Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What a Buyer Wants: Personalized Advice, Business Value and ROI

B2B buyers are scrutinizing potential vendors more closely, with greater requirements for personalized advice, business value and ROI than ever before, this according to independent research results from the Sixth Annual Demand Gen Report: 2016 B2B Buyer’s Survey,

Getting Personal

With buyers spending more time researching more choices than ever, Demand Gen Report’s research revealed just how important personalization ranked as crucial in the purchase decision-making process.

For corporate web sites and marketing content, respondents indicated the need for “relevant content that speaks directly to them and their company.” In fact, 69% said it was “very important,” while 27% said it was “somewhat important.”  

From these results, one can see that one-size-fits-all white papers, the crack cocaine of content marketing, don’t cut it any more. Instead, you need interactive content can help, providing buyers with personalized content, assessments and analysis based on a quick discovery and self-directed journey.

In an increasingly crowded B2B marketplace, B2B buyers are discerning, wanting to work with vendors that don’t just blindly pitch products and talk up features, but who deeply understand their business and how the solution can help solve real challenges. In fact, business knowledge and insights were a top reason why buyers chose the winning vendor. According to the Demand Gen Report research, 77% said it was “very important” that the vendor “demonstrated a stronger knowledge of the solution area and the business landscape.

Of all respondents, 64% added that the vendors “demonstrating a stronger knowledge of our company and its needs” was “very important,” and 30% said it was somewhat important, according to Demand Gen Report. Overall, it was the second most influential reason why buyers chose the winning vendor.

Personalization means your sales reps and partners need to have superior discovery and assessment skills, to learn more about the buyer and their challenges, and leveraging these results to deliver personalized and provocative industry insights, customized benchmarks, and aligned solution recommendations.

What can you do for me?

It’s not enough for vendors to be familiar with their own product. Today, B2B
buyers expect solution provider to know exactly how any new product will ultimately benefit their business – the business value of the proposed solution.

Buyers are looking for solution providers who can help them identify and illuminate challenges, provide specific advice on how proposed solutions will address these pain points, and deliver tangible business value.

The ability for providers to tie the proposed solution to buyer pain points was key, the top deciding factor in the Demand Gen Report research for 84% of decision makers, over other key factors including ease of use, features / functionality and price.

Show me the Money

Of particular emphasis in the Demand Gen Report research, buyers reaffirmed that ROI remains a top consideration when selecting a new product or solution — especially as many respondents reported limited budgets, increases in the number of stakeholders involved in each decision, and more oversight from company leadership.

According to the research, one theme emerged loud and clear: Many buyers are facing tremendous pressure to prove new purchases will benefit their company’s bottom line.  When asked how their purchase process had changed over the past year, 61% said they “conduct a more detailed ROI analysis before making a final decision.”

And this requirement for ROI is having a tangible impact, with almost half of respondents citing the need for more comprehensive financial justification in stalling or delaying purchase decisions.

The Bottom-Line

The independent research from Demand Gen Report clearly shows how B2B buyers are evolving, and provides solution providers a good roadmap for guiding your content marketing and enablement strategies to help address these shifts in expectations.

With more budget pressure, executive scrutiny and buying committee involvement, the research highlights the immediate need for more personalized advice (not a one size fits all pitch), and the need to deliver more business value and ROI / financial justification content.

What are you doing differently today to address your evolving B2B buyers?

Source: 2016 B2B Buyer's Survey, Demand Gen Report -

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