Buyers Prefer Vendors Who Share Data, Strategic Advice

Vendor Message

Corporate buyers are primarily interested in how an HR technology solution will give their company a competitive advantage. They’re particularly turned off by vendors who focus on their own products and technology at the expense of learning about the customer’s challenges.

A report from the Aberdeen Group, What do B2B Buyers Want?, says customers prioritize how a product can help them execute successful strategies and win in the marketplace. Buyers are simply frustrated by long discussions about your internal workings, your team’s approach to developing a solution, and how a product technically operates.

Also ineffective: Pitches about how a product could positively impact a buyer’s career path. Just 6 percent cited that as a reason for paying a premium, Aberdeen said.

#HRTech customers are frustrated by long discussions about vendors' internal workings and how a product technically operates. #HR #HRTribe #Sales Click To Tweet

“More than anything, B2B buyers want their businesses to succeed as businesses,” the report said. “They want to execute successful strategies and beat the competition. And they want to know if the solution they are about to invest in is going to get them there.”

When asked why their company had paid a premium for business solutions in the past, 42 percent said they did so because the product or service would “generate a competitive advantage.” Twenty-one percent did so when a product was the only one that could solve their problem. Nineteen percent paid a premium to solve an immediate need.

Numbers show the importance of a vendor’s business acumen,
tailored to the customer’s needs.

More than anything else, strategic concerns steer corporate decision-making. Asked how they knew it was time to buy something, 67 percent of the respondents answered “when our business strategy calls for it.”

Buyers Want Vendors’ Expertise

To convince customers that a product will achieve their business goals, vendors do best by taking a partner-like approach. Sales and marketing teams that deliver true business insights succeed more often than those that tell customers what they want to hear. Buyers “are looking for you to help them actually make a decision that is in their best interest,” Aberdeen said.

That suggests vendors do well by leveraging their own industry knowledge to educate customers about how they can help achieve success. Teaching companies about different business strategies “can be very effective,” Aberdeen said. In fact, two-thirds of the organizations surveyed said they’re more likely to work with vendors who challenge the way they currently do business.

“Buyers look to [vendors] to help them think through their challenges,” said the report. “Along the way, they not only want you to help them make a purchasing decision, but they also want you to educate them on how they should go about making that decision in the first place.”

However, vendors face a skeptical audience, at least at first. When TrustRadius asked corporate buyers about which sources of information were most trustworthy, anything associated with a vendor—web site, collateral or references, for example—came in dead last.

So buyers want information, but don’t innately trust vendors to provide it. The way around that conundrum is to partner with a third party who’s trusted in the market. Aberdeen said such a partner could be a research firm or a subject matter expert. “The key is providing prospects with an objective, fact-based perspective they can use to make a truly informed decision,” it said.

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