The future ain’t what it used to be. – Yogi Berra
The enterprise world has seen business cycles over the years and has learnt to adapt to the changes wrought by technology and globalization. As enterprises evolve, their approach to purchase is transforming. There are three key reasons for this:
A. Information Overload & paralysis in decision making
B. Consumerization of purchase
C. Millennials entering the workforce
In today’s hyper-connected world, business managers need to be far more aware and track signals than earlier. Impact of events (political, technical, economic or environmental) are far more global and speed of transmission far more rapid than earlier. As an example, a natural disaster in one location could disrupt supply chains globally. Likewise, new business models transmit in most global locations with rapid flow of capital and technical capability.
Given this, users have a need to understand and manage a diverse set of information sources of varying credibility and discern key signals. Traditional business frameworks for decision making cannot handle this complexity and managers look for alternate support structures to handle this.
There is a greater reliance to loop in expertise from different groups than having a single decision maker. Across industries, there are typically more stakeholders involved. As per Corporate Executive Board, a leading research body, an average of 5.2 executives are involved currently in a purchase decision.
Consumers have been exposed to a superior level of user-centered design and flexibility from organizations such as Apple, Amazon and Google. The re-imagined user experience has created deeper emotional connect and user participation through the B2C purchase process. Hence, we see users conducting extensive research on product choices and also sharing post-purchase feedback through social media.
This sense of empowerment during B2C purchase is now manifesting in the enterprise world also. Buyers seek to understand more about product options and seek to replicate their information sources from their personal experience- through online blogs, feedback from peers and social media channels
As millennials enter the workforce and start taking up decision-making roles, there is an increased willingness to question traditional business models and experiment around new priorities. Some areas where this is seen includes a greater preference for usage/experience over ownership. Likewise, there is more awareness of responsibility and idealism with a greater emphasis around sustainability and social causes. This varied world-view creates a new set of purchase preferences and evaluation parameters.
B2B buying has really changed and these changes in purchase process have significant implications around the sales process.