In B2B it isn’t always about price to your customers. You need more. In a Buyersphere Report I read recently, it cited several of the strongest attributes of B2B brands and suppliers that win business, and why customers bought from them. I cherry picked the ones we believe strongly in and apply to our own potential new business customers. Here are a few results from the study and my thoughts behind them.
The biggest and strongest attribute was simply, “I heard of them.” Two thirds of buyers polled said they had previous knowledge of the company selected. So get your company out there, and be seen in the right places and in front of the right people. For B2B brands, more than 75% of industrial buyers go to search engines or directly to supplier websites for information. Frankly, I found that number to be surprisingly low. But remember, not every communication you put out needs to sell something. Get people aware of your company philosophy, and tell them “why” you do what you do, not just what and how. Our company operates under a philosophy created by Simon Sinek. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” You need to give yourself some greater value-added.
Don’t sweat it, nearly 50% of B2B buyers said location was not an issue in their decision to purchase. B2B products are not location dependent. But you be the judge. After pointing that out, it was interesting the study pointed out that nearly 20% of buyers ended up buying from a supplier within a distance of about thirty miles. This may be in support of my last point below, but we try to go see clients on a regular basis, no matter where they are. For me, our product is easy to ship anywhere. We are a brand driven strategic marketing firm. An “Idea Factory” if you will, and those ideas ship nicely in a handy little zip file. But don’t let location get in the way of personal contact.
The study said that 65% agreed that their chosen supplier simply had the best product or service. Pricing was less of an issue, with nearly 50% agreeing their selected supplier did offer the lowest price. But my marketing experience of the past tells me, you don’t want to be the lowest price. If customers are always shopping you on cost alone, you are just a commodity. You need to have added value, a unique selling proposition, a strong brand and employees who deliver on the brand. Then you can offer the highest value, not the lowest price.
This was the fourth most cited reason for awarding business. The study said nearly 60% of buyers said the final selection of the winning supplier was because they understood their needs, and their business, better than the others. So do your homework. Go in with a full grasp and understanding of what your potential customers “pain” is, then take a look at what you have in your portfolio that will fix the problem for them. We have worked in many distribution channels of all types, done new product naming and launching, corporate images and market brand positioning. We have made huge efforts to go deep into B2B brands to find their “why” and their unique selling position. But even after all this, we will never know our clients business as well as they do, so we don’t act like it. But we do know marketing and brand positioning, and these basic principles apply to most any B2B business.
The human touch
Don’t underestimate it. In a world of digital communication, it can make all the difference. The Buyersphere Study asked respondents about what their most memorable communication during the buying process was. For 88% that communication came from the winning supplier, and most mentioned personal contact even if it was by phone.
Want to help your B2B brands get to the next level? Contact us and we’ll be happy to help.