The 2022 B2B Buyer’s Journey, Explained In Simple Pictures

Lauren Pitman

Lauren Pitman

Head of Copy & Creative

My mom once overheard me on Google Meets with my colleague and said “You’re so good at your job. It sounds so hard.”

My self-esteem soared but I knew the truth: fill your sentences with enough buzzwords and people will think you’re smart and knowledgable. But you also alienate many people who genuinely don’t understand what you’re talking about. And that’s a lot of B2B marketing – simple concepts dressed up as fancy jargon.

I’ve picked apart the latest B2B buyer research from Gartner, TrustRadius, and LinkedIn’s B2B Institute. Then I’ve summarised the 4 most important things you need to wrap your head around in simple paragraphs (with some hand-drawn pictures!😀).

Because which B2B marketer has time to read 7 eBooks per quarter in 2022?

Reality No.1: Today, B2B buying is a squiggly journey.

The linear B2B buyer’s journey is a thing of the past.

Like [almost] everything else in the world, our B2B buyer’s journey is becoming more complex. This is because you have more than one buyer going back and forth between checking out software pricing, asking questions in forums, trying out free trials etc.

Not only will they conduct this research in an order that suits them, but they’ll also share their research in a fragmented way. Your buyers are using everything from email to Slack to virtual meetings and in-person conferences to share their research with the rest of the buying committee.

Squiggly B2B buying journeys can feel stressful and overwhelming for B2B marketers, but if you know how to make the most of them, you’re already ten steps ahead of the pack.

What a Squiggly Journey Looks Like IRL👇

The most important thing to remember about the squiggly journey is that we’re in the age of what TrustRadius calls “the self-serve buyer.”

They learn about products online, do their own research, and reach out to their personal network with questions – all before engaging with a sales team.

💡If you want to win over your self-serve B2B buyer, you’ve got to :

  1. Give them information that makes buying easier i.e. information that helps them anticipate or overcome obstacles 🕳️🏃
  2. Make this information available to them at every point on their journey i.e. build long-term, always-on digital campaigns 🔁

Reality No. 2: B2B Buying is a team sport.

TrustRadius’ fantastic research discovered that ⅓ of buyers say that they’ve had an increase in collaboration amongst decision-makers since the pandemic. This makes sense since any employee can do their own research. And seeing that B2B purchases affect the entire company, everyone wants to weigh in on making the right decision.

As a marketer, this means your content should be understood by people in marketing, finance, sales and other non-IT departments.

 Statistic Source

💡But how?

  • Understand your buying committee’s needs with Voice-of-Customer Research.
  • Get rid of the confusing IT jargon.
  • When creating content, think: can this be easily shared with the whole committee?🤔

Reality No. 3: Millennial buyers are sceptical of sales reps.

Millennial B2B buyers are generally like Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation: the ultimate sceptics. As TrustRadius puts it – buyers are using vendor sales reps less than ever before.

They ignore ads that feel like ads, they want data-backed evidence (not in-your-face salespeople), and they’ll come to you when they’re ready.

This is why an always-on digital presence – offering genuinely helpful content – is your best chance at getting more buyers to say “yes.”

💡“But you can’t just fire your sales reps. So what do you do?”

Here are our thoughts:
Your sales reps become consultants rather than the gatekeepers of basic information. They’re ready to answer any objections when a buyer reaches out and they’re able to help buyers make sense of all their research.

Reality No. 4: Buyers feel overwhelmed by digital noise.

There’s a lot of high-quality information out there. While that may sound like a good thing, it’s hugely overwhelming for your buyers. Turns out, buyers spend 15% of their buying cycle time picking apart stacks of information to find what’s relevant.

To add to the chaos, 75% of B2B buyers found the information to be inconsistent across channels, which only makes their decision harder.

💡Your solution?

Give buyers what they want.  The top 3 things buyers want  as self-serve options: software pricing (71%), demos/free trials (70%), and customer reviews (35%) . Make this available to them consistently across social media channels so that they can grab it the moment they need it. Remember to make the messaging crystal clear so that even our technophobic colleagues can understand it😌

If you need a better understanding of what an always-on funnel looks like, let us know in the comments below! Oh, and please share this blog with someone who could use help with their B2B ads. They’ll thank you later 🙂