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B2B buyers value vendors that can support their companies’ goals and can help sharpen their competitive differentiation, new research [download page] from Aberdeen Group has found. This and other results from Aberdeen’s study suggest that buyers want vendors to approach them with relationships in mind, not just transactions.

Given a list of 6 frustrations and asked which is the biggest turn-off, buyers were most likely to point to vendors talking too much about themselves and not getting to know their company (27.5%). That’s very much in line with recent research from Merkle, in which buyers said that their greatest frustration with vendors relates to those that are more interested in selling their products and services than they are in listening to the buyer’s needs.

But beyond that common complaint, there are indications that buyers want closer relationships with vendors. Almost 1 in 5 reported that their biggest turn-off is vendors acting more like vendors than partners (19.6%). A similar number are most irritated by vendors that are too transactional and don’t seem interested in a relationship (18%). This indicates that there’s much more to it than just a purchase in the buyer’s mind.

Buyer: Help Me Beat the Competition

Another indication that the buyer/vendor relationship is more than just a transaction? When choosing a vendor, most B2B buyers take into consideration whether or not the brand will support their company’s goals (77%), and if the vendor can help sharpen their competitive differentiation (68%).

The desire for competitive differentiation extends into purchase prices: buyers were most likely to say they had paid a premium for a product or solution when they believed that it would generate a competitive advantage for them.

This suggests again a more strategic bent to the relationship: a majority (56%) of buyers want to know if the vendor can help them identify new possibilities and avenues for revenue.

As the report’s authors put it, “buyers want to know how your solution is going to help them strategically.”

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of more than 250 B2B buyers from a range of industries and company sizes.

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