The B2B buying process continues to get more complex as the Internet offers purchasers more information, more choices, and more leverage over vendors. A recent study by Demand Gen Report* confirms how difficult life has become in closing a B2B sale. But it also reveals how content marketing can offer marketers greater leverage in influencing and winning the buying decision. The study reported that:
- About one third of respondents said the number of team members involved in their B2B purchasing process had increased over the past year. The trend towards committee and team-based buying continues to accelerate, meaning there are more targets that marketers must reach to influence a sale.
- About 40% of those surveyed said they waited longer than last year to initiate contact with vendors. Buyers’ aversion to contacting vendor sales people is increasing, making lead generation even more important.
- About 60% of respondents said the amount of time spent researching purchases increased over last year. Instead of contacting vendors for information, buyers are spending more time online gathering data and evaluating potential choices. In addition, more than two thirds agreed that the number of sources used has increased over the past year.
- Almost two thirds (64%) of respondents said the winning vendor’s content played an important role in their purchasing process. Over 80% said they viewed two to 10 pieces of the winning vendor’s content. Even more important, an overwhelming majority (82%) of senior executives said that content was a significant driver of their buying decision.
- LinkedIn is the top choice among senior executives who want to connect via social media. Blogs are the top choice for non-executives.
This data verifies our experience that B2B buyers are screening and evaluating suppliers well before initiating direct contact. Content has become much more important to prospective purchasers and has become important currency for lead acquisition. A content marketing approach is now essential to implementing an effective B2B revenue generation process.
Source: The 2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey, Demand Gen Report