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Blurred Lines: B2B Buyers Expect B2C Experiences

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By Bobbi Steward

Published a year ago

Updated a year ago


B2B sales is undergoing a seismic shift, with open access to information and digital self-service experiences stealing the spotlight.

The overwhelming majority of today's software buyers crave an all-access pass to crucial product intel - pricing, feature specs, and demos - without the hassle of dealing with a sales rep.

Buying behaviors like these are old news for B2C sales and marketing pros, who've been catering to consumer demand for smooth digital shopping experiences for nearly a decade, thanks to the likes of Amazon, AirBnB, and Zappos. In this fast-paced B2B sales universe, it's time for software leaders and marketing decision-makers to step up and embrace the self-service revolution that B2B technology buyers are hungry for.


B2B Software Buyers Demand a B2C Sales Experience

In this new era, B2B buyers increasingly demand a B2C-like experience. With millennials making up the majority of B2B buyers, features like mobile apps, product comparison tools, personalized recommendations, real-time messaging, fast and intelligent search, and proactive service have become essential for B2B vendors. As a result, the role of sales professionals is evolving, with consultative, team-based approaches becoming less important as buyers increasingly define their needs and identify potential solutions before contacting a sales representative.


User Reviews, Transparent Pricing, and Self-Service Demos are Winning

A recent McKinsey study reveals that the majority of sales interactions now happen remotely, with more decision-makers using digital self-service tools to identify and evaluate new vendors, and TrustRadius survey data shows that virtually 100% of technology buyers want self-service options for part or all of the buying journey, expecting easy access to user feedback, feature specs, pricing, and product demos. Vendors who want to reach modern buyers should prioritize publishing pricing on their websites and making demos or self-guided shopping experiences available.

User reviews play a crucial role in market differentiation, with over 80% of buyers considering them among the most impactful resources before making a purchase. In contrast, vendor sales reps have dropped out of the top five resources, with only 23% of buyers contacting a sales representative as their first step.

A seamless demo process is also crucial, with 70% of buyers listing "options for accessing a demo" among the top three things vendors can do to make them more likely to buy. On the flip side, 40% of buyers mentioned "having to contact sales for a demo" as a factor that made them less likely to buy. Providing accessible pricing information is another key expectation for self-service, with 81% of buyers wanting to find pricing information on their own.


B2B Software Sales Has Shifted for Good

To thrive in this shifting environment, B2B software sales leaders and marketing decision-makers need to embrace digital self-service and invest in the tools and strategies that create seamless, engaging experiences for technology buyers. By doing so, they will not only meet the demands of today's B2B buyer but also position themselves for long-term success in an increasingly digital world.


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