Amy Hayes, VP, Research Director

Show Notes:

Financial constraints are slowing B2B buying. In Forrester’s latest survey of more than 18,000 business buyers, a whopping 89% said they’ve had a purchase stalled, often due to budget limitations. Yet there’s a silver lining for B2B companies, as buyers also indicate that they’re leaning on vendors — and product experts in particular — to help guide their decision-making. Vice President and Research Director Amy Hayes breaks down the key survey findings on this week’s What It Means episode.

Hayes starts by explaining the scope of this year’s B2B buying research. Respondents are business buyers based in North America, Europe, and Asia and come from a broad cross section of industries and revenue sizes. Most (71%) are Millennials or Gen Zers, and compared to older buyers, face different challenges in the buying process. For example, younger buyers more often cite inability to build consensus with other decision-makers as a reason for stalled purchases.

“Younger buyers don’t have the same level of experience that older buyers do to in terms of removing barriers that might exist inside the organization to help them make those purchase decisions,” says Hayes. Sales and marketing teams can help younger buyers by providing assets that help them make the case for a particular purchase and address questions that other buying group members might have.

A particularly surprising finding this year was the influence that vendors — most notably, product experts — have in the buying process. Product experts may be “able to help buyers effectively cut through the noise to find the information that is most specific to their unique circumstances,” Hayes notes. A takeaway for B2B companies is to make these experts available to buyers earlier in the purchase process.

Later in the episode, Hayes reviews the types of content that resonate most with business buyers as well as regional differences surfaced in the survey. She closes the discussion with several pieces of actionable advice for B2B firms to succeed in a complex buying landscape.