Understanding the Factors that Influence B2B Buyers across Industries

B2B buyers are heavily influenced when making purchase decisions. The common conception is that the economy is one of the major factors that influence their behavior. Marketers presume that B2B buyers will favor the supplier that offers the lowest price, the best product, or the most services. They focus on providing strong economic benefits to buyers. However, real business buyers react to both economic and personal factors. Today, most B2B marketers across industries realize the importance of emotions in the B2B decision-making process. For instance, you might expect an ad promoting jewelry to focus on how it makes women look beautiful. However, there are jewelry brands with ads highlighting how the nation comes first for a bride working for the army, and attending to an emergency even on the day of her wedding is the priority above all.

Let’s look at some of the factors that influence B2B buyers:

The B2B purchasing process is complex and lengthy. In fact, while considering B2B purchases, you need to think of the different decision-makers involved in the process.

Just like consumers, B2B decision-makers expect suppliers to understand and be sensitive to their emotional needs. Whether purchasing software or hiring a service provider, B2B decision-makers evaluate many factors to determine how product purchases affect employee productivity or business operations. Some of these factors include regulatory compliance, product specialization, pricing, and adherence to ethical practices. Let’s review these in detail:

1. Performance

Product performance is a key factor that B2B decision-makers consider when making a purchase. Product performance evaluation goes beyond knowledge of product features and the benefits they will bring to the business. When looking at product performance, decision-makers are keener on understanding how the product could help them solve their challenge. To get a holistic view of product performance, B2B decision makers review product insights, demos, product descriptions, case studies, customer reviews, blogs, and white papers before considering the decision to purchase.

2. Durability

Durability is one of the main metrics that buyers use to judge the quality and efficiency of a product. By definition, durability refers to the ability of a product to last for a long time without deteriorating or needing servicing or maintenance. Additionally, sustainable products help reduce business waste and conserve resources.

As with any other form of purchasing, product sustainability is at the heart of the B2B buyer’s decision-making process. This is because shoppers tend to spend more to buy a sustainable product and less on one that is not. When assessing product durability, B2B buyers are keen to understand how long the product will perform efficiently, what are the various levels of functionality, the types of product warranties available, and upgrades that will be required.

3. Competence

B2B marketers invest heavily in content marketing, including developing white papers, blog posts, tutorials, podcasts, and research reports. All of these efforts aim to achieve one thing: position their company as a thought leader in their business niche. The main reason for doing so is to give B2B buyers an overview of their expertise whenever they are seeking insights about an apt solution to address their problem. B2B buyers highly consider vendor expertise when considering purchase and are most likely to purchase from brands that share educational content and insights. In fact most sales professionals report that providing more information to buyers helps them make better decisions. This includes company websites or guest posts, industry reports, white papers, and more.

4. Production Capacity

In addition to the quality of the product provided by the supplier, B2B decision-makers also consider the supplier’s ability to provide the required products or services within the required timeframe. Supplier capacity is essential because placing orders with a supplier that is unable to produce the required quantities will not only hinder business operations but also waste time and resources.

5. On-time Delivery

Timely product delivery is important for B2B buyers. While it may sound easy to deliver products quickly and efficiently, B2B vendors can still stand out from the competition. When evaluating vendor options, decision-makers consider the vendor’s ability to provide the required products within the required timeframe. Some of the important aspects that decision makers evaluate in this respect are ordering and shipping procedures as well as product security during delivery including insurance availability. To assess these aspects, B2B decision-makers search supplier websites to read information on shipping options, costs, insurance, possible delivery dates, order quantities, etc. Maximum order that can be placed at once and the mechanism to track the product while in transit. The decision maker chooses to buy from the suppliers with the best delivery offers based on timely delivery.

6. Pricing

During the purchasing process, decision-makers in B2B companies will consider the price of the product against its physical performance, the value the product brings to the business, the psychological feelings the product has, and what it could invoke in users and the potential time and savings that the product can offer. B2B buyers place equal importance on the value a product offers and compare it alongside the pricing and gauge if the product reflects that value. With B2B buyers it is always better to be transparent about the costs, any hidden costs that buyers are not aware of are a major put-off. In most scenarios, the provider with the most competitive pricing and no hidden costs wins the deal.

7. Past Experience

Previous purchase experience builds customer confidence based on the supplier’s ability to deliver orders. To ensure they choose a supplier capable of meeting their needs, B2B decision makers evaluate the experience the potential supplier has in providing products or services to businesses with similar scale. They do this by reading customer testimonials and case studies and conducting background checks on potential vendors.

8. Returns Policy

While considering the purchase, B2B buyers expect to receive and use a product over a long period of time. However, there are cases where the product malfunctions and needs to be returned to the supplier. When making a purchase decision, B2B buyers often want to know the supplier’s return policy. In this policy, they want to know if potential suppliers accept returns, what the return process entails, and whether returned products are eligible for a refund.

9. Customer Service

With the increasing expectations and needs of customers, customer service has become an extremely important aspect of the B2B purchasing process. In addition to purchasing products and services, customers want to be assured that they can get help while using a product or service whenever they need it without having to wait for too long for the product to be resolved. This is one reason why customer service effectiveness is evaluated before the purchase decision. Customer service shapes the B2B buyer’s experience with your business. Surprisingly, statistics show that B2B buyers increasingly value experience over product value and price.

10. Post-Sales Service

B2B buyers often consider the post-sales service for high-end products. For instance, if a company purchases a product, decision-makers will want to know that the company supplying the product will be willing to repair it if the system fails within the warranty period. Decision makers also want to be assured that the vendor company will be willing to train employees and provide technical support until they can use the product comfortably.

The B2B buying process is complex due to the involvement of various decision-makers and stakeholders. When making purchasing decisions, these decision-makers consider many factors to ensure that the products or services being purchased deliver value and performance for the business in the long term. If you’re a marketer or B2B salesperson, the above-discussed parameters can help you gauge and influence B2B decision-makers across industries toward the decision to purchase.

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