We’ve all been there.
Despite the herculean effort your agency put forth, you lost the pitch. As the team meets for a deep dive as to find out what went wrong or came up short, the reality is that influencing one person is difficult.
But, influencing the five-plus decision-makers responsible for a major business-to-business purchase decision can feel like an impossibility.
A new study from B2B Marketing and B2B agency gyro may offer some valuable insight as to what happened. After surveying 113 B2B marketers globally, the overall conclusion finds that decision makers seem to make up their minds about business-to-business purchases far earlier than expected.
Launched in 2004 as B2B Marketing magazine, B2B Marketing has since evolved into a multifaceted resource, delivering a broad range of content in a variety of different forms and formats.
It was a natural pairing to go with Dentsu-Aegis owned gyro which was named Advertising Age’s 2016 B2B “Agency of the Year.” Their list of clients is basically a who’s who of Fortune 500 companies including Aflac, Danone, eBay, Google, HP, John Deere, Teva, USG and Vodafone.
The report titled, “Group. Mind. Set. How Group Dynamics Impact B2B Decisions,” set out to find the truths about today’s group dynamics among B2B decision makers. And the results are quite remarkable.
The study polled 100-plus global decision makers to uncover the effect of the precision of today’s rapidly advancing marketing technologies. At the same time, it explored the role that feelings play during these high-risk, career-defining moments. The findings were supplemented by qualitative interviews with top B2B marketers.
“Influencing the five-plus people in a B2B buying group requires, now more than ever, the perfect balance of feeling and precision,” said Christoph Becker, global ceo+cco of gyro.
According to the study, 97% of B2B marketers say group members are likely to have a preferred vendor in mind before the purchase group is even established. This means that marketers need to reach influencers far earlier in the buyer’s journey than many have anticipated.
Additionally, the findings reveal that:
In 84% of cases, the group contains an individual who acts as a champion for the winning vendor. On a side note, having been in the agency business, I saw this happen time and time again, more so when choosing a production vendor, but the thought process was the same.
More than two-thirds of the report’s respondents cited content, research and expertise as the most likely way to influence decision makers prior to the group’s formation.
“I’m a big believer in pull marketing in B2B,” says Grant Thorton’s Harmeling, adding, “Feeding insightful, and not even proprietary, information is a great way to break through.”
“The decision is often made even before the selection process for a new vendor or an RFP has even started. It questions the efficacy of an email nurture program that kicks off only after a customer has watched a webcast or has downloaded a white paper about a specific topic; because by the time you score them up, it’s just too late,” says Simon Mouyal, Chief Marketing Officer of Medidata.
Other key findings include:
Eighty-three percent say they are more likely to buy from a business whose culture and personality closely matches that of their own business.
Feeling that their needs have been understood is the biggest feeling driving the buying group, according to 89% of respondents.
More than half said that perceived arrogance from a vendor bears the biggest negative impact for winning the business.
Becker added, “Decision makers not only need to be targeted correctly using the powerful precision tools of today, they must also feel something. They need to feel a connection with your brand, your offering and your culture. That is the true way to impact B2B decisions.”
For more on the study, click here.