B2B Buyer Expectations in the Age of COVID-19

BY Rachel Cagle
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Everyone is limiting their budgets thanks to the prolonged COVID-​19 pandemic. Your marketing department has likely experienced a cut in funds. You need to make every ad dollar count. However, according to uberflip’s 2021 B2B Marketing Report, “there’s often a disconnect between the experiences they (marketers) deliver and what buyers expect.” To overcome this obstacle, you need to know what your client’s B2B buyer expectations are.

B2B Buyer Expectations in the Age of COVID-19


Your client is probably among the 52% of marketers who wholeheartedly believe that their personalization is top notch. Hopefully that’s the case. However, most marketers miss out on what B2B buyer expectations in this realm are. The most important aspect of marketing personalization for B2B buyers is having the problem they’re looking to solve addressed. Instead, most B2B marketers focus simply on including the customer’s name in their marketing outreach. “While personalization based on a customer’s problem is more difficult than pulling their name, company, and industry out of a CRM database, our results show it’s worth the effort,” says uberflip. “Understanding a buyer’s pain based on content consumed, persona, industry, intent data, or conversations are just a few ways you can accomplish this.”

The good news is that there are two remaining top personalization components that B2B buyers want. They are specific references to their company or industry. These are both aspects of B2B marketing that at least 40% of marketers constantly deliver. So, encourage your clients to keep that up!

Content Selection

According to uberflip, 97% of B2B buyers “engage with more than one piece of content from a vender after they click through from an email, ad, social media post, etc.” Unfortunately, this is another area of disconnect between B2B buyer expectations and what marketers deliver.

B2B buyers want content that is easy to consume. The top three content assets that these buyers find useful are user reviews (64%), product tours (43%), and videos (33%). What they’re getting from marketers instead are long-​form written content. The most common of these content types are sales sheets, whitepapers and e‑books. These content formats are obviously important for people who want to dive deeper into a company’s products or services. However, it likely won’t get to that point until a prospect has actually made a purchase or are at least further along in the sales process.

When it comes to marketing to B2B buyers, your client’s main goal is to get the prospect interested in learning more. So, the marketing should focus on having short-​format, easy to consume, and visually stimulating ad formats at the forefront, with long-​form written content to supplement these ads.

Cater to Researchers

Tight purse strings means that B2B buyers will only be purchasing what they need and what has been proven to work. This means they’ll be doing preliminary research online. B2B buyer expectations haven’t been met in this area of marketing either. Marketers primarily focus on their websites, their own sales reps, and email blasts to get their marketing messages out there. “Clicking through on online ads, social media posts and email blasts were the three least popular ways for buyers to research a purchase decision,” writes uberflip.

Instead, buyers are overwhelmingly (85%) taking to internet search to find useful, educational information that doesn’t come with a sales pitch.” Let your client know that the marketing distribution channels their target audience are actually using frequently are internet searches (85%), potential vendors’ websites (66%), online review sites (64%), and third-​party publications (63%). According to SalesFuel's Selling to SMBs study, 28% of SMB decision-​makers say that a testimonial from a satisfied customer can influence their buying decision if it seems credible.

To see how your client is measuring up to their competition online, run a Digital Audit on their business. You’ll see how they’re measuring up to B2B buyer expectations and what areas could use improvement.