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Understanding the Relationship between Self-service and Vendor Trust

In a latest take on vendor trust among B2B buyers, G2’s 2022 Software Buyer Behavior Report has found increasing complexity in buying journey is affecting customer relationships in B2B technology markets. Compared to 2021, the latest global B2B survey respondents report buying software directly from vendors less, but more from third-party marketplaces and value-added resellers. The findings on vendor trust and self-service have been published in the annual Software Buyer Behavior Report, which examines the state of B2B software buying in 2022, including what has shifted over the past year. According to responses from more than 1,000 B2B decision-makers across the globe, G2’s survey found that most buyers expect their software and tech spending to either increase or remain the same in 2022 (89%) and 2023 (92%). Despite this optimism, it’s important to note that these are slight declines from what respondents forecasted last year, likely due to current economic uncertainty.

Self-service trends are fast catching up with B2B buyers. A large number of buyers now rely on self-service content to actually simplify their understanding of the technology market and use the information to strategize their requirements in the omnichannel markets.In addition to self-service initiatives, buyers consider implementation of the solutions and ROI as major factors that influence repeat engagements with the vendor. High quality service during implementation stage is found to be the most effective means to bolster customer experience. Self-service content only makes this implementation friction-less and restore trust in vendors.

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“In the G2 2021 Software Buyer Behavior Report, we saw the balance of power continuing to tip in favor of the buyer,” said Amanda Malko, CMO at G2.

Amanda added, “This hasn’t slowed since then. In fact, in this year’s report, all signs point toward 2022 as the age of the buyer. They have more control of the software purchasing journey than ever, as they increasingly embrace self-serve channels and lean into the experts, peers, and communities they trust to guide their buying decisions. For software sellers, this means they’ll need to get smarter about how they engage their audience — meeting them on the channels they prefer, reducing friction to try and buy, and helping them realize immediate value post-purchase.”

Key takeaways and findings from G2’s 2022 report include:
  • Disjointed trust convolutes the buying process.

    • Compared to last year, respondents prefer to buy directly from vendors less — a 9 percentage point (pp) decrease to 60% — and more from third-party marketplaces (a 6pp increase to 28%) and value-added resellers (a 4pp increase to 11%).

    • While 76% say product and service reviews websites are trustworthy or highly trustworthy, transparency in the validation of the reviews is key: 33% of buyers (up from 30%) say transparent validation of reviews is the most helpful feature when using online software / service review sites.

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  • The B2B buying journey is becoming increasingly complex.

    • 68% indicated that decision makers at their company are changing frequently or always during the software buying process, up from 53% who said this in 2021.

    • When a software product is up for renewal, the buying committee is more likely to have changed from when the product was originally purchased: 55% said it’s the same, compared to 61% who reported this in 2021, while 22% said it’s not the same, compared to 16% in 2021.

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  • Early post-purchase experience shapes the rest of the vendor-buyer relationship.

    • 93% of buyers indicate that the quality of the implementation process is important or very important when making the decision to renew a software product.

    • 57% of software contracts are six months or less.

    • The top three most important buying considerations when making a software purchase were reported as: 1) ease of implementation; 2) ROI within six months; 3) ease of use.

  • Security innovation is outpacing adoption.

    • 88% of respondents say the kind of security a software provides is either important or very important and four out of five consider a vendor’s history with breaches when evaluating new tools.

    • However, over half (56%) of those surveyed said they have used software tools that have not been approved or vetted for security by their IT or infosec team.

G2 is the world’s largest and most trusted software marketplace. More than 60 million people annually — including employees at all of the Fortune 500 companies — use G2 to make smarter software decisions based on authentic peer reviews. Thousands of software and services companies of all sizes partner with G2 to build their reputation, manage their software spend, and grow their business — including Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoom, and Adobe.

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[To share your insights with us, please write to us at sghosh@martechseries.com]

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