Channel News

Survey Finds B2B Buyers Willing To Engage With Sales Reps Sooner In Shopping Process

Indirect sales reps may have an opportunity to engage with customers earlier in their buyer’s journey. According to the 2019 B2B Buyers Survey Report, a growing number of buyers are raising their hands earlier in the shopping process, seeing more value in bringing in sales reps to facilitate the journey.

The data collected by Demand Gen Report, a sister publication to Channel Marketer Report, and sponsored by DemandBase, may indicate that a growing preference for anonymity for much of the buyer’s journey is fading. Specifically:

  • 42% said that they spoke to and engaged with reps in the first month, compared to 33% in 2018;
  • 33% accepted outreach from reps for calls and demos in the first month, compared to 23% in 2018; and
  • 25% sought RFP, competitive bids and/or pricing information in the first month, compared to 20% in 2018.

The data, says the report, “signals that sales reps are having a bigger impact on the early stages of the customer journey compared to traditional practices of marketing handing off leads to sales.”

To ensure that indirect sales reps are prepared to effectively satisfy requests for information, channel marketers must make customer-centric materials readily available.

When asked what the key differentiators were for the winning suppliers, the majority (97%) said it was important that the sales rep could demonstrate a stronger knowledge of their needs — 66% considered this very important. In addition, B2B buyers say reps differentiated themselves when they:

  • Demonstrated a stronger knowledge of the solution area and the business landscape (65%);
  • Provided information that was easy to consume (63%);
  • Responded to inquiries in a timely manner (63%); and
  • Provided higher-quality content (61%).

The report provides a deeper look into B2B buyer needs, priorities and expectations, including:

  • How buyer expectations for quicker engagement impact the sales funnel;
  • The importance of first-contact mediums, such as websites and advertising in the B2B purchase cycle;
  • How a stronger necessity for ROI analysis requires sellers to have a steady stream of reliable resources to fuel buying decisions; and
  • How knowledgeable sales reps are helping further educate and accelerate purchase decisions.

Register and download the report to learn more.