In my talk, “You Are Not the Customer,” I use the following data from SpiceWorks that demonstrates “The Disconnect Between Marketers and IT Buyers.” I encourage you to download the entire study.  A big takeaway, highlighted by the blue and red darts, is that “IT buyers rely on targeted communities while marketers focus on broad social networks.”

New Report on “The B2B Buying Disconnect”

Recently, vendor review company TrustRadius released another significant study along those same lines, titled, “The B2B Buying Disconnect,” that also surveyed buyers and sellers.  This report strongly bolsters and provides additional insights into my points about the yawning gap between B2B marketers and buyers…and how to close it.

Highlights from this report include:

“Vendors are focusing on providing materials that buyers don’t find very useful or trustworthy.”
  • My Take: Marketers continue to talk past their customers with too much fluff and not enough substance that will assist B2B buyers in their research process.
“Buyers want hands-on experience with the product and insights from customers.”
  • My take: Software buyers aren’t just saying, “don’t tell me, show me,” they’re saying, “let me try it for myself before I buy it.” This implies a relative lack of trust in what the vendor “says” vs. what the vendor has actually built.
“Vendors see their role as strategic, yet most buyers said the vendor played a pragmatic role.”
  • My Take: Vendors that want more strategic discussions with buyers have to deliver insights and value that is actually meaningful to the vendor. Vendors that simply set up demos and provide product spec’s are not considered strategic.

I strongly recommend you download a free copy of the report here.

The overall takeaway

B2B companies need to immediately acknowledge the longstanding disconnect in the way they market–the messaging, channels and tactics as well as the sales process–to ensure everything aligns with the way buyers want to research and make purchase decisions. Companies must increase the level of transparency, insights and substance in their marketing and sales activities to make it easier for prospects to do research and buy.

One reason for the disconnect, In my experience, is that not nearly enough B2B marketers spend enough time meeting directly with customers and prospects–outside of sales meetings. The insights they glean will help them get a first-hand understanding of real pain points, use cases and the real-world language (not marketing speak) that the target audience uses every day.

So the call to action here is that directors and above of marketing, product marketing, product  management and even marcom should schedule a “listening tour” of about two dozen customers, lost customers, active prospects and lost prospects.

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Speaking of “transparency,” I like the TrustRadius mission:

To bring transparency to the world of enterprise technology by helping technology users learn from their peers to find better solutions, implement them more effectively, and share best practices. In doing so, we aim to bring efficiencies to both the buying and selling process, thereby allowing vendors to increase their investments in product improvements and customer service based upon client feedback.

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