October 21, 2021
B2B buyers are in a state of change, and their habits are being tracked by some of the best marketing research firms in the country.
Below are statistics that speak to the changing trends of B2B buyers, and relevant data that shows how B2B companies can meet buyers where they are.
If you're a CEO, C-suite executive or manager in a B2B company, then use these statistics below to map out your proof of concept on how digital marketing can help you reach your buyers. And for marketers, these sources of truth reveal your path forward for success in 2022.
B2B buyers are changing, and there is plenty of data to back this up. Below you’ll find the most relevant data for how B2B buyers are changing, which lends insight into how you can reach them.
According to a report by CMO Council, online content has such an effect on B2B buyers, that 90 percent of buyers say content has a moderate to major influence on their purchasing decisions.
A Google study revealed that 89 percent of B2B buyers use the internet during the research phase of the buying process.
A Digital Commerce 360 study found that 90 percent of B2B buyers who use the internet for research visit two-to-seven websites before they make a purchase
A Gartner survey found that the number of people involved in a buying decision (in a company of 500 employees or less) from a B2B seller is now seven-to-eight decision makers.
A study conducted by EB Marketing Leadership Council and Google concluded that more than 50 percent of the decision-making process by technical buyers is completed by the time the decision maker engages a sales representative. In some B2B scenarios, the number is as high as 70 percent. This was backed up in 2018 by a Miller Heiman Group study, and 2021 by a Covid Impact Report.
Gartner research revealed that B2B buyers spend only about 17 percent of their time meeting with potential suppliers when they are considering a purchase.
The same Gartner research found that by 2025, 80 percent of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels. In 2021, 33 percent of all buyers desire a seller-free sales experience, and for millennials, the number is 44 percent.
A Convince & Convert survey found that 80 percent of B2B buyers expect the same buying experience as B2C customers, and if they desire interaction, they expect it in real time.
According to a Harvard Business Review report, 75 percent of B2B buyers will choose the company that was first to add value.
The data on the changing behavior of B2B buyers is pretty clear -- they are becoming more and more like B2C customers. This is evident in their behavior during the research process. However, there is a notable distinction, as B2B buyers will invariably conduct far more research on purchasing decisions than the average B2C buyer.
But the big takeaway here is that B2B buyers value information, and reward the companies that provide them with intelligence. B2B buyers want to make a good decision for their company, and not only do they want to look good, but they need help with their proof of concepts. Companies that provide these resources will find themselves in a good position when B2B buyers reach out to your sales representatives.
Mobile has been a hot source of marketing for over a decade now, and in the last five years especially, we’ve seen a major increase in B2B marketing spending for this channel. The reason is because of the way B2B buyers are conducting research. Take a look below:
A study by Statcounter Global Stats found that mobile and tablet usage surpassed desktop internet usage all the way back in October 2016.
A Google survey discovered that 50 percent of B2B decision makers use a mobile device to do at least some of their online research. In 2020, that number grew to 70 percent.
A Demand Gen Report found that 73 percent of B2B buyers are now millennials, and that number is climbing.
The data shows, again, that B2B buyers are becoming more like B2C buyers, as they are becoming more comfortable using their mobile devices to aid in buying decisions. As more and more millennials become a part of buying decisions, these numbers will only increase. Having a good mobile experience is absolutely necessary for B2B companies to ensure sales in the future.
E-commerce was once only for big companies, or smaller companies that had to use industry channels to sell their products online. In early 2021, and especially in 2020, retailers and B2B companies have been scrambling to build their own e-commerce websites, and get their products on industry e-commerce sites.
A Forrester Research study all the way back in January of 2019 projected that by 2023, e-commerce sales for B2B companies will amount to $1.8 trillion, equating to 17 percent of all B2B sales.
A study by Digital Commerce 360 found that digital sales were responsible for 23.9 percent of all gains in retail spending.
The same study found that 60 percent of companies research two-to-three e-commerce sites before making a purchasing decision.
A Unilog Corp study found that over 90 percent of B2B decision-makers think that the digital sales process will continue beyond the Covid-19 disruption in business and supply chains.
According to the same study, half of companies that operate an e-commerce website reached 10 percent of their overall sales from digital sources.
E-commerce was already growing rapidly, and the Covid-19 pandemic poured gasoline on that fire. B2B buyers got spoiled with digital interactions in 2020, and it seems most have no intention of going back to how it was. Given that so many millennials are becoming decision-makers, it makes sense that they’d fall in love with a buying process that they’re already familiar with.
