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How to Overcome a B2B Decision-Making Paralysis: Tips for Sellers and Buyers

How to Overcome a B2B Decision-Making Paralysis: Tips for Sellers and Buyers

Samuel Thimothy is VP at OneIMS.com, an inbound marketing agency, and co-founder of Clickx.io, the digital marketing intelligence platform.

If you ever tried to sell a product or service to B2B buyers, you know how long it can take. There are multiple reasons why it happens. Yes, there are multiple stakeholders. And yes, companies want to find something that integrates well with their existing processes. However, the first and foremost cause of these delays is the human factor. 

Businesses lose so much time in the decision-making process because it’s not just about price and value. I’d argue that B2B buying decisions are among the most emotional decisions out there. 

According to Gartner, 94% of B2B buyers were involved in at least one sales conversation that lead to nothing. The reasons being the perceived risks were too high, or the team couldn’t reach a consensus.   

Another study by Goodfirms sites the five top reasons for delays in the B2B buying process (based on the survey of 410 B2B buyers around the world) were price disagreements (29.3%), product or service disagreements (24.4%), insufficient information (19.5%), lack of coordination (14.6%), or the lack of proper customer service from the seller (12.2%). 

Interestingly, the same survey found that buyers cared more about the vendor’s reputation than their price or service superiority. They also preferred face-to-face communication over digital means and found it quite difficult to encounter genuine, authentic reviews online. Here’s what it means for you as a seller. 

The only way to speed up the buying cycle as a seller 

The data is clear. You have only one job – to earn the buyer’s trust. If they don’t like you and don’t trust you, they will never buy from you. Buyers have to have confidence in the information that the vendor is sharing and have trust in them – so be trustworthy. Provide as much information as possible. Share cases with your past and existing clients, and give full transparency into whatever you’re doing. 

How to make decisions faster as a buyer  

There are always two extremes when it comes to business growth: going too fast or too slow. As a leader, you’re safe somewhere in the middle.  

Enough information is enough. 

Don’t make decisions about the vendor if you don’t have enough data, but also acknowledge the fact that you will never be fully informed. All decisions are made with only partial information. They don’t have to be perfect in order to work. You can never be sure you make the right choice. However, you can make the best decision given the amount of data available at the moment. 

A danger foreseen is half avoided.

Look at the problem not as if it was a one-time thing but as if it recurred throughout your life. Go for a solution to a class of problems. For example, a cheap CRM will address customer management struggles today, but will it serve your business in the future? You could save your team a lot more time and resources if you invested in a comprehensive tool like HubSpot from the get-go. 

Nobody’s perfect. 

Every individual decision is a personal judgment. It changes all the time. People are affected by different things and they pay attention to different sides of the same problem every single time. 

In his book Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment, Nobel-prize-winning author Daniel Kahneman shares some interesting examples of flawed decision-making. He describes radiologists giving different diagnoses to an identical x-ray, wine experts disagreeing with their own prior choice, and judges giving different sentences for similar crimes. 

You can run the experiment in your own organization. Show your copywriters or designers their own approved piece from a few months ago. They will always find more things to improve and more errors to correct. The reason this happens is that our perception depends on too many outside factors. So if you have a committee of five decision-makers, it doesn’t matter who’s more experienced. The best decision would be an average of five. 

Decisions are hard, and B2B decisions are even harder. But with the right mindset and effective approach, you can safely move forward. 

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