Your Journey to Modern Commerce, Part 1 – Meet the New B2B Buyer

July 31, 2017 Craig Zawada

“Imperative” is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot on blogs like this one. An imperative is something of vital importance, an essential or urgent thing, a must-do or must-have. It is, therefore, something that any marketer wants to convince you of, and so has become one of those phrases that makes many of us roll our eyes.

For every exaggerated instance of the term, however, there are still circumstances in which its use is warranted. Our new infographic, Accelerate Your Journey to Modern Commerce, begins with the headline “Modern commerce is an imperative in the digital era.” This is not hyperbole. Modern commerce is, without a doubt, something of vital importance to an organization’s success – and we have the research and the statistics to prove it.

In January 2017, PROS commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the current state of B2B organizations, especially their obstacles and drivers on the path to a modern commerce strategy. A wealth of information came out of the study, which you can read here . We distilled the highlights in our Accelerate Your Journey to Modern Commerce infographic[1], which we’ll discuss in this series of blogs.

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The first major takeaway is that the dynamic of B2B sales has changed. This may or may not be news to you, but even if it’s something that you’ve sensed or experienced, we now have the data to quantify that evolution. Modern buyers demand to be served when and how they prefer. They like doing their own research. They like buying online. They like transparency, cohesion, personalization, and a frictionless experience that looks more like shopping with Amazon Prime than a traditional software vendor.

This probably sounds pretty intuitive. We’ve all gone through a similar evolution in how we buy things in our personal lives; it’s likely no surprise that those expectations have bled over into our professional world. It’s nice to have the numbers to back up that assumption – and the infographic provides them in spades – but also important to understand what to do with this knowledge.

While we know instinctively that buying behaviors have changed, our actions haven’t caught up. As mentioned in our initial blog on the Forrester research, the data clearly demonstrates that there is a significant disconnect between what B2B sales orgs think buyers want, and what buyers actually want.

  • 65% of B2B sales folks agree that “B2B buyers increasingly choose to buy online” – but 93% of real B2B buyers surveyed say that they prefer to buy online.
  • 53% of B2B sales people think that “The role of direct sales is increasing in importance in B2B sales – but 59% of real B2B buyers prefer NOT to interact with a sales rep as their primary source of research.

These statistics highlight the reality of today’s B2B buyer and provide an excellent starting place for successful engagement. They force us to examine our preexisting notions around the sales process and realign our knowledge and expectations for a modern commerce world. With the right questions – and answers – we can gain tremendous insight into how, precisely, B2B buyer expectations have changed and how to build a modern commerce strategy based on the things that matter most to today’s buyers.

The infographic and the study address these issues and more. They prove that modern commerce is, indeed, an imperative for any business that wants to keep pace with both consumers and the competition. They offer the data points that definitively show not just that buyers are changing, but how, where, and why, and the insight to help you understand what to do about it.

Ready to accelerate your journey to modern commerce? Get the infographic or read the study.

[1] Based on Accelerate Your Journey To Modern Commerce, an April 2017 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of PROS

About the Author

Craig Zawada

Craig Zawada joined PROS in 2010 and serves as its Chief Visionary Officer. He is responsible for creating and articulating the vision for how PROS uses the latest technology to help companies drive incremental sales growth and profit improvement. Prior to joining PROS, he was a partner and leader in the Marketing & Sales Practice at McKinsey & Company. Zawada is a widely published author, with articles that have appeared in many high-profile publications, including Harvard Business Review, Forbes.com, Mergers and Acquisitions, and the McKinsey Quarterly. Zawada co-authored both the first and second editions of “The Price Advantage,” which has been recognized as one of the most pragmatic books available on pricing strategy.

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