Growth Risks 2024: B2B Buying Behaviors are Evolving

31 May 24

Buying behaviors are shifting, and sellers need to adapt their commercial strategy if they want to stay ahead of their revenue goals.

An improving economic outlook for 2024 presents a golden opportunity for CEOs to capitalize on rising demand: 87% of surveyed CEOs see growth as a core element of their value creation strategy this year. However, buying behaviors are also changing, and not all companies are prepared to overcome the new challenges created by a dynamic buying environment, slowing growth and potential revenue capture.

For CEOs and growth leaders to retake the advantage, SBI has conducted a study into how buying behaviors are evolving and what implications they present for companies, revealing insights into how top companies are overcoming these challenges. In this blog post, we take a deep dive into our findings and explore how these changes can present growth risks for your value creation plan in 2024.

Buying Groups are Larger with More Executive Involvement

The priorities of B2B buyers today are constantly in flux, and a renewed focus on maintaining profitability also brings increased scrutiny on decisions. As a result, we see buying groups getting more members, with an average of 11 stakeholders per team. Moreover, these new members often comprise senior executives who can overrule decisions at any point.

Our survey data also shows a remarkable change in the decision-making process:

  • 38% of buying decision teams involved the CEO
  • 58% of buyers report that their decisions were often overruled by other senior executives

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Despite this shift in buying behaviors, many sellers still rely on outdated playbooks and processes that fail to preempt executive involvement, leading to reps wasting time and losing deals when they get caught off guard by senior executive approvals. This doesn’t just result in lost revenue, it may even damage supplier credibility when it’s clear to the buyer that the sellers are caught unaware and left stumbling, endangering the prospects of future deals.

The way forward is clear: plan for, embrace, and pull forward executive involvement. Leaders should evolve their commercial strategy with C-suite demands in mind, aligning the company’s value proposition with senior executives’ updated needs. Start by auditing 2023 deals to determine how executive involvement has changed for your buyers, and where your sellers have struggled.

Digital Fatigue Causes More Stress and Fewer Sales

The pandemic had caused a shift in how companies invest in digital and virtual conferencing tools, with many still benefitting from the reduced travel costs and convenience of remote work these tools have afforded. But in 2024, we noticed that buyer preferences are starting to change. Burned out from indistinct virtual meetings and forgettable sales pitches, buyers are frequently second-guessing their decisions and slowing sales cycles.

Our findings also support this notion: 64% of buying groups prefer in-person interactions when engaging with sellers. An overwhelming majority also find that in-person meetings create a more satisfying and productive experience in their buying journey, helping them get the support they need to come to a conclusive decision.

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The renewed emphasis on in-person engagements doesn’t render previous tech investments obsolete, rather, it highlights a need for the tools to evolve with the realities today. Start by adapting existing digital tools to help sellers engage buyers in both in-person and virtual methods, tailoring their approach based on the needs of the stakeholders. Help your sellers elevate your customer experience above the competition, boosting their likelihood of winning more deals.

What challenges have you faced in your path to growth this year? Follow our blog for more insights into buying behaviors and how you can get ahead of your value creation goals.


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