SAP and SAP partners discussed changing B2B buying activities and behaviors, and how organizations can respond to keep growing during this month’s SAP Partner Live.

Attendees at the virtual event heard about B2B trends, including IDC stats showing that 74% of B2B technology buyers will use eCommerce rather than salespeople, and how SAP partners, Premikati and Clarivos, generate more leads through SAP tools and programs. Here are highlights from the event.

Data on B2B Buyers

Laurie Buczek, Research Vice President at IDC CMO Advisory Practice, and Chris Robisch, Strategist and Marketing Transformation Manager at Accenture Song, shared data on demand acceleration and how B2B buyer behavior has changed.

In addition to more eCommerce, IDC reports that 38% of decision-making information comes from marketing, and 17% comes from a salesperson. Also, 69% of B2B technology buyers will use chat or messaging services more frequently for pricing. Buczek said organizations must extend websites with other digital efforts.

“The website really becomes the main medium for engaging with your customers throughout their entire customer lifecycle,” Buczek said.

Robisch agreed, noting that his clients focus on buyers’ experiences as well as content and other information throughout customer lifecycles.

Fully Informed and Ready to Buy

“The buyers are getting 80% through that process to make a decision to get a final pitch and buy something before they ever get involved with the sales team,” Robisch said. “So now sales teams are engaging with clients who are fully informed and fully ready for those conversations rather than fending off sales pitches and spam emails.”

He added that being customer-centric, and giving customers a mostly digital experience, leads to higher retention, profits, and growth.

Digital information is rated the most useful content in the evaluation stage by buyers, with 67% of marketers saying peer case studies are increasing the effectiveness of marketing. Robisch sees clients using coordinated digital media efforts and building journeys for customers with content.

When asked what he would say to executives who are not focused on marketing, Robisch responded, “ignore marketing at your own peril.”

Partners share their experience with SAP tools

Michael Buczynski, Premikati Marketing Vice President, discussed how working with Hy Pailakian from SAP in the lead masters’ program helped Premikati increase digital content. Premikati also had 97 leads turn into 10 business opportunities in the first year after the lead masters program.

Frances Scott, a Clarivos Design Associate, said the consulting firm generated more leads and landed a five-year deal after participating in the lead masters program. Scott also shared how the social selling program helped Clarivos improve social media engagement.

Adding to the mix, SAP shared more details about each featured program. Ira Simon, Vice President of Partner Marketing and Communications, said SAP can help amplify marketing capabilities. Erik Van Nispen, Global Director of Cloud Channel Development, emphasized all partners can leverage the programs. He also highlighted how the Race2Revenue program helps organizations go to market, from idea to execution.

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