A Tale of Two B2B Buying Journeys

The B2B marketplace is seeing a transformation of the buying journey, and it’s causing conflict. Buyers are decidedly digital-first, and a great many of them go through almost the entirety of their buying journey without directly engaging with solution vendors.

B2B marketers and sellers, however, tend to be frozen in a different era. Their processes, supported by an increasingly unwieldy revenue tech stack, are a poor match with the needs and desires of today’s buyers.

This conflicting nature of this relationship, buyer versus seller rather than buyer and seller, threatens revenue teams who are slow to adapt.

A path in a snowy woods, forking off into two different directions.

B2B Sellers Rooted in the Past

Ten years ago, B2B sellers went through a digital transformation en masse, automating processes and empowering a more virtual, more digital experience. They sought increased efficiency and effectiveness in their go-to-market (GTM) processes, and for the most part, they succeeded wildly.

B2B sellers weren’t particularly empathetic to buyers in 2012. After all, they had transformed their selling processes to provide buyers a significant upgrade in experience based on what was previously possible. 

However B2B sellers didn’t design their new GTM processes around the buyer journey. Rather, they prescribed the buyer journey to their customers. Sellers guided buyers down their prescribed path, primarily on the sellers’ terms, on the sellers’ timelines.

Buyers didn’t have any better choices, and the new 2012 experience was better than before, so they went with it. Times have changed though, and those old B2B selling processes are really beginning to chafe.

The word 'new' painted in white on an orange brick wall.

B2B Buyers Usher in a New Era

Over the past decade, B2B buying journeys trended more and more digital. The pandemic accelerated that change.

Today, buyers are deep into the Consideration phase before engaging with a prospective vendor’s representative. Gartner states 83% of the buyer journey is conducted with the buyer disengaged with any representative.

Buyers no longer want to be guided down a seller’s predetermined path. Rather, they’re content to go off on their own journey, even if it means it might not be quite as efficient. Buyers are willing to trade a bit of efficiency to avoid the friction and resulting pain of prescribed paths.

But, what if buyers could have both?

New Buyer-Centric GTM Processes Emerge

Today’s revenue tech stack, when fully integrated and empowered, can fully support both buyers and sellers along both processes.

Buyers leave behind an enormous amount of data — buyer signals — at each step along their digital buying journeys. RevTech exists to collect that data. However, too often that data is fragmented, invisible or unavailable to the revenue team members who should be actioning it.

Signal management is a critical component of the modern revenue orchestration process. In signal management, RevTech solutions analyze buying signals and surface those that are high priority, high value, and time sensitive. 

Ideally, the tech stack then collates the necessary data and meets the buyer at the next step in her buying journey. Think of it as a water station along a marathon route. As the buyer continues with her journey, the data she needs to facilitate her journey is right there waiting for her.

Marketers and sellers are now tasked with facilitating the buyer journey. Schematically, it’s a significant departure bending the buyer to old revenue team processes.

Free Your Frozen Revenue Tech Stack

The next stage in B2B’s ongoing digital transformation is to free the frozen RevTech stack. Starting with customer empathy, chart the buying journeys taken by the different personas across your ideal customer profiles (ICPs). Then, build out the connected tech stack that supports your buyers along their journeys. 

Remember this principle: Your integrated, connected revenue tech stack is built to empower your buyers. Your sales and marketing processes are then built to accommodate the buyer. After all, what’s good for your customers is good for your business.

  • B2B Buying Journey
  • Buyer signals
  • Digital buying journeys
  • digital transformation
  • revenue orchestration
  • signal management
About the Author
Ray Hartjen

Ray Hartjen is an experienced writer for the tech industry and published author. You can connect with Ray on both LinkedIn & Twitter.