Trust Beats Tactics in B2B Buying


The Gist

  • Buying process insights. In B2B, familiarity and trust are key drivers, overshadowing detailed feature comparison.
  • B2B selling shift. Longer sales cycles and buyer independence redefine B2B selling strategies.
  • B2B buying trends. Buyers increasingly rely on personal networks over extensive research in B2B buying.

Today, we’re more clued up than ever about how B2B buyers buy. We know, for example, that sales are taking longer, that buyers are more independent (they probably don’t want to speak to your sales people) and that their shortlists are rarely as well researched as we might hope. Let’s take a look at the buying process in B2B.

Buying process in B2B: Buyers Base Choices on Familiarity, Trust

Far from being meticulous or even fair in their comparisons of features, functions, service or expertise, for the most part buyers rely on their brains, their guts and their peers in the buying process in B2B.

Supplier shortlists are typically made up of companies buyers have “heard of” and that they can recall off the top of their heads, plus one or two that someone they trust has recommended. 

Related Article: What B2B Buyers Want, and Ways to Align Your Customer Journeys

Marketers’ Goal: Boosting Brand Recall

So raising brand awareness to a point where it can be easily recalled when it really matters — i.e., when buyers are in market for the buying process in B2B — ought to be every marketer’s mission.

The literature calls this “mental availability” and, when it comes to recalling brands, it’s in seriously limited supply. Try it yourself with any category you like, from toothpaste to law firms. If you can remember four in any category, you’re doing very well indeed. 

Related Article: Are You Creating the Best B2B Buyer Customer Experience?

Tracking Brand Growth with Free Tools

Where you sit within your category (or categories) is really important. And if you’re pushing brand activation hard, you need to be able to measure its growth and its success. 

A yellow and black metal tape measure is pulled out to display up to 16 inches in a piece about the buying process in B2B
If you’re pushing brand activation hard, you need to be able to measure its growth and its success. Aspi13 on Adobe Stock Photos

The good news is brand awareness is easy to track using free tools, i.e., Google Trends search data (which goes back to 2004). We call this “share of search,” and it’s simply the number of searches a brand receives divided by the sum total of searches for all brands within a competitor set.


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