Tapping into the Internet of Behaviours (IoB): Why understanding buyers is key to unlocking B2B sales value

Efficient growth is the order of the day for today’s most ambitious, forward-thinking businesses. But there are several challenges hindering organisations’ ability to achieve lasting growth and success. Businesses are grappling with a complex and volatile economic environment, brought about by factors such as rising inflation and geopolitical issues. 

At the same time, buyer preferences and expectations are constantly moving. According to Forrester’s 2021 B2B Buying Study, three key trends have emerged as a result of the pandemic. First, the involvement of buying groups has grown, with 63% of B2B purchases involving more than four people compared to 47% in 2017. Not to mention that the average number of buying interactions has jumped from 17 to 27, or that buyers are now going everywhere for information – including self-directed internet research, webinars, online events, industry experts and provider representatives.

We are also in a digital-first sales environment. Gartner research shows that B2B buyers only spend 17% of the total purchase journey with sales reps, while 44% of millennials working in B2B settings prefer no sales rep interaction at all.

This is all creating a highly competitive digital landscape, putting significant pressure on B2B sales teams. As such, the need to get into the minds of potential buyers and understand exactly what they’re looking for has never been greater.

Understanding behaviours

This can be achieved by tapping into the Internet of Behaviours (IoB). An extension of the Internet of Things, IoB refers to how businesses use big data and analytics to personalise their services, market their products more effectively, and improve the buyer experience. Today's prospective buyers are interacting across multiple digital channels. So, in the world of B2B sales, it’s all about understanding where buyers are and how they behave online in order to make smarter go-to-market (GTM) decisions. 

The key is to move from data and information to knowledge and wisdom. This makes it an extremely powerful tool for B2B marketing and sales. Knowledge is power, but only by gaining a deep understanding of their buyers through IoB data – going beyond basic buyer information – will sellers be able to make a meaningful impact with prospects. 

This is what more and more businesses are recognising given recent market shifts and evolving buyer behaviours. Think of the rise of the experience economy, of social media, of the demand for personalisation. These are all contributing to how buyers behave and are influenced. Analysing this at a deeper level will help businesses understand what buyers are looking for and how they want to interact with sellers – enabling them to proactively influence specific psychological variables to bring about a certain outcome.

It’s therefore no surprise that it’s a rapidly growing trend, with Gartner predicting that 65% of B2B sales organisations will transition to data-driven decision making by 2026.

The key is to build connectivity into the end-to-end GTM operation, aligning data and processes so sales and marketing teams get the insights they need. By integrating GTM processes on a single, cloud-based platform, businesses will be able to unlock the value of IoB data. This, in turn, will help optimise sales performance and turn digital interactions into business wins.

Maximising sales effectiveness

So, how exactly can a connected, cloud-based infrastructure tap into IoB data – i.e., buyer behaviours – in a way that materially impacts GTM operations? Well, it can provide B2B sellers with valuable transparency and intelligence into the most effective ways of working across the buyer journey. That will give GTM teams the insights needed to engage buyers and win more deals, faster – all while ensuring compliance.

For example, sellers can analyse the data captured from buyer interactions at specific stages of the sales cycle to understand the activities that are most likely to move deals forwards. 

Or they can tap into in-depth content insights to identify and deliver the most effective content across channels for specific buyer personas. Receiving content recommendations at a personal level based on how and where buyers have engaged with content will make it easier for sellers to spark sales-ready conversations. As a result, sellers will be able to create more personalised and meaningful interactions that accelerate purchasing decisions.

And it’s not just helpful for sales teams. The same behavioural insights enable marketing teams to make a bigger impact. Instead of relying on their gut and creating content that may not get used, marketers can gain visibility into what does or doesn’t work. They can deliver content that counts, supporting sellers with content that will make an impact and increasing their value to the business.

All of this is only possible through centralised cloud platforms that connect GTM operations and provide B2B teams with the tangible behavioural data they need to more effectively engage buyers with the right content, within the right context, at the right time. In such a volatile and competitive market, tapping into IoB data will be crucial to driving performance at every revenue moment and ensuring long-term business success.

Want to learn more about understanding your buyers?

Why not check out Propolis, our exclusive community for B2B marketers to share insights, learn from industry leading marketers, and access our best content. Propolis includes eight Hives (group) to tackle your challenges, including one dedicated to CX.

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