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STAMFORD, Conn., June 23, 2020

Gartner Says B2B CMOs Should Employ Three Strategies to Reduce Buyers’ Uncertainty and Unlock Purchase Decisions during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Survey Reveals 81% of B2B Buyers Experienced Environmental Uncertainty Before Facing the Coronavirus

B2B CMOs are challenged by B2B buyers who are facing multiple layers of environmental uncertainty when they consider a major purchase, which is leading to delays or smaller deals, according to Gartner, Inc. In fact, a Gartner, Inc. survey revealed that 81% of B2B buyers already experienced moderate to high levels of environmental uncertainty, even before facing the coronavirus crisis and probable global recession.

“Even under relatively stable conditions, B2B buying is inherently uncertain,” said Sharon Cantor Ceurvorst, research director for the Gartner for Marketers practice. “The average buying group now includes 11 active members and up to seven occasional participants, and buying groups spend an average of 15% of the buying cycle reconciling different information sources. In the face of shifting stakeholders and conflicting information, coupled now with the effects of a global pandemic, buyers feel more uncertain than ever about how to move forward.”

Ninety-three percent of B2B purchases take place in the context of organizational change, such as a shift in business operations, market environment and/or organizational structure. Change creates further uncertainty for buyers — raising questions about which information signals to pay attention to, where organizational influence is shifting and whether their organization will follow through on its vision.

To reduce these uncertainties, Gartner recommends that marketing leaders:

  • Prioritize a high-impact organizational change for a key customer segment that can be supported by your category. “As B2B buyers make strategic and operational changes to return to growth following the COVID-19 crisis, it is even more important to understand and support the organizational context behind a specific purchase decision,” said Ms. Cantor Ceurvorst.
  • Document discrete tasks that target customers must complete to achieve their organizational change objectives, and create or curate enablement content pieces that support task completion. This can create pull for multiple colleagues and aid their decision-making.
  • Deliver enablement content using direct-to-customer channels and through sales reps by providing resources that help customers with changes surrounding a purchase.

Additional information is available to Gartner for Marketers clients in "Engaging B2B Buyers in an Uncertain Environment."

Learn more about how to lead organizations through the disruption of coronavirus in the Gartner coronavirus resource center, a collection of complimentary Gartner research and webinars to help organizations respond, manage, and prepare for the rapid spread and global impact of COVID-19.

About Gartner for Marketers

Gartner for Marketers provides the objective, expert advice and proven tools that CMOs and other marketing leaders need to seize the right opportunities with clarity and confidence, and to stay ahead of the trends that matter. With in-depth research and analysis, Gartner for Marketers helps you focus on the opportunities with the greatest potential to deliver results. More information on Gartner for Marketers is available online at

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) delivers actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams. Our expert guidance and tools enable faster, smarter decisions and stronger performance on an organization’s mission critical priorities. To learn more, visit