During my last speech, I mentioned that corporate buying deals were taking longer after the pandemic. An audience member asked why so I dug deep for some research about this. It turns out that more than half of B2B execs report an increased timeline. Here it is…read it and weep..
Taking More Time
60% of buyer in a recent KornFerry study said that they give research more time. This could be because there is simply more information and more vendors to sort through. We are living in a glut of data. Most of the time, it takes time to wade through the relevant stuff. That’s why it’s taking so much longer for every purchase, both personal and for business.
Buying groups have increased to an average of 2-6 people. That’s a 20% increase over just last year and this number keeps on growing every year. Worse yet for vendors is when corporations form buying committees. This prolongs the cycle even further due to the difficulty of managing different agendas and personalities in the buying function.
Shift of Timeline to Marketing
79% of buyers said that they will not call a vendor’s sales rep until their needs are fully defined. This number has grown every year, indicating a shift from a buying journey affected by marketing messaging and content vs. sales. If buyers are more involved in looking at the marketing info of a company up front and are spending a much longer time than they did before, that’s why sales reps are still waiting and waiting for the magic call.
Buyers Look At Everything
So we know that buyers are spending more time to look at more marketing info about the purchase they’re about to make. But where are they spending time looking at info? The answer is–Everywhere. They speak to past vendors, industry experts, their online networks, industry publications, peers, vendor websites and trade organizations. Interestingly, what they don’t look at (according to this research) are company press releases or a company’s own content marketing. They are more interested in what experts have to say instead. Makes a really good case to position yourself as an industry expert who is endorsed by the governing body of said industry, doesn’t it?
The buyer’s journey may take longer but the one thing that hasn’t changed is what buyers are looking for: a vendor who understand their needs better than anyone else.