The buyer journey is in an enhanced state of flux for all businesses these days, but discussions around this trend tend to revolve around B2C brands. B2B marketers, it seems, are equally struggling with adapting to new customer behaviors, but they have the added problem of a lack of credibility.
While 60% of B2B buyers still consider the vendor influential on the purchase, 58% did not believe claims made by the vendor about the product in question, according to a new survey from TrustRadius.
“Buyers are using end-user reviews and other third-party sources to really validate what they’re hearing from vendors,”says Megan Headley, research director at TrustRadius. “Really generic, obvious over-promises; the availability of a specific feature that the buyer knows the product does not have; comments around ease of use and integration; these are claims from vendors that buyers are questioning.”
The study involved surveys of 608 individuals who either recently played a significant role in an important software purchase decision, or work on vendor sales or marketing teams.
Four questions were at the center of the mission, each contrasting buyer priorities with vendors’: Where are buyers getting information, and how much information do vendors supply? What do buyers and vendors care about? How do buyers view the role of vendors, and how do vendors try to engage their buyers? And finally what can vendors do differently to address disconnects in this questioning?
In terms of improving credibility, the obvious fix here for offending vendors is to cut down on hyperbole in their messaging and simply let the product speak for itself. Survey respondents ranked free trials and product demos as two of the most helpful things vendors can do to secure a client.
In short, B2B vendors may want to explore the writing axiom “show don’t tell” if they hope to keep pace with the rapid evolution of buyer journeys, but the added benefit of such a strategy is in turning customers into advocates.
“There’s a lot of alignment around product demos. Hands on experience with the product is something that buyers want, and it’s something that vendors recognize and are providing, and see as effective,” Headley says. “But the missed opportunity for vendors is their own customers. Buyers want authentic user feedback, but vendors aren’t necessarily providing it, or they’re limiting it to a very small pool of customers.”