B2B Buyers’ Behavior Requires Marketing and Sales Alignment

Are you a CMO looking to collaborate with your sales counterpart, but just don’t know how to approach them? Maybe you’re a sales leader who knows it is beneficial to work more closely with marketing, but just don’t have the data to back up your desire?

Here are some data points uncovered by the latest Gartner B2B Buyer Survey to support your cause. The answers from the over 700 B2B buyers across industries and purchase types help demonstrate the importance of collaboration between these two functions.

As more buyers take advantage of digital commerce — 72% of B2B buyers completed a recent significant purchase transaction by ordering or paying online — marketing’s role to support those purchases is critical. And it can’t happen in isolation. The sales team is also part of these transactions, whether the sales rep supported the purchase or not.

B2B Buyers’ Information Sources

Buyers get their information from websites. This is not news. But during the purchase process, their leading source of information is from the supplier’s website from whom they made their purchase. In addition to the website, buyers got their information from sales subject matter/technical experts and sales reps. Just to recap, in an environment where buyers are leaning more towards online purchases, they are getting their information from the website (created by marketing) and sales.

Marketing and sales alignment

But are marketing and sales saying the same thing? Not always. Not even half the time. More than half of B2B buyers — 53% — received different information from the website and from sales reps. It is time for these functions to get it to together.

This can start by working together to determine what to say, but also making sure to say it the same way.

B2B Buyers’ Purchase Regret

One of the negative outcomes of the adoption of digital commerce is that B2B buyers who conducted their purchases online had a high amount of purchase regret. We are talking about a considered purchased that involved at least two buyers. Two-thirds of the purchases cost more than $100,000. It is surprising that there was this much purchase regret from digital commerce.

What did that purchase regret look like?

  • 34% agreed that “we should have chosen something different from what we ended up buying.”
  • 41% agreed that  “we should have thought about it more before making this purchase.”
  • And 50% agreed that “with more information, we could have made a better decision.”

These regrets could be prevented by more attention from marketing. Vendors want buyers to be happy with their purchases, and if buyers need friction in their buying process to slow them down, that can be done. Compelling content and digital guided selling tools can help B2B buyers slow down and choose the best solutions. Even stronger encouragement on the website to utilize a sales rep can help.

But it is the collaboration between marketing and sales that can improve all of this. Identifying the right audience, know what to say to them and even how to measure success will reduce some of the regret.

The more vendors know about their buyers, the more they can provide solutions to meet their challenges. CMOs and sales leaders must align on the information that is available on the website and through the sales rep to improve buyers’ decisions.

The post originally appeared on the Gartner Blog Network.

Jeffrey L Cohen

Jeffrey L Cohen