In the AI age, reliance on data for insights is table stakes. In the past few months since we completed Forrester’s annual marketing survey, I have been engrossed in finding patterns and correlations in the data about the top-most priorities of CMOs globally and their challenges, growth objectives, key initiatives, technology usage, budgets, spending patterns, and how they benchmark with their peers in the region and globally.

One key observation is that about one in five organizations surveyed believe that their brand perception does not reflect their desired corporate identity or business strategy. There is a gap between what buyers and customers perceive about a brand and how the brand desires to be perceived. In my discussions with CMOs globally and in the Asia Pacific region, I have seen another pattern emerge. More and more organizations complain of lower top-of-the-funnel opportunities, a sluggish sales pipeline, high drop-offs in the middle of the funnel, and far lower conversions and closures. This puts a strain on the system, demanding more effort, resources, and budget while throughput remains low. Our survey also uncovers the trend that the B2B buying process and deal cycles are getting stretched with more people from the buying groups starting to engage in the pre-purchase journey, demanding greater allocation of resources at the provider’s end for every buying decision.

Trust Is Brand Oxygen — Indispensable

If we step back a bit and connect the dots, you will very well acknowledge that a lack of trust is at play.

Be it an RFI situation, vendor onboarding, or a new project assignment, this lack of trust mandates higher scrutiny. The stakes are higher when the deal sizes are larger. When the business relationship is a multiyear one and a trusted one, however, the deal cycle duration reduces dramatically; fewer touchpoints and resources are needed; and there is greater predictability of outcomes and a higher probability of favorable outcomes.

Trust serves as the adhesive that binds B2B relationships together. It transforms transactions into partnerships, uncertainty into confidence, and vendor interactions into strategic alliances. Thus, it is critically important to understand how B2B buyers behave and how trust plays a role in motivating their behaviors, because as recent events have shown, trust is ephemeral, easily lost and often very difficult to restore.

B2B Summit APAC

Join me at Forrester’s B2B Summit APAC 2023 in Singapore, where I will be presenting at a session titled, “How Trust Determines B2B Buyer Behaviors.” I’ll show how and why trust drives buyer behavior, talk about the seven specific factors that influence perceptions of trust, and will also help you build a playbook for building trust with your buyers using this information. As you focus on your priority to implement a purpose-driven brand, strengthening the trust fabric is one area that you can’t afford to ignore.

At the Summit, you will also find opportunities to connect and network with many other analysts and your industry peers, helping you take bolder decisions and be more successful in your role.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Forrester’s research on the trust imperative is expansive. Gain a competitive edge by strengthening trust with your customers, employees, and partners. Contact us to learn more.