July 20, 2022

How to Reduce Complexity in the B2B Buying Journey

Written by

Buyers looking at project management systems have over 300 vendors to choose from, and many software categories include even more options. It’s no wonder that 77% of B2B buyers told Gartner their last purchase was complex or difficult. It’s overwhelming, to say the least.

Complexity is not the only problem facing buyers. B2B purchases are full of risk for customers. 

  • What if they pick a product, and it doesn’t do what it was supposed to do? 
  • What if the vendor isn’t responsive to them? 
  • Or the vendor goes out of business or gets acquired? 

There are a number of scenarios where the buying organization can waste a whole lot of time and money deploying a new system, only to have to do it again all too soon. Over the last two years, approximately 56% of organizations highly regretted their biggest technology-related purchase. A lot of this regret comes from frustration within the buying process. Software buyers are 20% more frustrated with their ability to access basic business information from vendors than they were in 2020. And because they can’t access the information they need, they end up making ill-informed purchasing decisions.

How Do Buyers Try to Reduce Complexity? 

A study by Qwilr found that more than half (59%) of software buyers want faster, easier buying processes. To get that, they’re taking control of the process. They decide which content to consume and when, as well as when they reach out to vendors, rather than letting vendors dictate the communication schedule. 

59% of software buyers want faster, easier buying processes.

Buyers are also completing 70% of the buyers’ journey using digital channels and third-party websites for research. According to the Qwilr study mentioned above, 40% of buyers want to be able to conduct demos themselves or try the product for free without talking to sales representatives. This gives them the freedom to actually evaluate the product for their needs, without having their judgment clouded by unnecessary features.

Think Like a Buyer

B2B marketers have to deal with this complexity too, especially because each buyer approaches buying decisions differently, and there are more people involved in buying decisions. And many people are resistant to the changes involved with introducing a new technology, which is the end result of the B2B buying process.

To effectively reduce the complexity buyers face, you have to think like a buyer. Do you want to give up contact information for generic information you can find elsewhere? No, you don’t. Gating low-value content is a quick way to frustrate buyers and send them running to your competitors. If you’re going to put content behind a gate, it needs to be highly relevant information they can’t get elsewhere.

You also need to make your content valuable. Do you want to sit through long webinars or read vague white papers that were just another sales pitch in disguise? You don’t have time for that, and your buyers don’t either.

Additionally, your website should make it easy for buyers to find information. Use clear navigation tabs, and add links to related information on blogs and product pages. For example, a blog page on phishing should include links to identity management software.

Thinking like a buyer means talking about their challenges and how you can help. Spend less time talking about your technology and how it works. Many of your buyers and influencers won’t be in IT, making them less concerned with how the product works and more concerned with the benefits it offers. But don’t be too vague, either. For example, “accelerating digital transformations” doesn’t really tell the buyer anything. What digital transformation problems are you solving?

Create Content To Enable Buyers

Because buyers are now handling so much of the buying journey on their own, before ever talking to a salesperson, you need to create content that will enable buyers. Your content should make it easier for prospective buyers to do their own research and compile the information they need for their buying committee. You need to answer common questions and objections, so buyers can get that information without the pressure of a sales conversation.

If the content you create isn’t enabling buyers, you need to ask yourself where the value in it is.

Examples of topics you should cover include:

  • Common questions you get from customers
  • Problems that customers face that your product or service solves
  • Common pitfalls customers face when implementing your product or service
  • Considerations buyers should make before signing a contract 

For content creation, consider partnering with trusted third-party content providers that understand buyers and serve them in that 70% of the journey vendors have trouble seeing. These businesses will have an idea of what buyers are looking for and can help you craft content to meet those needs.

You’ve Scaled Your B2B Content. What Happens Next?

Provide Different Formats for Your Content

When you produce content, you also need to create several formats to accommodate different needs. Not everyone has time to watch a webinar, so an audio recording they can listen to while working on other things or commuting may be a better option. And downloadable PDFs aren’t always conducive to a mobile experience. Consider instead blog posts or mobile-first emails. 

You should have at least two different ways for people to consume the content you create to reach a wider audience. One should be a print format, and the other should include some kind of rich media. 

Possible content types include:

  • Blogs
  • White papers or e-books
  • Audio/video recordings (e.g. podcasts, Youtube videos, etc.)
  • Webinars
  • Infographics
  • Email blasts
  • Roundtable video panel discussions

Meet Buyers Where They Are

Buyers are taking back the power in the B2B buying journey, and these days, they don’t go to vendors until they’re 70% of the way through their process. Marketers have to figure out where they’re searching for information and go to them. TechnologyAdvice has earned the trust of 100 million technology buyers who come to our portfolio of websites each year to navigate the tricky tech buying process. Our portfolio is supported by a team of 150+ editorial experts or technologists covering more than 200 technology topics, across 5,000 pieces of content each year.

Whether buyers visit our websites, read our email newsletters, or engage with our tech advisors on the phone, we are reducing the complexity by helping them make critical technology purchase decisions to move their business process and their business forward.

To find out how to reach buyers early in their buying journey, check out TechnologyAdvice’s lead generation and content syndication programs. We can help you meet buyers where they are and create the content you need to capture their interest.