Buying behaviour has changed. We know that, because the way we make significant personal purchases now is very different to the way we bought similar things before. The companies that sell to us now use different methods than they did before. So is B2C different from B2B? Not really. B2B buying behaviour has also changed so our B2B selling methods have to change too. If sales and marketing activities are not aligned to the new way of buying, we risk alienating rather than attracting customers.
The main difference in buying behaviour is around the buying activity prior to contacting the seller. Whether it is a private or business purchase, we now conduct our own research of the market thanks to the wealth of information available. We check out product specifications, compare suppliers, look at expert reviews, ask our friends or colleagues and form an opinion about the product, supplier or brand based on available information. All before we start the “buying” process.
Worse, if an unknown seller suddenly imposes on our research process, such a cold call that is actually offering the very product we are looking at, we pretend we are not interested. As savvy buyers, we now know that the seller will try and accelerate us down the path to a sale. Buyers set the rules, not the sellers.
Buyers will buy when they are ready. And when they are ready, the sales process is nearly over and the seller will be successful if he or she does not screw up. That sounds easy, but if you were about to buy something and the web site crashed, or the sales executive was inattentive, how easy would it be just to switch to an alternative supplier? At that point there is no emotional investment; that sale goes down the road.
So why could marketing damage sales?
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