November 05, 2019
November 05, 2019
Contributor: Jordan Bryan
Sales leaders must work with their marketing counterparts to establish trust for B2B technology buyers.
Malcolm needs a new transcription service for his business. He has never used a transcription provider before, so he wants to learn as much as possible so he can make an informed decision. He conducts research, connects with a reference provided by a service provider and has a conversation with a sales rep. Despite engaging with various sources, Malcolm and others on his team worry they may be missing something or that the claims made may be inflated.
All buyers want to make a wise choice, but years of attention-grabbing and aggressive claims by sales and marketing has caused distrust among buyers. Sales and marketing must rebuild that trust to cement and expand relationships with B2B buyers.
Sales leaders agree selling is harder today than in years past, and buying from a buyer’s perspective is equally challenging. Technology buying is further complicated by team dynamics, bigger decision implications, tougher problems to solve and buyers controlling more of the buying process.
“Technology buyers today spend 65% of the time in their buying efforts reviewing information or interacting with people and organizations other than the suppliers,” says Hank Barnes, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “This makes it impossible for suppliers to fully control the messages buyers receive.”
Buyers not only do their own research and seek advice from others, they deliberately look beyond sales’ referrals to find independent references via social channels and other influencers. When buyers do interact with suppliers, they expect them to provide additional detail and contextual insights and guidance they can’t find elsewhere.
Buyers’ initial level of trust is based on their perception of a company’s brand or previous experience. After their initial impression, buyer trust is most impacted by external influences that provide information or opinions that build or break that trust.
“As buyers get deeper into their buying cycle, they actively look for supplier materials to gain additional understanding,” says Barnes. “The quality and usefulness of this information has an impact on trust.”
Trust isn’t accomplished and maintained without effort. Once a buyer makes a purchase, external influences continue to impact their trust, but they will lessen in importance compared to their perception of the service experience during implementation and use. If trust increases due to a favorable impression, then the likelihood of renewal or expansion increases and the chances of switching suppliers decreases. A decrease in trust has the inverse effect.
In an information-rich world, suppliers need to prove themselves to buyers. Buyers prefer to control the buying process, so they put limited trust in sales reps and their interactions.
Understanding the importance of the impact of trust on buyer relationships, sales leaders must work with marketing counterparts to:
Sales leaders must understand how to develop trust to effectively address buyers’ perspectives and frame of mind as suppliers engage with organizational buying teams.
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Recommended resources for Gartner clients*:
Trust Drives the B2B Technology Buying Cycle by Hank Barnes et al.
*Note that some documents may not be available to all Gartner clients.