The pandemic transformed the B2B buying process, moving revenue operations online. Efforts to address changes to the B2B buying process provide insights into what trends will drive the second half of 2022. Here we review some of the most revealing statistics and review strategies that reflect the B2B buying process as B2B selling evolves. How will the growing number of buying interactions per conversion, growing emphasis on digital marketing and content marketing, and data protection laws shape the future B2B buying process?
#1 Changing Buyers Require More Attention
One of the most interesting developments in the B2B buying process that emerged during the pandemic is the sharp increase in the average number of buying interactions. Between 2017 and 2019 the number of interactions increased by only one point, but Forrester notes that buying interactions increased from 17 in 2020 to 27 in 2021, and that number is still rising.
We can attribute this change to the B2B buying process to the pandemic, but also in part to demographic changes for B2B decision-makers. Now, 73% of those involved in making the final decision on a purchase are millennials, and more than half of those millennials are the sole decision-maker for their company according to the Harvard Business Review. Dialogue tech confirms that 90% of millennials report starting their B2B buying process with an online search. Web FX elucidates that these B2B millennial decision-makers are already more than halfway through their decision-making process when they get in contact with a vendor. Evidently the number of buying interactions increases in correlation with an increase in B2B decision-makers with a proclivity to online research. But B2B companies are falling short of meeting changing expectations. By growing digital marketing and content marketing efforts, B2B companies provide materials satisfying the growing number of buying interactions and changing demographics of buyers.
#2 The Growing Importance of Digital Marketing and Content Marketing
Despite increases in the average number of buying interactions and changes to decision-maker demographics, WebFX reports that only 56% of B2B companies incorporate digital marketing into their marketing mix. Hubspot finds the percentage of B2B companies relying on a strong content marketing strategy increases to 77%, but this still leaves nearly a quarter of B2B companies without a content marketing strategy.
B2B companies that fail to incorporate some sort of digital marketing strategy will experience decreased conversion rates as the number of buying interactions increases. B2B companies that fail to adopt a content marketing strategy will experience a similar decline in conversion rates. Given that DemandGen finds 41% of B2B buyers claim to always read at least three pieces of content before contacting a sales person, and 99 Firms finds that 70% of B2B buyers look for content on a vendor’s website, content marketing cannot be ignored in today’s B2B buying process. Understanding what content to write about and how to accurately target digital marketing requires data analysis, another evolving aspect of the B2B buying process. Artificial intelligence serves as a vital tool for performing data analysis to identify target audiences and topics that resonate with those audiences. Aptivio’s TargetAI page elaborates on how AI functions to arrive at these insights.
#3 Data Protection and AI Integration
Changes to data privacy laws challenge B2B marketing and sales teams to unify and analyze siloed data pools. For the most efficient data unification, cleaning, and analysis, B2B companies turn to artificial intelligence. At present, McKinsey & Company finds that artificial intelligence can be used to automate over 30% of sales and marketing tasks.
Aptivio’s AI-powered revenue growth platform guides sales and marketing teams through the evolving B2B buying process to achieve sales pipeline and conversion rate growth. As the first all-in-one platform for revenue operations, Aptivio seamlessly integrates with existing tech stacks to connect and analyze billions of data points. Find out how sales and marketing teams use Aptivio to achieve organizational goals on our website here. To schedule a demo with one of our product experts, complete the form here. As the B2B buying process evolves Aptivio positions B2B companies for long-term success.