Respondents also value self-service and fast responses to quote requests
PROS, a leading provider of AI-powered solutions that optimize selling in the digital economy, announced the findings of its global survey of more than 1,000 procurement and purchasing leaders that sheds light on digital buying trends. “What B2B Buyers Want in 2019: Speed, Personalization and Intelligence” explores current business purchasing trends, revealing overlooked perspectives on buyers’ relationships with vendors. The research shows that as buying needs have shifted, respondents prioritize self-service, value personalized experiences and expect fast responses to their quote requests.
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“Business buyers have increasingly high expectations of their vendors, and prefer suppliers who are streamlining the purchase process through personalized offers and pricing that quickly directs customers to the products and services that can deliver meaningful value at a reasonable price,” said Valerie Howard, director, Solution Strategy at PROS. “In fact, our survey indicates two-thirds of respondents reported they were either extremely or somewhat likely to switch to a vendor that featured real-time, personalized pricing, which is revealing considering the survey also indicates a majority of buyers prefer to maintain relationships with existing vendors as much as possible.”
Personalized Pricing and the New Buyer’s Journey
Digitalization has expanded the ways in which vendors can deliver value to their customers. Meaningful data on buyer behavior can assist vendors who look to accurately predict and anticipate a buyer’s needs and preferences.
The survey indicates that 70% of buyers agree that personalized recommendations are empowering them to obtain more value from their vendors and more than half (53%) of respondents say that they would pay as much as 5% more for these recommendations – a staggering premium for purchasing teams who are usually incentivized to find the deepest discounts.
Response times are also critical to the purchase process. With the shift to digital and self-serve channels, half of responders say that it should not take more than two hours to receive a quote response.
Digital Commerce is Driving the Buying Experience
While the survey indicates that B2B buyers have been slower to adopt eCommerce than consumers, there is a dramatic shift on the horizon. Two years ago, only 15% of buyers were completing the majority of purchases on digital platforms, according to the study. Now, the survey indicates that 30% are transacting more than half their purchases on digital platforms and that number is expected to grow to 44% within two years. Intelligent digital commerce systems will empower the self-service experience that buyers demand, as 63% of buyers responding to the survey indicate that they purchase more from organizations that allow them to place orders digitally.
“It’s essential that B2B sellers prioritize the digital transformation initiatives that enable a coordinated, personalized purchase experience across channels,” said Howard. “Those that do will benefit from greater wallet share of those business buyers and improved customer satisfaction.”
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Buyers are increasingly comfortable with sellers leveraging artificial intelligence to deliver on the personalization they expect. Their fear of artificial intelligence is waning, as the survey indicates that a majority of buyers now understand it’s the most effective way to dynamically align price to value. In fact, 66% of survey respondents described data science derived pricing as fair.
B2B organizations that successfully deliver on expectations for a streamlined purchase experience will gain a competitive edge while benefiting from the cost efficiencies of digital channels and the revenue expansion that results from satisfied customers.
The global study, conducted by Hanover Research on behalf of PROS, examines the expectations of more than 1,000 procurement and purchasing leaders from 10 countries on what drives business buyers to select certain suppliers, what causes them to switch to new vendors, and what they value in the purchase experience. The respondents work for businesses across a variety of industries, including industrial manufacturing, financial services, IT services, and healthcare.
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