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What are 5 critical modern b2b buyer challenges in 2021?

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

B2B buyer challenges 2021

Understanding your b2b buyers better includes learning about various buying challenges they encounter during their purchase decision-making process. It's not just decisions regarding which technology is best for them that they have to contend with but various other aspects such as - navigating through organizational complexities, multiple stakeholders in the buying group, how to make sense of all the information they have gathered, and so on. If you are a sales and marketing leader in your organization, it is important to keep these in mind as you develop sales and marketing strategies and look for ways to better engage with your prospects.

You may think closing a deal and securing an enterprise buyer's business is about how skilled your team is, when the reality maybe that it is about what is going on internally within the prospect's buying team that maybe causing roadblocks and delays. So to see both sides of the coin is critical to appreciate the situation.

B2B buyer challenges -

They are interested in learning about -

  • The problems and challenges they face

  • What kinds of solutions exist in the market that can help them solve these issues

  • Who are the suppliers that provide the kinds of products and services they seek

  • How will the intended product or service solve their challenges

  • Is it that product right fit for them long term? Does it have everything they are looking for?

The list goes on. Buyers want to simply find the best solution there is to address their pain points and ultimately achieve their business outcome. But even for sophisticated buyers of today, this isn’t necessarily a straightforward process. Often there are conflicting facts and data to sort through, not counting the sheer amount of options they need to consider in terms of technologies, suppliers and products. It can get overwhelming, complex and difficult and may cause delays in moving forward.

2. Confidence crisis- Typically, buyers used to rely on supplier's sales reps to help them through myriad of questions as they navigated various purchase considerations. This was helpful in gaining knowledge and having their doubts clarified; it built their confidence in their choices. But now increasingly they are leaning towards a rep-free buying experience ( 43% of prospects are now preferring a rep-free buying experience ) which may or may not be all that workable, especially in terms of having the required confidence while making such buying decisions. You see technology purchase is not easy an easy task, even when buyers know what they want. Buyers need to feel convinced in their choices and not worry about -

  • Picking the right product offering

  • Picking the right supplier

  • Picking the right technology

Also, technology buy is expensive. Millions of dollars are at stake in making such a large scale purchase. And no one wants to make the wrong decision that could negatively impact their business and potentially even their job and career.

3. Consensus challenge- Who is involved in B2B purchase? Unlike B2C where the term ‘buyer’ means an individual, incase of B2B buying, it typically involves a team of six to 10 decision makers , if not more, from various departments. Each member has approximately four to five pieces of information they have independently gathered and sometimes that can conflict with others in the group, making purchase decisions that much harder. There could be conflict around several issues -

  • Do we really need a solution? Even when everyone is aligned on improving business outcomes, one stakeholder’s pain points may not be shared by everyone else.

  • What solution is right for solving the challenges?

  • Which technology is best?

  • Who is the right vendor for our needs?

There are many different view points to consider and competing agendas and reaching a consensus isn't always easy.

4. Similar digital experiences - 64% of customers have difficulty distinguishing one supplier’s digital experience from another. Whether it is through their websites, online channels or any other digital engagement tools, vendors provide similar kind of content and experience leading to buyers inability in spotting differences as they gather information, check and compare suppliers along their purchase journey. Buyers want to know how are you different and even superior than your competitors. Why should they align with you for their digital transformation goals?

5. Trust based challenge - Trust is an integral part of doing business. B2B buyers need to trust not only the products they are considering buying but also the suppliers they are planning to do business with. However, years of aggressive sales and marketing tactics such as making inflated claims, lack of empathy, being transactional and self-serving all the time, have built mistrust in their minds. It is hard for them to fully trust a new supplier based on what they are reading on supplier's websites, marketing materials or sales rep conversations, unless of course they have purchased your product or service before, in that case they have some form of reference based on brand experience. And this can be a huge buyer challenge to keep in mind.

Organizational change is not easy even when buyers are motivated. In an all-digital buying environment of today, it is imperative that your teams find compelling ways to tackle decision-making uncertainties, simplify the process and deliver a superior end-to-end service experience.


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