking to vendors, buyers are putting their trust in themselves to work out who to do business with. 90% start their journey online with search, and 62% rely solely on digital content to set their selection criteria and finalise a vendor list. 68% find accessing info online to be far superior to interacting with a sales person.

They’re also playing hard to get.
Buyers are wanting to operate under the radar: 89% say they conduct research anonymously during the first 6 months of the buying process. 94% saying they don’t want to give details to a lead gen form just to download content, and they’re now two times more likely to share content privately than publicly.

In the new world of GDPR, how do you win them over?
Well, here are five ways that we know of:

One: deliver a great experience
Because 96% say this affects whether they’ll buy again, and if you do, 83% say they’ll offer a referral – which matters when 84% of buyers turn to their peers and other customers for advice.

Two: be the most helpful
97% of buyers want recommendations, solutions and tips. 89% say vendors who make it easier to build a business case get their business, and be relevant – 74% are frustrated by content that is not personalised to their needs.

Three: get comfy with content
It’s true, 46% of buyers prefer shorter content, and will on average spend 37 seconds reading your article. On the other hand, long-form content is considered more authoritative, gets twice the number of shares and it ranks higher in search.

Four: the art of selling is still not dead
Despite only 35% of buyers saying they like salespeople, 76% of them find it helpful to speak to one. They’re also five times more likely to engage with ones who offers insight into their industry.

Five: play to the crowd
Whilst senior staff have the final word on B2B purchases,
The 81% who influence that word aren’t senior. In fact, 77% of those researchers, evaluators and recommenders are millennials. So how are you reaching that audience?

It’s not about inbound versus outbound, or Marketing versus sales – it’s about integration. Because when vendors join it all up 208% more revenue is made.

You could say that B2B marketing is tougher than it’s ever been, but when you tune into what really matters to your buyers, beyond their business goals to what they value personally, they’re 50% more likely to buy.

A little emotion can go a very long way, because remember: business people are people too, and – just like you – they have hearts and minds just waiting to be convinced.