Top 3 insights about B2B buyers in 2022
Discover the latest B2B industry and buyer trends to understand what matters most to business decision-makers.
The current business need for more technology is a golden opportunity for SaaS vendors. However, it’s challenging for leaders to navigate a rapidly changing landscape that includes increased competition, accelerated speed of business, and new era of distributed decision-making for tech purchases. This new reality puts greater pressure on vendors to become more agile and make sure their brand, message, product, and new ideas resonate in a changed buyer landscape.
So, what matters most to decision-makers and buying groups when making a SaaS purchase? And what B2B industry trends should you keep an eye on in 2022? Recently, Laura Wronski, Momentive senior manager of research science, and Sam Gutierrez, Momentive research scientist, sat down to answer these questions and share results from their latest study of 296 business decision-makers (BDMs)1.
Business decision-makers face decision paralysis
“BDMs are juggling a lot in terms of managing timelines, people, and more specifically, the data and inputs that go into making decisions,” said Sam Gutierrez. In fact, six in 10 business decision-makers say they’re experiencing decision paralysis, citing a lack of data and insights, and lengthy timelines.
“BDMs are juggling a lot in terms of managing timelines, people, and more specifically, the data and inputs that go into making decisions.”
The data challenge is two-fold: 33% of BDMs say they don't have the proper tools to gain insights and 32% say they have more data than they know how to process—both highlight a pressing need for increased data fluency across the organization and decision-makers. As a result, 67% of BDMs say purchasing decisions take more time to make, with 78% indicating the purchase process takes three or more months.
33% of BDMs say they don't have the proper tools to gain insights.
AI investment continues to accelerate in 2022
While it’s no surprise to learn that technology investments will continue in 2022, it’s interesting to note that BDMs feel AI, ML, and automation are becoming increasingly indispensable to business decision-making. In fact, 55% of BDMs said their organization increased usage of AI, ML, and automation tools for decision-making during the pandemic. Yes, cloud services, data management, and cybersecurity remain top priority purchases, but 47% of BDMs say AI, ML, and automation are very important to the future of their organization.
So, what does this mean for SaaS vendors? A full 62% of BDMs said they are more likely to purchase from a vendor that incorporates AI or ML elements in their offering. And 74% of BDMs revealed they plan to increase investment in AI, ML, and automation over the next five years, making it critical for B2B marketers to ensure their AI message resonates with buyers and understand what their buyers need across the journey.
Business decision makers say brand values matter
Another major shift to be aware of is the changing expectations BDMs have for their vendors. Social responsibility now plays an important role in the buyer-vendor relationship, as 84% of BDMs say that a vendor's corporate social responsibility values, such as equality, sustainability, and community giving are important to their organization’s purchasing decisions.
Vendors whose values are not aligned face an uphill battle in garnering consideration for their products: 79% of business decision-makers say that they are ‘very or somewhat likely’ to stop purchasing from a vendor if they made a business decision that conflicted with their values. This trend is even more pronounced with IT decision-makers (ITDMs): 90% say a vendor's corporate social responsibility is both very and somewhat important to the decision-making process.
Staying ahead of changing customer expectations
It’s a great time to be a SaaS vendor, but the buying process is more complex, with more stakeholders and expectations. Anticipating the next industry trend and succeeding with today’s buyers requires deeper insights. That’s why many are turning to agile market research to keep pace with buyers’ evolving needs, build a brand and product customer love, and make faster decisions with confidence. “There’s a lot of pressure to keep up in this space and vendors need to be equipped to anticipate changing expectations. If you’re not adapting to your customer needs, you might risk losing that business in the future,” said Wronksi.
“There’s a lot of pressure to keep up in this space and vendors need to be equipped to anticipate changing expectations. If you’re not adapting to your customer needs, you might risk losing that business in the future.”
To learn more about the key dynamics of the B2B era, including what criteria are most important to B2B buyers when selecting a vendor and how they like to communicate with vendors, check out the full conversation. Also, if you’re interested in learning more about how B2B companies are using market research to stay ahead of what’s next, I highly recommend you check out our latest guide: 4 Market Research Strategies for B2B Success.
1 This Momentive study was conducted on January 24, 2022 among a sample of 296 business decision-makers in the U.S. Respondents for this survey were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on our platform each day.