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July 27, 2023

6 B2B Buying Trends You Can’t Ignore

by Michael Brenner

In the fast-paced and ever-changing world of B2B commerce, staying on top of the latest B2B buying trends is a must for businesses that want to stay relevant. As tools and technologies continue to advance and customer expectations evolve, businesses must adapt their buying strategies in order to remain competitive.

In this article, we will explore 6 B2B buying trends that you simply can’t afford to ignore. Understanding and leveraging these trends will help you better connect with your customers, win more business, and give you a competitive advantage in your market.

Quick Takeaways

  • B2B buyers say they expect personalization at every stage of the buying process, from discovery through to post-purchase and retention.
  • Businesses must embrace digital-first trends like mobile optimization and e-commerce, two long standing B2C buyer trends now making their way into the B2B world.
  • Buyers want to work with brands they trust. Sustainable and ethical practices are a big factor in earning that trust.
  • Many buyer organizations use buying teams or committees to make decisions. B2B businesses must be able to cater to multiple decision makers on a single account.

6 B2B Buying Trends You Need On Your Radar

Personalized Buying Experiences

If you’re only going to pay attention to one B2B buying trend, make it this one—personalization is paramount to winning new business in the B2B world. 

B2B marketing and sales is no longer about casting a wide net and hoping to catch results. Now, buyers expect personalization at every stage of their journey, from 57% during the discovery phase to 71% during the post-purchase and retention phase. To earn new sales and retain your current customers, you must personalize their experience with your brand.

Bar chart showing the percentage of B2B buyers who expect personalization at each stage of the buyer journey.

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This means tailoring product recommendations, pricing, and communication to meet individual buyer needs. By leveraging data analytics and AI-powered technologies, businesses can provide a personalized buying journey, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Mobile Optimization

Mobile devices have become an integral part of our lives, and B2B buyers are no exception. In fact, a staggering 90% of B2B buyers who report a superior mobile experience are likely to make repeat purchases, vs. only 50% of those who have a poor mobile experience.

In other words: Mobile optimization is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have in the B2B space. 

Businesses must embrace this B2B buying trend by investing in responsive design, mobile apps, and mobile-friendly interfaces to cater to the growing number of buyers who prefer to conduct business through their smartphones and tablets.

Embracing E-Commerce

E-commerce has revolutionized B2C buying, and it’s making its way into the B2B world as well. 

Traditional sales models are being supplemented or even replaced by online marketplaces, platforms, and self-service portals. B2B buyers are increasingly comfortable with making large purchases online, and they expect the convenience and efficiency that e-commerce offers.

By embracing e-commerce, businesses can reach a wider audience, streamline the buying process, and reduce costs associated with traditional sales channels. Further, they can free up more time for their sales team to focus on prospect engagement vs. transactional tasks.

Transparency and Trust

Trust is the cornerstone of any successful B2B relationship. In recent years, buyers have become more cautious and discerning, particularly when it comes to complex and high-value purchases. 

They expect transparency in pricing, product information, and terms and conditions. To gain buyer trust, businesses must provide accurate and detailed information, ensure secure transactions, and offer transparent customer support. Companies that prioritize trust-building initiatives will stand out from their competitors and foster long-term customer loyalty.

Sustainable and Ethical Practices

Sustainability and ethical considerations are increasingly influencing B2B purchasing decisions. Buyers want to align themselves with socially responsible and environmentally conscious suppliers. They expect full transparency in supply chains, eco-friendly product options, and fair labor practices. After all, the partners and vendors a company works with can also impact their brand reputation.

Businesses that embrace sustainable practices and communicate their commitment to social responsibility will not only attract more buyers but also contribute to a better future.

Integration of AI and Automation

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation technologies are transforming B2B buying processes. From chatbots and virtual assistants to predictive analytics and machine learning, businesses are leveraging AI to enhance efficiency and deliver more accurate insights. According to recent research by HubSpot, 82% of consumers expect an immediate response (10 minutes or less) when they have a marketing and sales question, and 91% expect it when they have a customer service question.

Customer service research by HubSpot shows that B2B consumers expect an immediate response from brands when they have questions.

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AI-powered systems can automate repetitive tasks, provide real-time data analysis, and assist buyers with quick response times throughout their purchasing journey. By embracing these technologies as they relate to B2B buying trends, businesses can streamline operations, improve decision-making, and provide a superior buying experience.

Collaborative Buying

Collaborative buying, also known as group or consensus buying, is gaining traction in the B2B landscape. Buyers are involving more stakeholders in the decision-making process to ensure better alignment and shared responsibility. Understanding the dynamics of collaborative buying and tailoring your sales strategy accordingly can significantly impact your success rate.

This can best be done by understanding the buyer personas that exist within the organizations you sell to, and ensuring your sales process caters to the needs and motivations of each decision maker involved in the potential purchase.

In Closing

The B2B buying landscape doesn’t stand still. Businesses that fail to adapt to the latest B2B buying trends risk being left behind. The 7 B2B buying trends discussed above—personalization, mobile optimization, embracing e-commerce, transparency and trust, sustainable and ethical practices, integration of AI and automation, and collaborative buying—are shaping the future of B2B marketing and sales success.

To stay competitive, businesses need to prioritize personalization by leveraging data and AI technologies to create tailored buying experiences. Mobile optimization is no longer optional, as buyers increasingly rely on their smartphones and tablets for B2B transactions. Embracing e-commerce provides convenience and efficiency, opening doors to a broader customer base.

By aligning strategies with these B2B buying trends, businesses can position themselves for success in a dynamic and competitive marketplace. Embracing these trends will empower businesses to meet customer expectations, enhance their competitiveness, and unlock new growth opportunities in the evolving B2B landscape.

Michael Brenner is a keynote speaker, author and CEO of Marketing Insider Group. Michael has written hundreds of articles on sites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Guardian and he speaks at dozens of leadership conferences each year covering topics such as marketing, leadership, technology and business strategy.