B2B buyer survey respondents say they take 40-plus hours researching products and services

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B2B buyers spend the equivalent of a full-time work week researching products and services worth more than $100,000, but 86 per cent feel overwhelmed when they’re presented with more than 10 pieces of content, according to a research study from Showpad.

The Belgium-headquartered firm on Tuesday released The New B2B Buyer Experience, which drew upon a survey of more than 656 B2B buyers across the U.S., the U.K. and Germany. As might be expected, the data revealed a direct relationship between the amount of time firms take to research products and services and their cost. On average, the process of researching a purchase will take 20 hours but can stretch as long as 40 hours for something that costs $100K or more.

While the rise of digital channels has raised questions about whether buyers want to do an end-run around sales reps, however, Showpad’s study suggested the relationship was more important than ever before. A majority of 70 per cent said they wanted such interactions and 38 per cent admitted conversations with a vendor’s sales team offered better information than they could source independently when researching products and services.

These findings show the value of a well-trained, professional salesperson,” Theresa O’Neil Showpad’s VP of marketing, told B2B News Network. “We know that today’s buyers do a lot of research on their own, but if a salesperson can make their time spent more efficient, they become a trusted resource, and are better positioned to close that sale.”

O’Neil said Showpad hopes the report can serve as a benchmark for salespeople and organizations to understand the experiences that buyers really want, and what they’re going through in making key purchasing decisions.

“You would like to think that with the technology and processes available today, the length of the buyer journey would be significantly shorter – however, this isn’t the case,” she said, noting that the report found that more than half, or 54 per cent, of respondents said their buying cycle is getting longer.

Showpad is not alone in examining the relationship between B2B content consumption patterns and purchase activity. Influ2, which offers a service it describes as person-based marketing, recently isolated 1,915 decision makers from the rest of its site traffic and measured their engagement as a total time of active interaction with content from May-July 2018. It found 25 per cent of decision makers spent more than 40 seconds actively consuming content across various campaigns while researching products and services. Twenty nine per cent of those decision makers spend 20 to 40 seconds of active time on landing pages, Influ2 said.

“People who spend more than 40 seconds on your page deserve the attention of your sales development team and their visits should be logged into your CRM software,” said Influ2 founder Dmitri Lisitski. “Your sales reps will not only know who to talk to, but also what topic attracted your prospect’s attention.”

In data pulled exclusively for B2B News Network, Influ2 also showed that B2B buyers aren’t simply doing all work researching products and services during office hours. Overall, decision makers spend 20 per cent more time reading content on weekends versus weekdays and their “evening peak” is 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

In terms of the kind of content B2B buyers want for researching products and services, the Showpad survey said 45 per cent prefer a personalized content portal, followed closely by ROI calculators. Disagreements over price, meanwhile, were cited as the most common reason a sale was scuttled, by more than 36 per cent of respondents.

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.