Numbers Don’t Lie: 9 Trends in Buyer Behavior

With consumers quarterbacking their own buyer journeys, B2B sales teams are faced with having to retire traditional sales processes that simply aren’t working anymore. The data doesn’t lie – in fact, these stats are helping sales teams establish new realities.

Connecting With Prospects

Increasingly, salespeople and prospects don’t make contact until the latter is serious about buying and ready to talk. Consumers spend hours researching websites, blogs, reviews, and newsletters to gather information they previously would get from sales:

  • 57% of the buying process is made before B2B buyers engage with sales (Marketing Blender)
  • 19% of buyers want to talk to sales during the awareness (research) stage, 60% during the consideration (short-list of options) stage, and 20% during the decision (buying) stage (HubSpot)
  • It takes 18+ dials to connect with a prospect over the phone and call-back rates are below 1% (TOPO)

The Short Story:

Sales teams shouldn’t battle the internet for ownership over the research stage – focus on the consideration stage. Reach out repeatedly as it will take time to connect.

Building a Relationship

When a connection is finally made with a prospect, a salesperson has to overcome the inevitable skepticism. Establishing credibility is a vital part of the sales-prospect relationship:

  • Only 7% of buyers view the information or advice they get from sales as “very trustworthy” and 34% view it as “somewhat trustworthy” (HubSpot)
  • Top salespeople are 10x more likely to use collaborative language (we, us, together) than low-performing reps. (Chorus)
  • 84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral (SalesBenchmark Index)

The Short Story:

Sales teams can build relationships by leveraging existing networks, communicating cooperatively, and working with marketing and service teams to provide content that prospects will view as valuable, trustworthy, and informative.

Closing the Deal

There’s no question that a salesperson and a buyer have different priorities, but that doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Timing and topic focus is key to closing deals:

  • Leads responded to within 5 minutes are 100x more likely to be contacted and 21x more likely to be qualified (org)
  • On the first sales call, buyers want to discuss pricing (58%) and how the product works (54%), whereas salespeople want to discuss what buyers are trying to achieve (65%) and reasons to make the purchase (63%) (HubSpot)
  • Almost 50% of deals are lost because of budget (Chorus)

The Short Story:

It’s critical for sales to reach out lightning quick to capitalize on prospect interest. Keep initial conversations focused on what the buyer wants to know about: cost and functionality.

Knowledge is power – keeping these statistics in mind will help sales teams successfully adapt to the more assertive behavior of consumers.