Report: Today’s B2B buyers want self-serve, not salespeople

by | Aug 18, 2022 | Technology

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According to a recent report from TrustRadius called the 2022 B2B Buying Disconnect, B2B buyers want to learn about products from trusted sources, including review sites, communities and forums and analyst rankings.

Like regular consumers, B2B buyers use a variety of resources to research products, and their first step is rarely contacting the seller. The majority of buyers (77%) said once they identified a need, their first step was to do their own research, whether checking review sites, conducting a Google search, reaching out to a peer, or seeking advice from a consultant or analyst. Only 23% contacted a sales representative.

Year-over-year, usage of vendor resources declined across all segments. Five out of six vendor-provided information sources saw drops in usage from 2021 to 2022. More notably, buyers across all company-size, purchase-price, and generation segments reported using vendor sales representatives less than ever before. In 2021, 43% of buyers reported consulting vendor sales representatives, making it the fourth most commonly used resource. This year, it dropped to just one out of four buyers.

Self-serve expectations

In the 2021 report, 87% of buyers wanted to self-serve part or all of the buying journey. Today, it’s virtually 100%. This new self-serve buyer wants content like pricing, user feedback, and product demos readily available and easy to access without engaging with a salesperson.

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The top three things buyers say tech vendors can do to make them more likely to buy are publishing pricing on the website (71%), making demos or free trials available (70%), and showing customer reviews on the site (35%).

As buyers create their short list, demos and free trials are increasingly important to them. Buyers want hands-on experience using your product. Product demos are the top resource that buyers use during the evaluation process, with 59% of buyers using them. Additionally, this year the use of free trials skyrocketed from 41% in 2021 to 56% in 2022.

The top three most impactful resources are all forms of firsthand experience: product demos (71%) again topped the list, followed by free trial/free account (67%) and prior experience with the product (67%).

How NOT to sell a product to B2B buyers

When asked to name the things technology vendors aren’t doing as well, 57% of buyers named “no software pricing available on website” and 48% named “unclear messaging about what they do” among the top three things vendors do to make them less likely to buy.

And it probably comes as no surprise that buyers named cold calls (64%) as the number one reason they are less likely to buy a product from a vendor.

Data for the TrustRadius 2022 B2B Buying D …

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