B2B firms may talk a lot about account-based marketing and developing a more one-to-one relationship with customers, but a recent survey from appointment-setting software firm TimeTrade suggests many of them are ignoring direct outreach from potential buyers.
In ‘What Buyers Want: The State Of The B2B Buying Experience,’ TimeTrade surveyed approximately 300 business professionals during the month of April. While the more self-serving statistics were emphasized — 83 per cent said they would like to have pre-arranged calls, meetings or virtual appointments during the purchase process — there was also data that reflecting a surprising degree of unresponsiveness among vendors.
“Eighty-four percent of surveyed professional buyers reported that they ‘Always’ or ‘Frequently’ do not receive responses to their questions related to a purchase,” the report said. “Post-sale, the numbers were equally stark: 76 per cent of buyers reported that they ‘Always’ or ‘Frequently’ do not receive a response when making support or service related inquiries after a purchase.”
Lack of expertise among those who do get in touch was another issue. For example, 94 per cent said that they tend to buy more from a company when they have live interactions with a “knowledgeable” employee.
Whether they use appointment-scheduling software from a firm like TimeTrade or not, the survey also suggested vendors could make better use of experiential marketing tactics such as live events, conferences and workshops to educate buyers prior to the purchase. According to the report, 79 per cent cited these opportunities as important, and TimeTrade suggested vertical markets like financial services should pay particular attention.
TimeTrade isn’t alone in exploring the level of responsiveness among B2B vendors. InsideSales.com publishes a regular audit of lead response time among a variety of firms. The most recent one, released in April, suggested that the top firms manage a response in less than half an hour.
In a recent article on Forbes, meanwhile, WellBiz Brands CMO Trever Ackerman suggested responsiveness is one of the areas where B2B purchasing is beginning to converge with what people expect in their personal shopping experiences.
“A timely response to inbound inquiries is the difference between success and failure,” Ackerman wrote. “A solid engagement strategy builds good rapport and shows your customer that you are proactively thinking about their needs. In other words, responding to inquiries quickly builds brand confidence.”
Despite the rise of online channels and e-commerce options, the TimeTrade data also showed buyers continue to value meeting in person to discuss certain kinds of purchases, particularly technology products at 92 per cent and professional services at 83 per cent.