A study released by SiriusDecisions on May 14 found that B2B buyers require human sales interaction during every stage of the buyer’s journey, even though digital communication and promotion has become more prevalent in vendor marketing programs.
“The new way to think about b-to-b buying is that human interactions still occur and matter, and that the rise of digital marketing doesn’t mean those interactions go away,” said Marisa Kopec, vice president and group director at SiriusDecisions. “It just means that buyers and providers are interacting in new digital ways.”
Among surveyed information, findings that were highlighted included the fact that human interactions between the buyer and the provider increase as price of solution increases. But even at low price points, there is evidence that human-to-human interactions occur. The highest level of reported buyer / seller interaction for all buying scenarios occurred during the education phase of the buyer’s journey.
As detailed in an article found on Advertising Age, when buyers are trying to understand a business problem or learn more about an opportunity, the top three non-human interactions were searching on the internet (cited by 20% of b-to-b buyers), exploring a vendor’s website (17%), and accessing a free trial (16%). Other non-human interactions used during this stage were taking a virtual tour (8%), attending a virtual event (7%) and watching an online demo (7%).
Several person-to person interactions were also highly referenced, including attending a live vendor-hosted webinar (14%), meeting with a vendor sales rep (9%,) and attending an industry conference (8%). Other types of human interactions during this phase were attending a sales event (7%), talking to a vendor customer service rep (7%) and talking to a vendor product manager or consultant (7%).
These results complement existing data from other buyer reports (including KoMarketing’s B2B Web Usability Report) showing that prospect buyers are consulting more marketing assets – both digital and traditional – before making an informed purchase decision.
SiriusDecisions’ “2015 B2B Buyer Study” was based on a survey of more than 1,000 b-to-b buyers and was released in late May at the SiriusDecisions Summit in Nashville, Tennessee.
Photo via SiriusDecisions 2015 Summit (source)