Gartner: B2B Buyers Prefer Ordering or Paying Through Digital Commerce
June 23, 2022
CSOs Must Rethink Approach to Managing Both Digital Commerce and Sales Interactions to Improve Deal Quality, Reduce Buyer’s Remorse and Drive Unexpectedly Ambitious Purchases
percent of B2B buyers say they prefer ordering or paying through digital
commerce, according to Gartner, Inc. A Gartner survey of 725 B2B buyers
from November through December 2021 found that digital commerce has
rapidly become the norm and the preferred way to complete B2B purchases.
“Today’s chief sales officers (CSOs) often feel torn trying to solve these problems by either retraining reps to win over digitally inclined buyers or cutting out sellers entirely to go all-in on digital sales,” said Craig Riley, chief of research in the Gartner Sales practice. “A new approach is needed that combines digital and human engagements to help buyers feel more confident in their decisions and drives high-quality deals.”
Ultimately, digital and sales rep underperformance have a common root cause: ineffective customer learning. Too often, digital experiences and seller engagements encourage 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 reps often oversimplify their 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 in service of deepening 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 combination of digital and human-led channels is critical to sales success because when B2B buyers report that sales reps effectively use technology to facilitate buying group discussions, a 17% lift occurs in customer confidence, which leads to high-quality deals.
Bring together sales and marketing leaders to set a multichannel strategy for customer learning paths, including account-based campaigns and digital sales playbooks.
Rethink the role of digital engagement by building digital sales tools for real-time collaboration with customers.
Equip sales reps with probing questions and decision support tools to help buyers learn more effectively and make confident decisions.