Today, Engageware announced the results of our research on the state of the B2B buying experience, with data revealing deep dissatisfaction by B2B buyers over seller companies’ customer engagement strategies. Most notably among their concerns, B2B buyers cite a failure by B2B sellers to facilitate live interactions with knowledgeable employees regarding potential purchases.

Indeed, “What Buyers Want: The State of the B2B Buyer Experience” broadly indicates that buyers, when making business-to-business purchases for work requirements, are increasingly frustrated by the services they encounter.

The short of it is that B2B selling organizations have failed to keep pace with the expectations of today’s On-Demand consumers, who now expect a B2B buying experience similar to the customized, seamless buying journey they routinely enjoy when making individual consumer purchases from companies like Amazon or Netflix.

It’s worth remembering that buyers are consumers first, and their experience as consumers influences their B2B buying behavior. Our survey data show that B2B customers have unmet needs throughout the decision journey, meaning sellers must adopt a personalized, balanced engagement approach to both digital-only and human interactions. This starts with live engagement, and we see that disconnect expressed throughout our survey.

Here are a few specific data points from the report:

  • 84% of surveyed professional buyers reported that they “Always” or “Frequently” do not receive responses to their questions related to a purchase. Post-sale, the numbers were equally stark: 76% of buyers reported that they “Always” or “Frequently” do not receive a response when making support or service-related inquiries after a purchase.
  • 83% of buyers surveyed said their preference for interacting with a company for purchasing for work is to schedule a pre-arranged time for a phone call or virtual appointment—making appointment scheduling the top channel of interaction above web chat, email or phone.
  • 88% of B2B buyers, on average, said it’s important to have live meetings or appointments with a company they may buy from. These numbers increase significantly for buyers of technology (92%), and banking or financial services products (96%). Further, 90% of B2B buyers reported that the availability of live appointment setting made a company easier to buy from, and 91% agreed that they would like it to be easier to schedule meetings with companies when making purchases for work.
  • 94% of B2B buyers agreed that they tend to buy more from a company when they have live interactions with a “knowledgeable” employee.

Our survey data send a very clear message to B2B sellers: you must offer multiple channels and multiple opportunities for live engagement that allow customers to connect with any number of knowledgeable company resources. Live interactions, facilitated by easy-access appointment scheduling, are the key to that type of successful customer engagement and offer a way for B2B sellers to improve on their customer engagement shortcomings.

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