SEO is extremely important for digital marketers, as certainly every marketing agency is trying to make their clients into thought leaders. This is done by using SEO to get their client’s content to the top of search engine pages. This is easier said than done, but if achieved, the results speak for themselves.
Local SEO has a similar objective to regular SEO, but the idea for local SEO is to become a top hit in your company’s locale.
A Google study found that 28 percent of searches that end in “near me,” result in a purchase.
The same Google study found that 76 percent of people who use a smartphone to find something nearby visit a business within 24 hours.
Studies have confirmed that local SEO is certainly worth a company's time, even if they are a national or international company, as buyers who conduct local searches are highly motivated to buy.
A Digital Marketing Institute study found that B2B leads derived from SEO have a 14.6 percent close rate.
A Bright Edge report stated that the SEO leads close rate of 14.6 percent is twice as high as leads generated from social media.
According to Ahrefs, 91 percent of all webpages in the sea aren’t even read by Google’s crawlers.
A Pear Analytics study found that 25 percent of B2B searches click on the first organic result (not an advertisement).
The same study found that beyond page one of results, the data on clicks is so miniscule, it isn’t even worth measuring.
B2B companies should be aware of the high close rates that come with SEO leads. If you get a lead from content you created and nurtured on the world wide web, then you’ve already added value to your customer.
But getting that value to B2B buyers is difficult, as they’re not searching for content that isn’t a hit on Google or other search engines. Therefore, SEO is not for faint of heart, and requires a digital marketing agency to make your content rank.
When it comes to B2B buyers, LinkedIn and Facebook are far and away the most widely used social media platforms. While leads from these channels are not as solid as SEO leads, or even Email marketing, social media is a great way to connect to clients in different phases of the sales funnel.
A LinkedIn study found that 84 percent of CEOs and C-suite executives are influenced in their buying decisions by social media.
An Engineering.com survey found that 36 percent of respondents indicated that they use social media to acquire engineering-related information, which is up from 31 percent in previous years.
The same Engineering.com survey found that LinkedIn and Facebook are the most widely used social media platforms among engineers, with roughly 80 percent of engineers maintaining accounts on both.
The numbers on social media influence are old, and they are still cited all over the place today. The reason is because the data is still accurate, and it cannot be ignored that the vast majority of decision makers are influenced by social media. There’s plenty more contact points that can be initiated through other social media channels than LinkedIn and Facebook, but if you had to focus on two, you’ll probably find more B2B leads on those.
Email marketing is becoming so effective that many marketers are using it as their go-to action plan. Email marketing gets a bad wrap sometimes (for good reason) because we all receive way-hay too much junk mail. But a quality campaign that’s personalized for the B2B buyers, and run by an email marketing expert can produce fantastic results.
A Content Marketing Institute study found that 31 percent of B2B marketers believe that the best way to nurture leads is through an email newsletter.
The same Content Marketing Institute study found that 87 percent of B2B marketers say that their top free, and organic distribution channel is through email.
The same Content Marketing Institute study concluded that 90 percent of content marketers say that the best way to measure content performance is through email engagement metrics.
The data indicates that marketers have a lot of faith in using email campaigns to both generate leads, and gauge how their content is working. Metrics for emails are easy to obtain and there’s only a couple that need to be captured, such as how many B2B buyers actually open the email, and how many click on your Call-To-Action (CTA). This is great, as skeptical B2B companies can see the data for themselves on how effective an email marketing campaign truly is.
The data that we’ve collected reveals more than a few things: B2B customers are becoming more like B2C customers, e-commerce is a channel that can’t be ignored and finally, digital marketing techniques really work.
Traditional marketing and sales teams that are independent of these marketing teams are still in place in many B2B companies, and this old way of thinking is not dead, but it is dying.
Digital marketing is the latest and greatest method to contacting your B2B buyers in all stages of the sales funnel, and the data shows that if your company isn’t engaging in some of the above digital marketing channels, your competitors certainly are, and they’re reaping the benefits of your absence. And if your company is in those channels and not getting the reward that the data indicates, then get a digital marketing agency in your corner that knows how to nurture leads and boost sales.
Get the support you need to be a digital marketing champ. Get in the ring with Main Event Digital.