Why Do Supplier Information Channels Fail?
Over 80% of B2B buyers use Supplier Information Channels (SIC) to research their buying decisions before they purchase. However, only 30% feel that the information found there is “Impactful,” a concerning metric when you consider that buyers who find SIC information helpful are three times more likely to spend more and regret less.
The Disconnect with Supplier Information Channels
The problem is, most marketing and sales content is designed from the inside out. As a result, marketing and sales decide internally what the buyer wants to hear without any outside feedback, which often results in missed opportunities.
To align information channels with the buyer’s needs, companies need to use a Voice of the Customer (VoC) program to gather the actual needs and desires of their buyers.
When you consider the challenges we face today—how quickly technology advances, more demanding buyer expectations, and the pain points companies face daily in staying relevant—it’s more important than ever to apply data-driven intelligence to support every business decision.
And though digital data is valuable, it only tells part of the story, and usually after the fact. Voice of the Customer programs (VoCs) help you get ahead of the data, so you can implement changes before they become customer pain points and barriers to growth.
Some of the ways your SIC might be failing include:
- Lack of relevant information
- Hard to find information quickly or easily
- Not enough detailed information about the product
- No pricing information
- The information does not advance the buying process
- The information does not reflect current buyer preferences
Plus, we need to consider that today’s B2B buyer is usually part of a team of buyers and might not have the ultimate authority to purchase without consensus.
According to Gartner, buyers spend the vast majority of their time researching solutions through various online and offline SICs—as opposed to meeting with or speaking to sales reps directly. The same study revealed that 77% of those buyers thought their most recent purchase was complex or challenging in some way, indicating that it’s becoming harder for them to do their jobs successfully. Knowing this, you’ve got an opportunity to problem-solve that can’t be understated. So let’s look at ways to go about it.
What Can You Do To Improve Your SICs?
Improving your SICs goes a long way to improving buyer experience and minimizing friction at every stage of the purchasing process.
Establishing a strong relationship is critical, as today’s buyers are usually part of a larger team from which they must gain consensus. Appealing to them in the awareness phase sets a positive tone for the next steps, and since your SICs are often the first interaction they’ll have with your company, that’s where it starts.
SICs are a way for buyers to vet and eliminate solutions, so the more concisely you can answer their questions and solve their problems, the better chance you’ll have of getting them to take the next step.
But your buyer personas will only get you so far. Have you accounted for the events of the past year? What’s changed? What are your competitors doing? When you consider the rapid-fire disruption we’ve all experienced, there are bound to be some concerns that have a bearing on your products, services, and how you deliver them.
Let The Voice of the Customer Guide You
Forward-thinking brands and companies are turning to Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs to help them fine-tune their SICs and answer customer questions more precisely. If you’re just speculating, you don’t really know.
A VoC program is a closed-loop feedback chain that offers more meaningful insights, opening up a two-way conversation between your organization and its ideal buyers. When applied, your VoC program will create new opportunities for loyalty and business growth.
Developing Your VoC Strategy: What Questions to Ask
A VoC program helps you get inside the minds of your buyers so you can stand in their shoes and truly understand their motivations and pain points. The results will help you continuously and dynamically improve the buyer experience, ensuring your SICs both meet their needs and also help you convert those interactions into leads or sales.
Use your VoC program to ask the following:
- What is the buyer’s reason for seeking a solution?
- What are the compelling criteria that will influence their buying decision?
- What content was available (what did they find) to help them discover more about the products/services they were looking for?
- What content resonated with them?
- What content didn’t resonate?
- What content did they want but could not find?
- Where did they go for the content they wanted?
- Did they eventually find what they were looking for? And if not, what was the next step?
The information you gather here should inform you, but it’s also a way to give the customer a voice, and that has value in itself. These days, B2B buyers are not that different from B2C in that they have more choice than ever before, and they appreciate having a voice, especially if it means improvements in customer experience or service delivery. Being able to engage directly with you builds loyalty and trust. When they see their thoughts and ideas implemented, those responses grow even stronger as it encourages an emotional connection to the brand.
If your supplier information channels can be fine-tuned to what your buyers are looking for, your sales process will see less friction, the information you provide will be aligned to your offerings, and sales will happen more quickly and easily. The more barriers you can remove, the better the customer experience, and that’s something buyers will keep coming back for.
Primary Intelligence’s VoC program leverages direct interviews with buyers and customers to find out their honest perceptions on a supplier’s products, company, sales team, and pricing as well as those of the supplier’s competition. It’s data you can immediately apply to improve your SICs and to maximize sales and marketing ROI.
For more intel, reach out today.