Buyers Come in Many Flavors: What Our Buying Study Shows About Buying Behaviors
- One of the most popular topics across the SiriusDecisions client base is insights and guidance on understanding buyers’ needs
- SiriusDecisions’ biennial B2B Buying Study gathers data on buyer preferences across different global regions, industries and buyer personas
- In their Summit Europe 2019 session, Angela Leech and Paul Ferron shared EMEA-focused insights from this year’s study that organizations can leverage to inform sales, marketing and channel decisions at the regional level
Jelly beans originated in the early 19th century. The first jelly beans came in just a few flavors, and the flavoring was only on the outside. Inside, each bean simply tasted sweet. In 1965, the Herman Goelitz Candy Company in Oakland, California, came up with a breakthrough recipe for mini jelly beans that were flavored all the way through, and in the 1980s, the first 40 “official flavors and colors” of Jelly Belly jelly beans were born. Today, Jelly Belly has created more than 100 flavors of jelly beans and remains the best-known manufacturer of this confection.
Although the B2B buying process hasn’t been around quite as long as jelly beans have, it has evolved significantly, as SiriusDecisions’ biennial B2B Buying Study has found. The study demonstrates that B2B buyers come in many flavors, as it analyzes buyer preferences and interactions for various B2B industries and buyer personas, as well as route to market and the role of each buyer in the buying process.
“Most EMEA-based suppliers serve their buyers and customers through various routes to market,” said Angela Leech in her keynote session with Paul Ferron at SiriusDecisions Summit Europe yesterday in London. “B2B buyers behave differently depending on the route to market they purchase through, as well as the buyer role they play.”
The 2019 B2B Buying Study surveyed 198 EMEA-based respondents across the roles of CXO, VP/director and manager. Of these respondents, 48% identified as decision-makers, 35% as influencers, 11% as champions, 5% as ratifiers and 3% as users. Paul and Angela provided a detailed analysis of the buyer’s journey data by route to market and buyer role.
How Does Route to Market Affect Buying Behavior?
Suppliers in the EMEA region typically use one of three routes to market to access and serve their buyers: direct sales, channel sales or e-commerce sales. The number of meaningful human and non-human interactions is consistent across all three routes to market. This year’s key findings for these buyers include:
- Direct buyers. These buyers are looking to engage suppliers beyond the sales rep, and they’re finding more value in case studies are across all journey phases.
- Channel buyers. Exploring online communities has become an imperative interaction for these buyers across all journey phases, and dialogue with a rep is critical in the selection phase.
- E-commerce buyers. Virtual and live events supporting e-commerce in the early phases of the buyer’s journey have a significant impact. Exploring LinkedIn is the most meaningful non-human interaction in the solution phase.
How Does Buyer Role Affect Buying Behavior?
The buying process involves five common buyer roles. Champions focus on business value, influencers on performance, decision-makers on ROI, users on customer experience and ratifiers on total cost of ownership. Here are key findings for some of these buyers:
- Champions. With an increased interest in free trials and user reviews — as well as dialogue with various provider reps — these buyers clearly need to know how the supplier will deliver on its promises.
- Decision-makers. These buyers aren’t easily convinced; they need more interactions and increasingly require an objective view from independent sources in later phases of the buyer’s journey, particularly independently sourced analyst reports.
- Influencers. Since 2017, these buyers have become interested in a much wider variety of interactions, finding value in several interaction types they didn’t value before, such as exploring provider websites and online communities.
So, how do you ensure your company stays at the top of the industry? By meeting the needs of your ever-growing variety of buyers with a tailored, diverse tactic mix.
“B2B buyers behave differently depending on the route to market they purchase through, as well as the buyer role they play,” said Paul, “so organizations must adapt their campaigns and tactics to buyer behavior to accelerate the buyer through to purchase.”