Selling to B2B Buyers

Highlight Industry Expertise When Selling to B2B Buyers

When selling to discerning B2B buyers, most sales reps focus on product or service attributes, an appropriate strategy since most selection decisions typically hinge on solution fit.

However sales teams can also distinguish themselves in buyers’ minds by knowing what non-solution factors are important to their prospects, including which factors are most important from an overall company perspective.

At Primary Intelligence, we recently completed research that examines which company-related criteria are most important to buyers, along with buyer perceptions of vendor performance in each criteria.

Industry Experience Most Important Company-related Attribute to B2B Buyers

Out of the eight company-related criteria measured in Primary Intelligence Win Loss programs, we found that the most important company attribute is experience in a buyer’s industry. Having deep expertise is overwhelmingly the most important company-related reason buyers use to determine if they should or shouldn’t do business with a vendor.

When selling to B2B Buyers demonstrate expertiseAnd what are buyer perceptions of vendors’ experience in their industry? 44% of buyers gave their vendors “excellent” ratings and 38% gave vendors “average” ratings when asked for feedback on vendor experience in their industries.

We found that buyers are generally happy with vendors in most of the company-based attributes overall.  One notable exception, however, is “Future Direction,” which a high percentage of buyers say their vendors are merely “average.”

“Service and Support” and “Customer References” are other areas of concern for many buyers. In these two categories, along with “Future Direction,” we found that more than 1 in 5 buyers believe their vendors are doing a poor job.

Healthcare Buyers Rate Vendors Highest in Company Attributes

Another interesting finding: Healthcare buyers are the most satisfied with their vendors compared to four other major verticals we track. Roughly 75% of buyers in the Healthcare industry describe their vendors as “excellent” in 7 out of the 8 company-related criteria measured by Primary Intelligence.

Healthcare industry excels when selling to B2B buyersBuyers in the Americas More Satisfied with Vendor Performance than APAC, EMEA Buyers

Geographically, vendors in North America and Latin America are doing better than their counterparts in Asia Pacific and EMEA when buyers were asked to judge company-related criteria. This is especially true in the categories of “Reputation,” “Company Size Fits Needs,” “Deliver What was Sold,” and “Experience in your Industry.”

Keeping Perspective

It’s important to put these findings in perspective: buyers typically make vendor selection decisions based on product- or service-related factors. In other words, buyers are looking first and foremost for the best solution that will meet their organization’s needs.

But make no mistake, company-related criteria can and do tip the scales in important outcomes. Knowing how these factors can influence your buyers’ decisions is critical to staying ahead of the competition and winning more deals.


Want to read more about the latest research from Primary Intelligence? Visit


Need some help understanding what’s important to your buyers? Our Win Loss Analysis program drives results! See a 10% increase in win rate – guaranteed. Contact us today.

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Carolyn Galvin
Director of Partnership Marketing at Primary Intelligence
As Director of Partnership Marketing, Carolyn Galvin works with referral and strategic partners to extend Win Loss and Customer Experience programs to a wider community of B2B buyers. She also produces syndicated research reports highlighting current trends and best practices in Win Loss and Customer Experience Analysis. Prior to her current role, Carolyn served as a Program Consultant and as Director of Industry Insights at Primary Intelligence since joining the company in early 2013.

Carolyn has nearly 20 years of market research, customer satisfaction, and competitive intelligence experience working for large corporations and research agencies, including Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper Networks, and Frost & Sullivan. Early in her career, Carolyn worked as an Intelligence Officer at the Central Intelligence Agency.

Prior to joining Primary Intelligence, Carolyn owned her own consulting firm, where she provided custom and syndicated research to clients worldwide on disruptive IT and telecommunications technologies.
Carolyn has two master’s degrees, one from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a second from Georgetown University. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Hood College in Maryland. Carolyn has also taken advanced Competitive Intelligence, Strategic Planning, and Strategic Marketing courses at the California Institute of Technology, as well as Digital Marketing classes at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Since 2007, Carolyn has taught online global business and management classes part-time at the University of Maryland.
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