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Adapting to the new B2B buying journeys

The B2B market has evolved rapidly and has strongly differentiated itself from the B2C market. It is now more complex and presents very specific challenges:

  • It is no longer an 'impulse' market - spontaneity is exceedingly rare - nor a market of large one-off contracts. The buyer is now rational, organized and demanding, and he solicits suppliers continuously. Impulsivity has disappeared but the requirement for fluidity remains.

  • Digitized B2B transactions have exploded. There is a widespread belief that the B2C market is more important than the B2B market. But this is not the case... and by far! Annual B2B trading reached $9 trillion, well in excess of the $740 billion trading in B2C.

The reversed polarity

With this dynamic, buyers have become more proficient, and their purchasing processes have evolved :

  • Whereas previously, the sales representative was the first point of contact for the buyer, today the latter prefers in 43% of the cases (54% for millennials) purely digital interactions

  • 57% of the purchase process is completed before the buyer contacts a supplier

  • Buyers want to navigate, at their own initiative, between several channels

  • They demand increased amount of content that they prefer to access asynchronously

  • They expect to be well known to their supplier and to have a simple, smooth, and responsive buying journey.

The poles have reversed in favor of the buyers. The latter claim control of time, and self-service has become their prevalent mode of access.

The challenge for suppliers is to meet these new requirements while offering an impeccable purchasing journey – essential to buyer satisfaction.

In this context, a traditional sales organization risks being gradually overtaken by the requirements of buyers. To accommodate the specificities of the new purchasing paths, a sales team will need to :

  1. Have an in-depth knowledge of their customers and provide them with the information they need at every stage of their buying cycle

  2. Access in real time all critical data for forecasting and carrying out transactions

  3. Focus human interactions on the more complex steps of the process.

Going forward, artificial intelligence will play a key role in the buying process by facilitating the integration of data, applications, and analytics capabilities, making decisions, and managing business interactions.

If you are interested in delving deeper into this topic and learning more about our experiences, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Alexandre Giry Deloison, founder & CEO of GROW



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