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Content kick-starts buyer journeys for about half of B2B buyers, according to recent research. But a substantial number of purchasing decisions don’t go anywhere, per results in a new Aberdeen report [download page], with 53% of B2B buyers saying they postpone decisions on at least half of their purchases.

Who is to blame for these stalled decisions? Many buyers appear to point the finger at the vendors, with two-thirds (66%) reporting that they cancelled or postponed a purchase because they saw no differentiation between solutions, and more than half (57%) claiming that no vendor met their needs. Challenges in differentiation have also been noted by CSO Insights, where just 1 in 3 buyers (32%) said that one vendor typically outshines the rest when making a purchase.

However, it also seems that buyers are not overwhelmingly confident that their needs have been clarified when they are involved in making a purchase. While half say their business needs are well defined, 42% report their requirements are partially so, with around 1 in 10 either saying they are not well defined (7%) or poorly defined (1%).

The report suggests a number of remedies that vendors should consider to address this buying confusion. The first part is to get involved at an early stage – 48% of the buyers surveyed claimed that they were most receptive to challenges to their thinking when they were beginning their research and exploration, compared to 14% when they had started to select vendors and products. Fewer than 1 in 10 (9%) claimed they were open when they were analyzing selected vendors or products.

Another key to influencing business needs is to make buyers aware of information they didn’t have. Around 6 in 10 (62%) said that showing a new way to solve an established problem would get them to rethink their business needs, while 43% said they would rethink requirements if they were made aware of a coming change in the market. A similar proportion (40%) also would consider changing tack if a vendor highlighted a pain point or weakness they weren’t aware of.

New ways to solve problems can also accelerate buying cycles, as two-thirds (66%) of buyers claim this would shorten the buying process.

That being said, sometimes staying quiet might be the right answer – close to two-thirds (65%) of buyers say that vendors or reps are more interested in selling than listening to their needs.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: The research is based on a survey of more than 340 B2B buyers, 66% of whom were VP-level and above and 90% of whom had been involved in an enterprise-level purchase.

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