B2B buyer expectations are constantly evolving. Your business must focus on creating lasting connections with your customers to increase retention rates for the future. 68% of B2B buyers require suppliers to understand their personal needs before making a buying decision, driving companies to make changes to their digital journey.
With 80% of B2B business purchases being impacted by a client’s customer experience, it’s important to understand B2B buyer expectations. Here, we’re sharing how to create a better purchase experience that will allow your business to cultivate long-term relationships. As you build a strategy to produce a modern buyer journey for 2023, keep in mind the latest B2B trends and how to create a better customer experience.
What are the latest B2B trends?
Buyers are now seeking advanced suppliers that are capable of both innovation and efficiency. With expectations changing by the hour, B2B businesses must keep up with the current trends, and more importantly, anticipate how they’ll shape B2B buying in the months and years to come.
Our latest data study found that nearly half of B2B buyers who have made an online purchase since March 2020 plan to make over 50% of their yearly purchases online. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur via digital channels.
This means B2B companies should shift their focus to digital initiatives that make their online buying experience accessible, efficient, and consistent. Brands that focus on differentiating themselves from competitors and ways to truly deliver on what their buyers want will see the greatest success in the months and years to come.
In our 2022 B2B Buyer Report, 94% of B2B buyers stated that they prefer to work with suppliers that are constantly evolving their digital capabilities. Buyers are expecting up-to-date, unique experiences. And, when suppliers’ digital channels can’t keep up, 85% of B2B buyers stated they would turn to a competitor.
Buyers are now embracing digital solutions – searching for findable and consistent experiences that eliminate pain points during the eCommerce purchasing process. It’s important to assess issues that center on efficiency and innovation to improve the customer experience and align with the B2B buying trends.
Why is the customer experience important?
The cost of not creating a modern B2B buying process is significant. 88% of buyers will turn to a competitor if a B2B business does not keep up with customer expectations.
B2B buyer expectations are constantly changing, making it harder to satisfy the needs and expectations of buyers. Yet, most companies are still missing the mark when it comes to meeting the most basic digital expectations from their buyers. According to our 2022 B2B Buyer Report, 97% of online buyers experience some sort of pain point during the eCommerce purchasing process.
What can those pain points look like for buyers?
- Difficulty integrating suppliers’ solutions with their own solutions
- Suppliers not evolving as quickly as their industry/customer needs
- Inability to connect effectively with support teams about their issues
Understanding what your buyers’ needs and expectations are and continuously satisfying both can make your business stand out from others. 81% of B2B buyers will still choose a supplier with excellent customer portal capabilities over a lower price alternative.
B2B buyers offer a clear roadmap about where suppliers can improve. Here are a few actions vendors can adopt to create a positive customer experience:
- Having online product information that is up to date and accurate
- Creating more user-friendly eCommerce websites and/or apps
- Enabling the ability for human contact for technical support
How do you create a better customer experience?
To create a modern B2B buyer journey you need to consider three factors:
- Where your buyers were
- Where they are now
- How aware your company is of buyer expectations.
The pandemic accelerated the digital era, making it more challenging than ever for B2B companies to predict customers’ expectations accurately. Now B2B buyers rely on salespeople less and internet sources more – a buying reality that continues to grow.
The number one spot buyers start their purchase process is the supplier’s website, tied with Google, LinkedIn, and existing supplier relationships. Buyers prefer using digital sources, which means they are expecting more during the buying journey. To keep up with digital demand, suppliers need to ask themselves:
- Is our technology not meeting buyer needs?
- Is internal alignment not happening?
- Are we not personalizing our communication?
B2B companies need to find collaborative ways to optimize the customer experience and drive business growth. Having technology that is not innovative and doesn’t meet customer expectations will take value away from your business.
Internal alignment is crucial to provide value and insights at all levels of the buying journey. People and processes must change to stay ahead of the outside world and its impact on the customer experience.
Who owns the customer experience?
B2B businesses have the power to make or break the customer experience based on their strategy. Now is the time for companies to adopt a customer-centric approach and evolve based on their customers’ needs and wants.
Internal technology and team and strategy alignment are also paramount to success. As the buying journey becomes more modernized, buyers are going to want seamless digital experiences. This means updating outdated IT infrastructure, software and systems to keep up with those needs.
Buyers also desire buying experiences that have value at every level. Establishing collaboration within a company’s internal alignment and providing customers with the level of service and support they need to make a purchase decision can add value along the way. If done correctly, everyone in the company will have a deeper understanding of the importance of a seamless buyer experience.
To meet the needs of buyers in 2023, organizations need to focus on digital initiatives that support customer expectations and future-proof their business in real time. Customer data tells us exactly what customers want, where their pain points are, and how companies can improve their digital experience. It’s up to businesses to extract insights and feedback from that data to optimize the customer experience as trends arise.
If you’re looking for more guidance as you improve your customer experience, contact an Avionos digital transformation member or download our 2022 B2B Report.