What Motivates the Modern B2B Decision-Maker
Things have changed drastically for B2B sales managers since the 2008 recession. According to the DemandGen Report’s 2014 B2B Buyer Survey, 58% of buyers said they spent more time researching purchases than they did in 2012 and 51% said they conduct a more detailed ROI analysis before making a purchase decision. It’s no suprise to most of us that sales cycles are getting longer and more people are involved in the buying process.
Risk management is now part of the buying process
So just what motivates the modern B2B decision-maker? In a word, fear. A bad purchase decision for a mission-critical business process can erode a company’s profits and end an executive’s career.
Business owners and financiers have learned a lesson from the 2008 recession. Taking risks in buying and investment decisions has been replaced by managing that risk. By some estimates, $30 trillion in cash is sitting on the sidelines. The Financial Times found that 49% of global influent investors “didn’t want to take any risk with their money.” This psychology creates a self-perpetuating cycle of risk aversion that makes it harder to sell to B2B decision-makers.
So if you’re selling to the modern B2B decision-maker, just how can you adapt to the new buying paradigm of risk management?
Content marketing helps reduce perceived purchase risk
The 2014 B2B Buyer Survey found that “61% of respondents agreed that the winning vendor delivered a better mix of content appropriate for each stage of the purchasing process.” If you’re not doing content marketing by this point, you have a tough road ahead of you. And you need content for all stages of your sales funnel:
- Webinars, eBooks and videos that help explain the problems or opportunities your solution provides help fill the top-of-the-funnel with prospects.
- Comparison guides and white papers that cover different ways to deal with your buyer’s problems or opportunities helps move prospects into a decison mode.
- Case studies, free trials, demos and product comparisons help buyers decide to purchase your solution.
Why is this content so important to the modern B2B decision-maker? Simply put, it helps reduce or eliminate the perceived risk of making a purchase decision.
Sales technology helps you optimize your sales process
An integrated sales technology platform will help you deliver your content to the right person at the right time, improve your ability to generate quality sales touchpoints and identify sales best practices to be replicated throughout your sales team. Sales technology also produces the anayltics necessary to constantly improve the way you interact with B2B decision-makers.
With some sales cycles exceeding 12 months, it’s important to use technology to track prospect interactions and communicate using the appropriate media. A good sales technology platform allows you to tailor your approach to the decision-maker’s communications preferences. Baby-boomers may like phone calls and millenials may prefer text-based communications. Your sales technology platform should operate in all communications channels so that you’re always “speaking the right language.”
Risk-aversion is the 800-pound gorilla of the modern sales process. Use content marketing and sales technology to help minimize perceived purchase risk and connect with B2B decision-makers through their preferred communicationss channels. Every step of your sales process should help reduce perceived risk and make it easy for prospects to buy from you. That’s your key to success with the modern B2B decision-maker – minimize her fear!