How COVID-19 Has Shifted Business-to-Business Buying Behaviors

More than a year of living and working during a pandemic has impacted more than just our personal lives and consumer behaviors, it has impacted the way businesses do business with each other. Transformation in business-to-business (B2B) purchase paths may be here to stay, and those working in this sector must deeply understand new ways to engage.

The New B2B Purchase Journey 1

Logica B2B Purchase Journey

Moving It All Online

So what’s changed in the past year? There is a noted absence of the traditional face-to-face interactions, and the decision stage has moved to digital. Overall, this is translating to a virtual buying process. B2B sales communication styles have changed from synchronous to asynchronous in this environment, foregoing “quick questions” from buyers and eliminating some traditional touchpoints with sellers. Gathering stakeholders together is increasingly difficult with the pandemic, and streamlined, professional online demos are critical, especially in certain sectors.

New B2B Messaging Needs

There is an accelerated need for empathy in marketing communications. For example, in Logica’s ongoing Future of Money Study, we found that, for financial brands, communicating with empathy was essential—and this holds true for marketing messaging during the B2B purchase journey too. The extreme disruption of the past year has left everyone reeling, so understanding the specific pain points that are emerging and addressing them directly with compassion is not only the right thing to do, but it can also build a foundation for better predicting behaviors.

Using Purchase Journey Research

Past data on the B2B buyer is no longer valid due to massive disruptions to the sales process, and gathering new insights is the only way to understand the “new” digital buyer on their purchasing journey. The more you dig into these changes and their effects, the better chance you have to create the right engagement strategy and experience, identify where the vital touchpoints are along the new journey and, ultimately, lead someone down the path to purchase.

How can you use market research to understand your B2B buyer’s new journey to decision making? Designing and implementing a thoughtful study is the key to answering your questions and obtaining the most useful insights:

  • Know your buyers. Identify and talk with key stakeholders to understand all the influences on decision making.
  • Identify your knowledge gaps. What data is missing from your understanding of your buyer’s purchase journey? For example, you may need to understand the top of the acquisition funnel such as how to drive awareness of your product and build marketing campaigns. Or, you may need to know more about the bottom of the funnel, such as how to close the sale, or somewhere in between, like how your prospective buyers are researching you online.
  • Conduct market research. Research is how you will fill in the knowledge gaps you have uncovered about the purchase journey, and the study must be constructed with care to make sure you are asking the right questions.
  • Taking Action. An actionable research study is likely to include a combination of in-depth qualitative research, as well as quantitative research to validate findings. You can use those insights to adjust your business strategies for greater success.

The right buying decision research will make the difference in increased acquisition and retention of customers. Want to learn more? Reach out to us.

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