A word that has often been used in business. Compressed files. Compression thinking. To compress and flatten organizational structures. A myriad of uses meant to communicate reduction.
It is an adequate word to use when thinking about important takeaways from 2020. A year in which a decade’s worth of future buyer trends was compressed into a single year.
With hope rising that promising vaccines will compress the length of the pandemic in 2021, we can begin to look at what to anticipate. Especially in the second half of 2021. Still, it is important to note the light at the end of the tunnel is at the end of a long and tragic tunnel ahead.
As business leaders plan to rebound and navigate their 2021 buyer strategies, here are five trending buyer insights to consider:
Buyers Have Changed
This is an obvious observation. However, the degree of change is what is notable. It is significant. Buying behavior changes we anticipated for the decade have been compressed into one year. This point is made not to list the many changes but to point out to business leaders that first comes recognition and then realization buyer change has occurred. And the acknowledgment that accelerated change will continue in 2021 and beyond. A key takeaway for business leaders is to realize buyer goals have changed. Buyer goals that ultimately shape how they make choices and determine purchase decisions.
Digital Experiences Will Matter Most To Buyers
Over the years, I have written about how B2B buyers will want digital B2C experiences in their B2B buying experiences. The global pandemic of 2020 forced this gap to close dramatically. Buyers will go from asking “Can I perform this purchase digitally?” to “Why can I not perform this purchase digitally?” as they change. The subtle difference is important. The first is about preference whereas the second is about expectation. Digital experience desires move from preference to expectation. This will increase the need for organizations to consider Buyer Interaction Design (BxD) as they plan ahead.
The Buying Experience Will Matter
Buyers will place more value on their overall buying experiences. No matter the channels they choose. Here is a subtle nuance I am sharing from buyer interviews. In a year of rapid change, buyers will look at which companies stood still in this area compared to those who made enhancements. For business leaders, it raises a significant two-part question: Has the COVID-19 pandemic made it more difficult to do business with us, and are we addressing the inefficiencies?
Buyer Desire For Seller-Free Interaction Grows
This buyer behavior trend, closely related to the above, needs more examination. However, at this stage, it is evident that buyer desire for seller-free interactions is on the rise. In fact, surprisingly fast as various surveys have shown as much as 40%-50% of buyers desire seller-free interactions. It is anticipated this will grow and not be an isolated pandemic trend. The implications will be enormous. Business leaders will need to figure out the balance between allocating resources to digital technologies and reducing sales resources.
Buyers Seek To Be Enabled
This is an important development because it has to do with how businesses and organizations respond to a crisis. As we have experienced in previous crises, uncertainty rises. Peel uncertainty back one layer and what buyers tend to want is help. Help in terms of being enabled to move forward. This has ramifications to all the mantras about being customer-centric or buyer-centric. Buyers will seek true enabling intent on the part of organizations. They will see right through the customer-centric or buyer-centric promotions lacking substance. For business leaders, the challenge will be in getting this mind shift to be realized. Shifting from a mindset of customer/buyer centricity to customer/buyer enablement.
These 5 trending buyer insights will continue to manifest in 2021 and beyond. At a rapid pace indeed. Business leaders, wishing to stay close to their buyers, will need to work hard at it. Improving their knowledge about buyers and their capabilities to enable buyers. Continuing to use buyer insights research to not only understand these trends deeper but also those unique to their markets. Helping their teams by developing a common view of buyers through the use of buyer personas.
Business leaders and organizations planning to exit the long tunnel of the pandemic in 2021 will need to factor in these buyer insights about buying behavior trends. Trends that are on steroids.