Seven in 10 (71%) B2B tech buyers believe that the relationship with the sales representative influenced their recent purchase. Indeed, the relationship with the sales rep appears to influence more buyers than vendor trust, with fewer (54% of) buyers saying their purchase decision was influenced by trust, per a recent report [download page] from PandaDoc and G2.
So what do sellers think – and how do they connect with discerning buyers? Here are some key takeaways from the study.
Given that 86% of buyers expect salespeople to personalize their sales materials and another 82% appreciate it when sales deals and documents are personalized for them and their company, it’s good to see that the majority of sellers are aware of this.
More than three-quarters (76%) of sellers agree that prospects appreciate when deals and documents are personalized. Furthermore, almost two-thirds (64%) feel that personalizing sales documents is important to closing deals.
An earlier study from PathFactory and Heinz Marketing found that more than one-third (35%) of B2B buyers felt that sellers’ content was not personalized for where they were in the buying process. That said, Accenture found that, in an effort to help improve personalization, top-performing sellers were much more likely than laggards to track buyers’ past purchase and browsing history as well as have a majority of their data records in a centralized location.
Going beyond personalization, other research has shown that buyers want vendors to not only support their content with more data and research but also add more insight from industry thought leaders.
While 8 in 10 (82%) sellers also believe that the buyer/sales rep relationship is important when closing deals, they are more likely than buyers to say trust plays a part in the decision-making process, with 87% saying that trust is an important factor for closing deals.
Although a surprisingly low percentage of buyers participating in PandaDoc and G2’s survey said that trust influenced their decision to purchase, last year TrustRadius found that buyers felt that transparency about vendors’ product capabilities and limitations topped the list of ways vendors could improve the buying process.
Timing is also important. This is especially true considering that many buyers are engaging with sales representatives early on in (within the first 3 months of) their buying journey.
Indeed, this new survey also reveals that a little more than three-quarters (77%) of buyers said that a vendor’s response speed was important when selecting software or technology. Moreover, 4 in 5 (79%) think that, in general, timing was important in their recent purchase.
But even if salespeople are timely, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the process will be short. Some 15% of respondents believe their sales cycle is longer than it was 12 months ago. Part of the reason it is taking longer is that buyers are spending more time researching their purchases.
To read more, the full report can be downloaded here.
About the Data: Results are based on a survey of 880 sales representatives, sales managers and tech/software decision-makers across industries.