If your business is selling to other businesses, you need a solid digital presence to go along with good old-fashioned sales.

CEB (Gartner) Presents its Research on B2B Purchase Behavior

You matter, but not as much as you think you do

When buyers do their research in the buying process, a study by CEB (now part of Gartner) concludes that only 17% of the buyer’s time is meeting with potential suppliers. And that’s not just you that makes up that 17%. It’s your competition, too. Here’s CEB’s breakdown of time spent by buyers across the purchasing process:

  • 27% – researching independently online
  • 22% – meeting with their buying group (internal decision makers)
  • 18% – researching independently offline
  • 17% – meeting with potential suppliers
  • 16% – other

Get your digital presences in order

What does this mean? It means that buyers are online researching the best option for them. You know how this works because you do it, too. You look at the company’s website. You check their online referrals. You look for reviews. You try to meter their reputation based on what you find out online. Why would your buyers be any different?

Your website should be solid and informative. Although you’d like your site to get your visitors in some sales funnel, there’s a research component that’s as big as anything else. Make your website informative, with the facts that buyers need easily found. If there are stats, facts, prices and catalogs to share, make them downloadable or at least easy to find again.

Also, your online reputation matters. If there’s a popular review site, get on it. If there are high profile industry experts who blog, invite them to profile you and your company.

Don’t abandon your sales team

The study also finds that online efforts are there to get your customer to the sales handoff. People still matter. Multiple marketing engagements with your site and email marketing should tell your team exactly when a purchase decision is at its highest. Automate that process with the final email in the journey inviting your customer to purchase while it lets your sales team know it’s time for a personal call or email to the buyer.

Note: we confidently recommend our CRM software with integrated email marketing.

The buyer doesn’t stop their online research during the sales process

The CEB study also states that 83% of buyers use at least one digital information channel during the sales process. So your website needs to continue to nurture the sale, even when your sales team takes over. Provide deep information that can help close the deal. Make sure your sales team is able to provide links to that information during the sales process.

It’s called alignment. You’re ready to do it now

Motivated? Good. I have your action plan:

  1. Review your website to make sure the information your buyers need is easily accessible.
  2. Get your business increased visibility on industry and review sites.
  3. Track the frequency of digital engagements for potential buyers so your sales team can identify likely buyers and spring into action.
  4. Always be closing – this applies to your sales team AND your website. Your digital pipeline needs to keep feeding detailed product information all the way up to the close.