Conventional marketing wisdom is to highlight the value of products or services. However, a new survey reveals that there are four other more influential factors on the list of top B2B buyer considerations.
Top B2B Buyer Considerations: B2B Marketers Focused Should Focusing on Trust Instead of Value
B2B buyers may have budget considerations that limit the number of vendors they consider; however, when evaluating and choosing among suppliers, the value they receive for the money is at the bottom of the list of top B2B buyer considerations. Topping the list instead are:
- 52% – Trust
- 45% – Personal relationships
- 45% – Responsiveness
- 43% – Quality improvements
- 38% – Value for the money
Trust is a very simple-sounding word, but establishing and building trust can be a complex undertaking. Vendors may have to overcome a buyer’s inherent distrust of an industry or product, prior negative experiences buyers have had with other vendors, lack of knowledge, and so on, just to get their foot in the door long enough to make a pitch, let alone win a new account.
Trust is defined as “a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something.” B2B marketers who have been focused on selling based on price or value need to expand efforts and find ways to convince buyers that their brand is reliable, honest (and transparent), able to deliver on expectations and that their solutions are strong enough to produce the results desired.
B2B buyers who participated in the survey also offered their own hints about the type of factors that lead them to trust vendors; such as:
- 26% – Vendors that understand their business model
- 25% – Vendors who are industry or subject matter thought leaders or experts
- 25% – Vendors that provide a valuable consultation, education or resources
- 25% – Vendors that understand the client’s products and services
Take a look at the LinkedIn study titled “Rethinking the B2B Buyer’s Journey” here.
Top B2B Buyer Considerations: 6 Marketing Tactics to Build Trust with B2B Buyers
1. Program Transparency
The more B2B buyers perceive a brand’s program, products or services to be transparent, the more confidence they will have that “what they see is what they get.” Brands that withhold information about pricing, included features or other important program details risk (a) losing the opportunity to quote self-service B2B buyers and (b) losing trust with buyers who are negatively surprised at some point during the buying cycle or B2B customer journey.
2. Online Content
Brands that publish content online in the form of blog articles, guest posts, whitepapers, videos, infographics, slide shows and other types of digitally-transferred media are often immediately viewed as subject matter experts. Publishing online can also fulfill the B2B buyer’s desire for valuable education, tools and resources and their preference for vendors who understand their industry and business model.
Vendors can build trust with B2B buyers simply by being available to them when and where they choose to engage with a brand. From social networks to email, online chat, texting, telephone and meeting times, the more accessible a vendor is, the more opportunities they will have to influence people throughout the B2B buying journey.
A brand’s accessibility can significantly impact its responsiveness, which also shows up on the list of top B2B buyer considerations. Conversely, it’s worth noting that B2B buyers point to lack of responsiveness as primarily responsible for weakening relationships.
Just as a vendor’s accessibility needs to exist across all the channels where B2B buyers may want to engage, their presence and presentation across those channels also needs to be consistent in order to build trust.
Marketing content that contains information about products or services (and related topics) that is perceived by buyers as objective leads to increased trust. It also demonstrates the brand’s confidence in its customer experience, products and services and can help prospective buyers self-select in – or even out – which can make a brand’s marketing efforts more cost effective.
6. Demos and Free Trials
Brands that offer free trials, demonstrations and samples give buyers a chance to trust that products and services will be reliable and strong. Buyers who participated in the survey listed demos as the most effective type of marketing content a brand could provide, second only to B2B marketing content with product information, features and functions.
INFOGRAPHIC: Trust Trumps Value in Top B2B Buyer Considerations