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84% of B2B Deals Are Decided Before Marketers Even Know About Them

6sense Study Shows Marketing is a Key Differentiator in the Pre-Decision Gap, AI Solutions Can Help Reach Buyers Sooner in the Purchasing Journey to Drive B2B Revenue Production

B2B selling teams are at a disadvantage, according to the 2023 B2B Buyer Experience Report released from 6sense today. The report indicates that marketing efforts play a critical role in the B2B buying journey with 84% of deals decided upon first contact – made by buyers. These insights come at a time when sales and marketing executives agree that revenue generation has become increasingly difficult.

While B2B sales and marketing teams now have access to more insights and data than ever to enable smarter sales strategies, the study also emphasized that buyers initiate contact with sellers directly – when they are already 70% through the buying process – which translates to eight months in an average deal cycle.

The research makes it clear that B2B organizations should exert considerable marketing effort to create awareness and develop a relationship with members of the buying committee early in the buying process to create a competitive advantage. In doing so, buyers are influenced towards their solutions sooner, simplifying the buying process and contributing to a better long-term customer experience.

Solutions utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) will be key in bridging the gap between B2B buyers and revenue teams to enable stronger strategy alignment. With technology solutions powered by AI, companies can more accurately pinpoint best-fit opportunities while they are early in their buying journeys. This allows B2B sellers to fully focus on enabling buyers to choose them outside of the selling process through opportunities like industry events or via online communities.

“AI has been a great enabler for sales and marketing teams. We’re in an age where immense amounts of data is at our fingertips,” said Kerry Cunningham, Head of Research & Thought Leadership at 6sense, former Forrester Analyst . “Armed with that data, go-to-market organizations can cover prospects in the pre-decision phase of their journeys and direct their very best efforts where those efforts are likely to produce the best result.”

Underpinning the need for effective sales and marketing solutions, the survey found:

  • Buyers engage with sellers when they are ready — not before — about 70% through their buying journeys
  • By the time of this first contact, 78% of buyers have mostly or completely established their business requirements
  • Thus, 84% of buyers said the first vendor they contacted ultimately won the business
  • This means, if vendors haven’t won buyers over during the first two-thirds of the buying process, based on the results of this study, they have a mere 16% chance of winning a deal
  • By influencing buyers early in their journeys through effective marketing strategies, selling organizations can eliminate competitors and shorten buying cycles substantially

The study was conducted between June and July 2023 which evaluated feedback from more than 900 B2B buyers with respondents representing the technology, accounting, legal, and purchasing departments. Each participant had engaged in a B2B purchase of greater than $10,000 in annual value within the last 24 months.

To read 6sense’s 2023 B2B Buyer Experience Report, visit here.

About 6sense

6sense is on a mission to revolutionize the way B2B organizations create revenue by predicting customers most likely to buy and recommending the best course of action to engage anonymous buying teams. 6sense Revenue AI is the only sales and marketing platform to unlock the ability to create, manage and convert high-quality pipeline to revenue. Customers report 2X increases in average contract value, 4X increases in win rate and a 20-40% reduction in time to close deals. Know everything. Do anything, with 6sense.


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