About two-thirds (65%) of B2B sellers say they always put the buyer first, but fewer than one-quarter (23%) of buyers agree, per LinkedIn’s 2021 State of Sales report [download page], which surveyed buyers and sellers in the US and Canada.
Fortunately, B2B buyers and sellers see eye-to-eye on what behaviors they consider to be “buyer-first.” Some 82% of sellers say that staying involved after the sale is important, while 88% of buyers agree. And, with half of buyers saying that providing misinformation is major deal-killing behavior, being completely transparent about pricing is important or very important for both buyers (82%) and sellers (89%).
Other important buyer-first behaviors include offering product tests, training and trials (77% of buyers vs 85% of sellers), providing free and easy access to product-related content (76% vs 87%), aligning with the buyer’s success metrics (75% vs 80%) and recommending different products or companies that better fit the buyer’s needs (72% vs 82%).
Even though buyers and sellers agree that these are buyer-first behaviors, discrepancies exist about whether sellers are actually practicing them. For instance, where close to half (46%) of sellers believe they are always transparent about pricing, only 3 in 10 buyers agree. Nearly 2 in 5 (38% of) sellers think they are recommending different products or companies that better fit the buyer’s needs, but only 1 in 5 buyers believe this is the case. This trend occurs across each of the behaviors identified.
Sellers say they face unique challenges when it comes to adopting a true buyer-first mentality within their organizations. Roadblocks such as a lack of the right skillset among existing sales talent (43%), emphasis on meeting short-term sales or revenue goals (42%), limited budgets (41%) and limited organizational commitment to training (41%) stand in the way of businesses evolving their buyer-first sales approach.
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a January 2021 survey of 400 B2B buyers and 400 B2B sellers in the US and Canada.