When B2B buyers feel confident about their ability to navigate a buying decision they are 2.6 times more likely on average to expand an existing relationship than those who lack confidence, according to Gartner, Inc. However, most marketing organizations focus their growth strategies on growing customer satisfaction and do little to build customer confidence in themselves and their ability to make the right decisions.
“Marketing leaders report their teams now play a direct role in pursuing more than half of all leads associated with expanding business inside existing accounts,” said Martha Mathers, managing vice president in Gartner’s Marketing practice. “However, 85% of commercial leaders report they are leaving significant amounts of growth on the table. There’s a clear disconnect here and an urgency to understand what marketing can do to truly help drive growth in existing accounts, particularly with signs of economic uncertainty in view.”
In a study of more than 1,000 B2B customers, Gartner found that typical growth strategies rooted in customer satisfaction or motivating customers to change have little impact on whether or not customers will buy more from a supplier. In fact, 78% of B2B buyers with new business needs are as likely to choose a new provider as they are to expand their account with the incumbent — regardless of how satisfied they are with their current supplier. Customer satisfaction more than doubles the likelihood of repurchase, or continuing with the status quo, but has no measurable effect on growth.
Instead, Gartner found that B2B customers who feel confident in their ability to make the right purchase decision are more likely to buy more from their suppliers. This is because decision confidence helps customers feel capable of change and overcoming the challenges associated with that change.
“It’s about building customer confidence in themselves,” added Mrs. Mathers. “Marketing organizations that can build customer confidence in their ability to make decision change that’s good for their business will not only differentiate themselves from the competition, but will be better positioned to drive high-quality growth.”
B2B buying groups tend to feel more confident when they have consensus around the need for change, and they feel they have identified the right considerations and have asked the right questions when making a decision, according to Gartner. To that end, B2B marketers can boost buyer confidence by employing the following tactics:
- Integration Support: Marketers should guide customers on how to get started with new products and services, helping drive adoption among diverse customer stakeholders and connecting them to robust user community networks. This helps reassure customers that they made the right choice and ensures a positive onboarding experience. Suppliers who focus on integration support experience a 2.9x lift in decision confidence.
- Buyer Enablement: Customers today value suppliers that provide them with the right information, through the right channels, designed to make each critical task in the purchase process easier. This type of support demonstrates to customers that change is not only desirable, but possible. Suppliers who provide Buyer Enablement content increase decision confidence by 4x.
- Customer Improvement and Affirmation: By identifying an opportunity for customers to change their business in some material fashion that they may not have fully appreciated before, marketers can better provide a compelling reason for them to take action. Combine this with clear steps that customers can and should take in order to reach that goal and suppliers can increase customers’ decision confidence by 3.2x.
Additional details are available to Gartner for Marketers clients in the report “Elevating Marketing’s Role in B2B Account Growth.”
About the Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo
Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo provides marketing leaders actionable advice about the trends, tools and emerging technologies they need to deliver business results. Gartner for Marketers analysts address the biggest opportunities, challenges and priorities marketers face today, including data and analytics, customer experience, content marketing, customer insight, marketing technology (martech) and multichannel marketing. Additional information is available at www.gartner.com/en/conferences/na/marketing-symposium-us. Follow news and updates for the event on Twitter at #GartnerMKTG.
About Gartner for Marketers
Gartner for Marketers provides the objective, expert advice and proven tools CMOs and other marketing leaders need to seize the right opportunities with clarity and confidence, and stay ahead of the trends that matter. With in-depth research and analysis, Gartner for Marketers helps you focus on the opportunities with the greatest potential to deliver results. More information on Gartner for Marketers is available online at www.Gartner.com/marketing/.