B2B Buyers Will Endure Ongoing Challenges Ahead
From an overarching perspective, some industries have enjoyed a robust recovery coming out of the pandemic while others are still in a slow slog. In engaged B2B buyer research I have been conducting, there appear to be strong headwinds ahead for buyers to contend with. Inflation will only exacerbate the headwinds facing b2b buyers.
Like jet streams originated from the west, there will be four headwinds buyers are facing now and into the future.
Talent and Skills Gap
While “The Great Resignation” is a factor, it is not the only factor. Organizations are facing gaps in finding the talent and skills needed to accomplish digital transformation. With the pandemic accelerating transformation, it has also accelerated the need for new types of talent and skills to pull it off.
Closely related to the above, buyers are struggling to keep up with production demands. In addition to the talent and skills gap, transformation is causing a technology gap. A competitive environment of the have and have nots in terms of technology. When you combine gaps in talent/skills with gaps in technology you end up with a significant productivity gap.
Globalization Tapers Off
Having performed B2B buyer research on global trade in a couple of engagements, this one does not surprise me as much as it might others. The pandemic has entrenched nationalistic fervor in the global economy. We are seeing countries turn inwards instead of outwards. Not necessarily a protectionist mindset. However, the pandemic has increased the mindset of sourcing from within first. This could impact global expansion growth. (The budding crisis in Ukraine could have a ripple effect on globalization receding further and costs of production rising via spikes in oil prices. A crisis to keep an eye on.)
Inflationary pressures as well as the combined impact of the above will result in slower growth. Buyers and their organizations will struggle with forecasting and falling short of targets. It could be a tough road ahead as buyers see avenues of growth choked off as we rise out of the pandemic.
What these four critical buyer insights indicate is that transformation is producing a state of trauma in the B2B world. The level of urgency to adapt to a new reality has suddenly increased. Many who had been thinking long-term prior to the pandemic now find themselves in a scurry to change gears. Gaps that were present previously are now put under a magnifying glass. The gaps are much wider than ever anticipated.
For those in a position of offering products and services to buyers, they will have to factor in these four headwinds as they build relationships with buyers. While data and analytics will provide some sense of how activities are being affected, understanding the full impact will come from trusted conversations and interactions.
If there was ever a time to earn the trust of buyers, it is now. As I have previously noted, the importance of earning the right to be empathetic and gain access to valuable insights are going to be the keys to the future. A future that will have a high degree of uncertainty, strong headwinds, and an enduring transformation journey.
A journey that you want to take with buyers as opposed to watching from a distance.