Understanding the Behavior of Modern Buyers
If you’re reading this, you’re likely aware that the way people buy today is drastically different than it was before the internet revolution.
Perhaps you are wondering how you can tailor your sales and marketing strategy to align with modern buyer behavior. It may even be possible you’re beyond frustrated with attracting and converting the right type of buyer for your business.
How Understanding Buyer Behavior Can Accelerate Your Growth
The internet revolution completely changed buying behavior — both in business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) selling. Failing to understand and adapt to this paradigm shift will leave your business stuck in the past, frustrated with your results, and chasing the wrong key performance indicators (KPIs).
Keep reading to learn the top three ways that modern buyers behave and how you can pivot your sales and marketing to attract more buyers!
Research Dominates the Buyer’s Journey
Modern buyers know that the internet has answers to every single question they can think to ask about a product or service. Because of this, consumers are doing heavy research up front, long before they contact any business they might be considering.
Worldwide Business Research has some amazing statistics on B2B buyer trends, the most fascinating being:
- B2B buyers are 57% to 70% through their buying research before contacting sales.
- 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions.
- 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information from a series of articles over an advertisement.
What This Means for Your Business
Because buyers are researching at the beginning of a sales process, how can your business capitalize on this change?
Now, more than ever, there is a growing importance of a strong content marketing strategy!
Content marketing provides answers to the questions your ideal prospects are asking, which they can find during their research that happens before they ever contact you. As we see in the list above, up to 80% of decision makers are consuming content to get the information they need to make an informed decision.
There are two huge benefits to this:
- Producing educational content positions you as an authority early in a buyer’s research process.
- Buyers who consume your content are more likely to be fully qualified and trust your organization when they contact your sales team.
If you’re wondering where to start with your content marketing, this article about Attracting Higher Quality Leads will be perfect for you.
Buyers Have the Upper Hand; Sales Does Not
Buyers today have almost all the leverage in the sales process. The days of a salesperson holding all the information to educate and close a prospect are long gone.
Sellers are no longer the most influential driving force in retail. The old process by which merchants would create a product, introduce that product to their target audience, and then attempt to generate interest in the product via advertisements and demonstrations is becoming obsolete. This journey was almost entirely directed by sellers.
However, things have changed. Modern customers don’t want to be sold to — they want to be engaged. They want to be able to do their own research. They want to have a voice in determining which products hit the shelves and which are shelved. They want freedom to buy exactly what they are looking for, regardless of what the stores might be carrying in stock.
In short, modern customers expect to hold the power in the buyer-business relationship, and new retail trends are giving it to them.
If your organization is relying completely on dated, outbound sales and advertising techniques, your team may be frustrated with how it’s going. While we won’t say that there is never a place for these things, our position is that it should only be an option after an aggressive inbound marketing strategy has been developed and further growth is still needed.
What This Means for Your Business
This leads to an interesting question. What is the best purpose of a salesperson in today’s buying process?
Today, the best role of sales is to facilitate the final transaction when a buyer is at the end of their decision-making process. Sales can help the buyer understand the final details they need to make a confident decision and guide the buyer through the purchase process.
This process is best done by aligning your sales team to your organization’s inbound marketing efforts. If you’re wondering where to start, take a moment to read these Six Steps to Dominate Inbound Sales!
Buyers Expect a Hybrid Shopping Experience
In today’s market, buyers often expect a hybrid experience. This means that more of the buying journey happens online, but not necessarily the entire process.
The COVID-19 pandemic certainly pushed everyone to online shopping for a short period of time, but not all buyers are completely comfortable with only shopping virtually.
Many buyers are expecting to begin relationships virtually and move them into real-world meetings as the sales process progresses. This is especially true in B2B situations with longer sales cycles.
What This Means for Your Business
Responding to this hybrid expectation means equipping your organization with the tools they need to function in both worlds.
From a marketing perspective, you need strong content to attract and educate prospective buyers. Once those prospects have contacted you, your sales team needs flexibility to meet each buyer’s unique expectations. These will include tools like:
- Strong, high-speed internet for video calls.
- A Zoom subscription for recording digital meetings.
- Digital presentations that you can share with prospects.
- Calendar and scheduling apps to simplify the sales process.
Despite the rise in hybrid experiences, there are still many purchase processes that rely on meeting in person and getting hands-on. Imagine someone wanting to build a custom home. It’s doubtful that they will spend that kind of money on a bespoke object without ever meeting your team in person or touring some of your past projects.
Because every product or service is unique, you’ll need to be flexible in combining the expectations of your buyers with the processes you know provide the best outcome for everyone.
How Should You Respond to These Changes in Modern Buyer Behavior?
Modern buyers are drastically different from what we’ve seen historically. The majority of their process is dominated by online research. Sales is being brought into the picture later and later, reducing their ability to impact the purchase decision. Because of this, the role of sales is often to facilitate a smooth transaction for a decision the buyer has already made.
The answer is clear — successful organizations are aggressively pursuing marketing as the best way to attract and convert their ideal customers. Their marketing answers the tough questions, gets at the heart of the buyer’s problem, and builds trust and authority in their organization.
If you’re feeling like this is out of reach, don’t worry. Every day, we help organizations like yours move into the twenty-first century of marketing dominance.