Even in a recession, B2B customers are still buying everything from servers to CRM and business intelligence software, either to just keep the lights on or to better adapt to rapidly changing markets.  But the constant drumbeat of scary economic news and the flood of information from the Web have left B2B buyers with a “scarcity of attention.”

To make sales with these shell-shocked folks, B2B marketers should keep their pitches simple and easy to understand; modularize their products to make them easy, fast and inexpensive to install, and “nurture” leads over the long periods if often takes to close a sale.

Those were among the key points of a Webinar co-sponsored by Tippit, an online media and consulting firm, and marketing automation software vendor Marketo. According to a buyer survey done in February, customers are still replacing broken hardware, as well as investing in software such as business intelligence that “gives them forward-looking visibility” into changing markets, says Tippit Founder and CEO Scott Albro.

Buyers also seem to be attracted, says Albro, to “lightweight, modular applications, especially in the software space,” rather than expensive, long-term, “big-bang” application suites.  They’re leery of not only the up-front “sticker shock” of big software packages, he says, but of the time and effort it would take to integrate them with existing systems and train users on them.

Finally, it takes longer to close a sale in today’s risk-averse environment – as many as 30 interactions over nine months to close a CRM deal. Rather than risk losing prospects with a lengthy qual form up-front, for example, he recommends finding cost-efficient ways to “nurture” them with continuing contacts until they’re ready to buy. One possibility I suggest: Using readership tracking to supplement or even replace manual qual forms.

While the Webinar was done in February, its well worth spending ten minutes on, as it looks like this recession – and the effects on B2B purchase patterns – won’t be ending soon.

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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