How do business customers buy?

25th February 2015

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Conventional wisdom is that business customers don't buy in the same way as traditional customers. This means that many companies will come up with unique marketing approaches in order to meet the expectations of business clients, which are often a significant departure from the way they would sell to the public.

However, new research suggests that actually this distinction between selling to a business and to members of the public is beginning to break down, thanks to the growth of new sales opportunities.

That's the finding from a recent study by the consulting firm McKinsey and Company, which has examined the way companies sell to other businesses and how this is changing. According to the research, companies are now making purchases in a very different way to how they have in the past.

The biggest change has been that sales decisions are now made from multiple points within an organisation and using a whole range of evidence, instead of relying on just one point of contact.

This means that B2B selling is looking more and more like B2C. Just as consumers might do their own research and read product reviews before making a purchase, business buyers are now drawing on a whole range of resources.

While this might pose a challenge for businesses who are selling to other firms, the benefits for rethinking the B2B sales process is becoming more evident. According to the research, companies that can adjust their sales techniques to account for this shift saw a 20 per cent increase in customer leads and 10 per cent growth in new clients.

Of course, the first step towards a new selling strategy for your company is going to be having accurate information on existing sales patterns. Accounting software can be a big help here, by allowing companies to access detailed information on their sales activity which they can then use to develop new strategies and track the results.