So this makes it official: the rite of passage for every new analyst. My first research report, How Self-Service Research Changes B2B Marketing, has just been published.
I covered the premise of this report in my first blog post — but I’ll summarize it here again: multiple Forrester surveys have shown that B2B buyers strongly prefer to conduct their own research, without ever speaking with a sales rep. Forward-thinking B2B marketers will embrace this change and enable the customer-directed research journey with self-service technologies such as contextual help solutions and virtual agents.
Many B2B marketers may feel that this is a risky move — giving up control and resisting the urge to email or call every prospect who lands on your site and guide them along a carefully crafted content path — but after more than a dozen conversations with vendors and their customers to create my report, I’m more convinced than ever that this is the right thing to do. This is true for lots of reasons, which I cover in the report, but the most important one is that we’re all digital consumers now. So the self-service habits we have all learned over the last decade or so are now preferred behaviors — even for B2B buyers, who now just want to be left alone to find the content they need.
It’s also clear to me that the implications of this trend for B2B marketing include more than just self-service research. For example, it will have an impact on how much and what kinds of content B2B marketers make available “free” on their websites versus requiring prospects to complete a form to get access, and how vendors engage with their prospects in the discovery phase of their buying journey — two topics I’ll be covering in reports later this year. (My complete content plan is here.)
Beyond marketing, if you are also interested in what this change in B2B buyer behavior means for sales and sales enablement, I recommend that you explore the recent research of my colleagues Mary Shea and Steven Wright.
Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoy the report, and I look forward to connecting with many of you over the next few months as we explore this trend together.
By the way, you can register for the upcoming Forrester webinar on this topic at the following link.