The B2B Buying Process: 8 Steps Until You Get a Call

A recent study revealed an important issue that is critical for all B2B marketers. Using data from a survey of B2B buyers, researchers constructed the steps B2B companies take to purchase products and services.1

Figure 1 shows the nine steps that buyers traverse until they select a vendor. The first step was conducting anonymous research, followed by developing an informal list of vendors, and collecting preliminary information on cost. Speaking with a vendor’s representative was identified as the last step in the nine-step process.

Figure 1. The B2B Buying Process

(The figure 1 timeline reflects the highest percentages respondents indicated for each step.)

The study also reported that the current pandemic environment is reshaping elements of B2B purchasing. Some participants (33%) said the current conditions had escalated some purchases due to changing business needs. Others (23%) mentioned they were looking for more hands-on attention/engagement from solution providers. And some (20%) said they had to delay potential purchases due to budget freezes.

TW’s Take

We knew that B2B buyers performed most of their research online before contacting a vendor. But this study drives home the point that most of the purchasing process occurs under the water line, out of sight of the vendor’s sales force. It raises the importance of running an effective lead nurturing campaign, one that consistently puts high-value, educational content in front of the prospect throughout the extended B2B buying cycle. When coupled with a targeted account-based marketing effort, lead nurturing will keep a seller engaged with potential purchasers, even if they are not in contact with your company.

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Next post: Sources of B2B Buyer’s Information

1 Source: 2021 B2B Buyers Survey Report, DemandGen, June 2021.