How to Improve B2B Buyers’ Confidence in the Purchase Process

September 7, 2021
Contributor: Amanda Kennedy

Software providers need to supply the right information at the right time and create helpful postpurchase content to improve B2B buyers’ confidence.

For B2B software companies, more customized web content for buyers isn't always the solution for sales and marketing roadblocks. 

This may seem counterintuitive in the face of recent buzz about using marketing automation to create custom content for buyers. But while hyperpersonalization may work for a B2C company selling a lower-value item, it doesn’t always hold true for the B2B space. 

In the B2B buying decision process, there’s a sweet spot between content customization and buyer confidence, especially for group buying decisions on large purchases like software.

An overload of information can cause buying groups to lose confidence both during the purchase process and after, in the form of buyer’s remorse. Why does it matter if your customers feel confident in their decision if you already closed the sale? Because implementation is just as important as the sales process.

If things go awry, it falls on the shoulders of those who made the purchase decision, and they may regret their choice, opt out of renewing or not recommend the software to their peers. On the flip side, customers who are confident in their decision feel empowered by their software and are more likely to advocate for your business and product within their networks.

Here are several ways to improve B2B buyers’ confidence.

Provide buyers with the information they need, when they need it

Make sure to provide relevant, consistent information at each stage of the customer’s buying decision process. Ask yourself: What do they need to know, and when do they need to know it? 

When it comes to group buying dynamics, in-person analog tactics (versus digital ones) can be useful. Sales representatives are often helpful at later stages of the buyer journey, since their interpersonal skills work well midway through the sales process. 

Unlike a static email that doesn’t change once you send it, a skilled sales rep can listen for context clues and pivot messaging to share the right information at the right time. They can listen for a prospect’s hesitations or objections and provide answers they are looking for in their information search.

Customer Engagement Evolves

Learn to engage effectively with — and successfully convert — more prospects.

In both marketing collateral and sales conversations, don’t overload B2B buyers with unnecessary information at the wrong time, or they could become overwhelmed by too much information and feel less confident about a decision.

According to Gartner, B2B buyers who are confident about their purchase decision are 3.6x more likely to complete a high-quality deal. However, when faced with individually tailored messages, B2B buyers are 80% more likely to stall their purchase (full report available to Gartner clients). Typically, large purchases require group consensus, and overly tailored messaging in the buying process can create conflicting information that divides — rather than unites — the group.

To distribute high-quality, value-added information to prospects, use buyer intent data to track their engagement across different marketing channels and understand their needs. You can also leverage software reviews sites and other third-party channels to encourage self-guided discovery for prospective buyers.

Create content to help new clients navigate postpurchase changes

Choosing a software provider is only half the battle. Once the contract begins, clients have to navigate a change management process within their organization and may conduct a formal postpurchase evaluation. 

Even if that customer’s team is already used to your software, a new platform can wreak havoc on a busy team that must suddenly learn a different way to do things.

One solution to this problem is creating change enablement content for buyers. Change enablement content breaks down tasks related to the change, and provides strategies for moving through these tasks. Focus on questions and concerns common to the entire buying group rather than trying to tailor messaging for each client.

  1. Diagnostic quiz or tools. Create a diagnostic quiz or a tool to help new, potential and/or current customers determine whether their organization is ready for change. Then, provide recommendations on next steps and related resources, as well as how they can get more value from your software.
  2. Resource hub. Consider creating a collection of educational resources related to specific steps in the change management process for your software. To ensure the hub is helpful to users, ask: Does this collection include an end-to-end process with associated tools to help manage each task? 
  3. Change enablement portfolio. This is a grouping of resource hubs that supports the interconnectedness of issues or milestones that arise during the change management process. You may already have these types of resources on your website, so a content audit can help you group and organize them into content clusters. If you find gaps, create new resources to fill them.

To see how content fits into these groupings, let’s use product add-ons as an example. If other users tend to purchase add-ons at certain points in their customer journey (say, after six months with the core software), include add-on related resources in your change enablement portfolio along with initial software implementation guidance. Then, users can anticipate add-ons ahead of time, rather than have these upgrades feel like an unexpected expense.

As you aim to reduce buyer uncertainty, keep the importance of content top-of-mind. Ensuring buyers have the change enablement content they need at the time they need it can help them feel more confident in their purchase decision, and make them more likely to remain a customer long term.

Amanda Kennedy

Amanda Kennedy is a Senior Content Writer who specializes in how businesses use technology and data to grow. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, has worked in the PR and marketing industries, and is currently studying information systems at the University of North Texas. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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