Intelligent SME.tech Issue 23 - Page 51

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Marketers to rethink digital experiences to reach better outcomes

N early three out of four B2B buyers ( 72 %) reported completing a recent significant purchase by ordering and paying online , according to Gartner . A Gartner survey of 725 B2B buyers found that buyers use digital commerce to address complex , new problems and ongoing operational issues , not just product replacements or upgrades . Overall , 83 % of B2B buyers say they prefer ordering or paying through digital commerce .

B2B buyers ’ appetite for digital commerce often exceeds their ability to make successful purchases online . Compared to traditional buyers , digital commerce buyers are significantly more likely to experience purchase regret . Customers ’ embrace of virtual buying has come at the expense of productive decision making and deal quality .
“ The potential benefits of digital buying are so exciting that it ’ s easy to miss warning signs that B2B buyers also face unprecedented challenges ,” said Sharon Cantor Ceurvorst , Senior Director , Researcher in the Gartner Marketing practice . “ The obvious solution – proactive sales rep intervention – comes with its own pitfalls . When buyers report their digital purchase process was primarily led by sales reps ( as opposed to self-navigated ), they make lower-quality deals .”
The survey found that while most deals are transacted digitally , nearly all buyers still engage a sales rep at some point before they buy .
Only 24 % of B2B buyers in primarily sales rep-led purchases completed a high-quality deal , versus 65 % of B2B buyers who self-navigated the purchase process .
Customers are not maximising the value of either digital or human-led channels due to ineffective customer learning . Digital experiences and seller engagements are too often encouraging shallow , ‘ good enough ’ learning .
Most digital experiences are designed to make it easy for customers to follow through on their decisions , even when they are misguided . Likewise , sales enablement resources often provide oversimplified recommendations and encourage buyers to move forward without a full understanding of their own needs .
Overcoming ‘ good enough ’ learning requires suppliers to create self-reflective learning paths that integrate digital and human-led channels to deepen customers ’ understanding of their own needs . When buyers experience a self-reflective learning path , they are 147 % more likely to buy more than originally planned .
This multichannel approach requires a new class of digital experiences . Rather than removing all friction from the digital commerce experience , digital content and sales tools must cause customers to pause , deliberate and make better decisions for their needs . �
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