The pre-decision gap: 84 percent of B2B deals are decided before marketers even know about the buyers

by | Dec 18, 2023 | Marketing, Public Relations

At a time when sales and marketing executives agree that revenue generation has become increasingly difficult, new research from B2B marketing platform 6sense demonstrates how marketing efforts play a critical role in the B2B buying journey since 84 percent of deals are decided upon first contact—which means buyers need to be made aware of the qualities of your services during the consideration stage, before they ever reach out to you. This is where smart marketing pays off.

The firm’s 2023 B2B Buyer Experience Report shows that while B2B sales and marketing teams now have access than ever to more insights and data to enable smarter sales strategies, buyers typically initiate contact with sellers directly—when they are already 70 percent through the buying process. This translates to eight months in an average deal cycle.

The new research makes it clear that B2B organizations should exert considerable marketing effort to create awareness and develop a relationship with members of the buying committee early in the buying process to create a competitive advantage. In doing so, buyers are influenced towards their solutions sooner, simplifying the buying process and contributing to a better long-term customer experience.

The pre-decision gap: 84 percent of B2B deals are decided before marketers even know about the buyers

Solutions utilizing AI will be key in bridging the gap between B2B buyers and revenue teams to enable stronger strategy alignment

With technology solutions powered by AI, companies can more accurately pinpoint best-fit opportunities while they are early in their buying journeys. This allows B2B sellers to fully focus on enabling buyers to choose them outside of the selling process through opportunities like industry events or via online communities.

“AI has been a great enabler for sales and marketing teams. We’re in an age where immense amounts of data [are] at our fingertips,” said Kerry Cunningham, head of research & thought leadership at 6sense, and a former Forrester Analyst, in a news release. “Armed with that data, go-to-market organizations can cover prospects in the pre-decision phase of their journeys and direct their very best efforts where those efforts are likely to produce the best result.”

The pre-decision gap: 84 percent of B2B deals are decided before marketers even know about the buyers

Underpinning the need for effective sales and marketing solutions, the survey found:

  • Buyers engage with sellers when they are ready—not before—about 70 percent through their buying journeys
  • By the time of this first contact, 78 percent of buyers have mostly or completely established their business requirements
  • Thus, 84 percent of buyers said the first vendor they contacted ultimately won the business
  • This means, if vendors haven’t won buyers over during the first two-thirds of the buying process, based on the results of this study, they have a mere 16 percent chance of winning a deal
  • By influencing buyers early in their journeys through effective marketing strategies, selling organizations can eliminate competitors and shorten buying cycles substantially

Read the full report here.

The study was conducted between June and July 2023 which evaluated feedback from more than 900 B2B buyers with respondents representing the technology, accounting, legal, and purchasing departments. Each participant had engaged in a B2B purchase of greater than $10,000 in annual value within the last 24 months.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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