What are B2B Customers Looking for in 2020?

Digital tools have placed the control of consumerism in the hands of the buyer. Extensive questioning, research and discovery are conducted by the buyer long before any formal introduction between buyer and business is made. In 2020, we will see the demand for sales and marketing that understands the buyer journey within a given industry.

In an interview with Demand Gen Report, Forrester VP Research Director Caroline Robertson talked about the ever-growing importance of self-directed buying journeys, creating a deeper emphasis on effective engagement and the growth of partner enablement.



  • Partner Experience Value Will Match Customer Experience Value


Forty-three percent of global B2B marketing decisionmakers ranked improving the customer experience as a top priority in 2019, and 39{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b} are looking to improve the partner experience. With more than 70{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b} of global revenue coming from third-party channels, most organisations have been slow to link partner experience with customer experience. The report predicts that next year, marketing decisionmakers will rank improving partner experience on par with improving customer experience and both will rise to more than 50{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b}.



  • Buyer-Centric Structures And Tech Investments are Expected to Hit an inflexion Point And Accelerate


According to the report, product-centric planning and siloed channels for mainstream marketers will become completely obsolete as customer-centricity becomes the design muse for vanguard organisations. Customer-solution orientation will become the strategy by which campaigns and sales take root.

“We are seeing a real inflexion point and a commitment to truly making the pivot to the customer as we recognize it’s less effective to be product-oriented,” Robertson said. “It’s much more effective to be customer-solution oriented and that doesn’t happen unless you have internal advocates orienting towards a specific audience or customer type.”



  • B2B Buyers Want To Direct Their Buying Journey


Robertson said that the report predicts that buyers will seek a more balanced buying experience that includes human, physical, and digital engagements.

“Buyers need different sources of information to be delivered depending on the kind of decision they want to make,” Robertson said. “Buyers have permission and the power to expect more from their providers.”

This will mean that marketers need to recognise these new expectations and understand the customers’ needs, as well as their own.



  • Seller Engagement will Increase by 10{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b} 


The percentage of global purchase influencers who said their primary transaction method was digital increased from 28{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b} in 2018 to 31{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b} in 2019, while, 57{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b} said that they still make their initial technology purchase with a salesperson. Meanwhile, the number of business buyers who say they found interacting with a sales representative superior to researching without guidance increased by 5{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b}.

“The ability to have another trusted collaborator on how to make decisions and look at alternatives is always there with human to human contact,” Robertson said.

People want their interactions with humans to increase, but only after entering deep into the sales funnel via their research, then going back to the top be guided back down by a sales rep.

“All along the way, supplementing those human conversations with digital guidance is incredibly important, whether through videos, infographics, and even emails,” Robertson added. “There’s a lot of information that is available, and is increasingly available to sellers about who they’re talking too and how they can better serve human buyers more effectively.”



  • More Organisations to Shift Towards Audience-Based Structures


About three-quarters (73{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b}) of global B2B marketing leaders have adopted journey maps within the marketing department, but only 35{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b} say they are the basis for their strategy.

B2B marketers are still sticking closely with past practice, with 36{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b} organising around industry segments, and 43{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b} organising by channel-specific domain expertise.

The report predicts that next year, the number of B2B marketing leaders who say their companies organise to support customer journeys will increase from 18{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b} to 48{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b}.