b2b buying journey gartner report

The B2B buyer journey is a hot mess. Here’s why.

leonie waldron
Leonie Waldron
Head Strategist


  • Multiple decisions makers are often involved in the selection and buying process. Single, linear attribution models are no longer accurate. 
  • People like to blame either sales or marketing (or both), but this research has found that the problem is rooted far less in reps’ struggles to sell and far more in customers’ struggles to buy.
  • Sellers have very little opportunity to influence customer decisions – so your content needs to speak for you.

The B2B buying journey is super confusing.

This research from Gartner caught my eye recently: It highlights how convoluted the customer journey is, from ‘I have a problem to solve’ through to ‘here’s a purchase order’.

Multiple decision-makers, simultaneous research and selection processes, and information overload all create a buying environment where it’s becoming more and more complex to buy – even when there is a pressing need for your product or service.

It’s worth taking a few minutes to download and read through the full report in detail here, but following are a few key takeaways.

b2b buying journey grey

1. Analysis paralysis is real.

Information on products isn’t the problem – it’s interpreting the information and curating the important bits out of endless reams of data. 

Your customers want to know what to do and how to do it – how can you make their decision-making process easier?

2. Be consistent. And helpful. And consistently helpful. 

Customers bounce across many channels of information rather than following a linear path.

We’ve always known this to some degree but the image below shows very clearly that this ‘looping’ behaviour means that it’s more important than ever to be consistent in your messaging across different platforms and channels.

And, “buyers value suppliers that make it easier for them to navigate the purchase process”.

Guiding your customer through the process and helping them make a decision is how you can add value and stand out amongst your competitors.

b2b buying trends

3. They don’t need sales teams like they used to.

Content isn’t going anywhere: whilst information overload is muddying the decision-making waters, buyers still spend 27% of their time researching independently online, and 18% researching independently offline.

That’s nearly half the decision making process happening without any involvement from your sales team.

And if your salespeople aren’t part of this independent research, where are your customers finding the information they need?

That’s right… on your website, on your social media, your case studies, your literature – and via other people’s opinions of your business.

Buying complex products is never going to be as easy as buying a pair of socks, but you can definitely take steps to make the customer journey as smooth and painless as possible.

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