TimeTrade Survey: B2B buyers prefer companies that offer appointment setting as part of the purchase process
94% say they would buy or buy more from a company when they have live interactions with knowledgeable employees.
BOSTON, MA – July 26, 2018 – TimeTrade, the leading provider of intelligent appointment scheduling, today released results from its research on the state of the B2B buying experience, with data revealing deep dissatisfaction by B2B buyers over seller companies’ customer engagement strategies. Most notably among their concerns, B2B buyers cite a failure by B2B sellers to facilitate live interactions with knowledgeable associates regarding potential purchases.
Results from the survey – “What Buyers Want: The State of the B2B Buyer Experience” – indicate that buyers, when making business-to-business purchases for work requirements, are increasingly frustrated by the services they encounter. Respondents confirm that today’s On Demand consumers now expect the same easy, frictionless experience as they routinely enjoy when purchasing from leading business-to-consumer companies such as Amazon or Netflix.
“B2B selling organizations continue to struggle to keep pace with the expectations of today’s On-Demand consumers, who now expect a B2B buying experience similar to the customized, seamless buying journey they routinely enjoy when making individual consumer purchases,” said Gary Ambrosino, CEO at TimeTrade. “The survey data show that B2B customers have unmet needs throughout the decision journey, meaning sellers must adopt a personalized engagement approach to both digital-only and human interactions – and this starts with live interactions.”
Buyers are knocking – but they can’t come in?!?
Could you imagine a potential customer visiting your web site and saying, “Sell to me!” – only to slip away without ever receiving a response? This is the experience of an overwhelming number of respondents to TimeTrade’s B2B buyer survey. In fact, 84% of surveyed professional buyers reported that they “Always” or “Frequently” do not receive responses to their questions related to a purchase. Post-sale, the numbers were equally stark: 76% of buyers reported that they “Always” or “Frequently” do not receive a response when making support or service-related inquiries after a purchase.
Closing the B2B buyer-seller disconnect
Clearly, B2B vendors must close this costly gap with professional buyers by making it easier for buyers to interact with them when and where they choose. 83% of buyers surveyed said their preference for interacting with a company for purchasing for work is to schedule a pre-arranged time for a phone call or virtual appointment—making appointment scheduling the top channel of interaction above web chat, email or phone.
Buyers have spoken: Make buying easier by offering the option of setting live appointments, either virtually or in-person. When asked about the value of live meetings, 88% of B2B buyers, on average, said it’s important to have live meetings or appointments with a company they may buy from. These numbers increase significantly for buyers of technology (92%), and banking or financial services products (96%). Further, 90% of B2B buyers reported that the availability of live appointment setting made a company easier to buy from, and 91% agreed that they would like it to be easier to schedule meetings with companies when making purchases for work.
The right connection will drive the sale
B2B buyer respondents clearly believe that it’s not just about connecting with anyone in an organization – it’s more about connecting with the right someone. That someone is informed, armed with the right information, and is prepared to address a buyer’s specific needs. In fact, 94% of B2B buyers agreed that they tend to buy more from a company when they have live interactions with a “knowledgeable” employee.
Experiential marketing applies in B2B sales, too
One way that many B2B selling organizations are showcasing their level of expertise, and leveraging the trend for experiential marketing, is by hosting physical events for customers and prospects, including programs like in-person workshops and classes. TimeTrade’s survey data shows that these types of forums are not only valued by B2B buyers, they can also be a valuable purchase incentive: 79% of buyers said it was important to be able to attend events and classes to learn more about a product or service prior to a purchase.
“This survey should serve as a wake-up call for B2B sellers who have not yet recognized the new demands of today’s buyers and their heightened expectation for connection and useful interactions with a knowledgeable resource prior to making a purchase,” said Ambrosino. “Live interactions, facilitated by easy-access appointment scheduling, are the key to that type of successful customer engagement and offer a way for B2B sellers to improve on their customer engagement shortcomings.”
About The State of the B2B Buyer Experience
“What Buyers Want: The State of the B2B Buyer Experience” survey of more than 300 B2B consumers was conducted in April 2018. The full report is available for download.
TimeTrade helps leading brands optimize engagement through all phases of the customer relationship. TimeTrade’s intelligent appointment scheduling platform harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to improve meeting scheduling strategies through real-time customer insights and actions, producing better meetings and higher growth businesses, with TimeTrade customers outpacing their peers by nearly 3X. Tens of thousands of businesses – including leading global banks, retailers, and software companies – use TimeTrade’s Appointments-as-a-Service platform to deliver the personalized attention expected by today’s on-demand consumers.
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