For B2B Buyers, Vendor Transparency Makes Purchasing Easier and Faster

April 1, 2019

Despite the heady growth of martech in the past few years, it seems that marketers aren’t too trusting of the information that vendors are attempting to feed them. In findings from a new report [download page] by TrustRadius, B2B buyers say that vendors’ website – and the other information they provide – are the least trustworthy of all the resources that buyers have available to them. And in turn, a decline in trust has led to vendors having less influence over buyers’ purchase decision-making.

More than one-third (36%) of B2B tech buyers surveyed say that vendors had low to no influence when it came to their choosing a product, while 44% said vendors were somewhat influential. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to see the product in action – in fact, free trials and product demos rank among the top of the list for influential sources of information, and are even more trusted than analyst rankings. Demos are also the most commonly used source of information, with more than 6 in 10 buyers using them as part of their research.

So, what can vendors do to win over skeptical buyers?

Being upfront and candid seems to be one of the keys to success. Asked to select their top 3 ways that vendors could make the buying process easier and faster, close to half (45%) of respondents pointed to vendors being more transparent about their product capabilities and limitations, making this the top choice.

With ROI being the key metric for measuring performance for the majority of B2B marketers, vendors can also make the buying process easier by having tools to help show ROI and/or to justify the purchase. These tools come second on the list, with more than 4 in 10 choosing it as one of their top 3 ways tech providers could improve the process.

Last year, in a similar study, TrustRadius also found that among the buyers who said their vendor was very influential in their buying decision, 50% reported that the vendor provided customer evidence such as reviews, case studies or use cases. Sharing these customer experiences was ranked the 3rd best way to make the purchase process easier/faster for buyers in this more current research.

Buyers are also engaging in more research before parting ways with their budget. The number of resources buyers consult before purchasing has gone up slightly, with respondents referencing an average of 5.2 sources of information compared to 4.9 last year.

Coming in at spots 4 and 5, respectively, in the list of what vendors should look to improve, are: making information on vendor websites more straightforward; and making resources on the website easier to access.

Bridging the Trust Gap

As previously discussed, vendor transparency is seen as very important to buyers during their purchasing process. The problem is that while vendors may believe that they are being upfront and transparent, buyers have a very different perspective. The study found that 84% of the more than 220 vendors surveyed claimed to be open about their product’s limitations. However, only a little more than one-third (36%) of buyers felt that their vendor was forthcoming about any shortfalls.

The same gap exists when it comes to the importance of understanding the cons before buying a product. The majority (71%) of buyers find it to be very important to understand the cons prior to purchasing a product or service, but only slightly more than 4 in 10 vendors thought it was important to buyers.

Additionally, prior research has shown that nearly two-thirds (65%) of B2B buyers felt vendors placed more emphasis on selling than they did on listening to their needs.

Because of this, buyers are turning to other non-vendor-controlled sources such as user reviews, free trials and product demos to investigate the cons before making a purchase. To get ahead of this, vendors should be more forthcoming and listen to what their buyers are telling them. By highlighting their weaknesses, they may actually start to make more sales.

To read more, download the report here.

About the Data: The report was compiled from surveys of 941 participants who helped buy or sell business technology for their company in the past year. The breakdown of respondents was 712 buyers and 229 vendor marketer and salespeople.

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