The way we buy has most definitely changed over the last decade.
The business to consumer (B2C) and the business to business (B2B) processes have seen the biggest changes. Consumers don't just hit your site, scroll to what they want and purchase it immediately. That would be too easy.
Rather they spend some time, do some research and gather information. Then they might make the buy. The larger the purchase, the more time it usually takes to close the sale.
Business to Consumer Buying
The stakes are not as high in an eCommerce business model
. Typically purchases are made based on the purchaser's emotions and their brand recognition. They aren't making decisions that impact the business in the long term.
Business to Business Buying
In the business-to-business world, prospective customers are spending more time doing their research on specific vendors.
They're looking at reviews and other companies you've worked with. In some cases, they may want to see case studies or data supporting how much you helped another business.
You need to stick with them through the journey and prove your value to them.
Often a company will recognize they have an issue that needs solving, they'll start to research what products/services are available to them to solve their issue, evaluate the pros and cons of the different options and then make a purchase.
Some may even do another evaluation after purchase to determine if it's still right for them, or if it made a change. This can also happen during the period before the renewal of your product or service if it occurs.
Make sure you're online and that you have content
Because B2B'ers are doing research, you want to make sure you have good online content. They'll be searching to see similar companies that had similar issues and how they solved them.
The after-purchase relationship
Once a customer has bought your product/service it isn't just the end of the road like it may have been with a B2C relationship. You want to keep them engaged and happy to continue your relationship with them.
Make sure you provide service and support. You may want to gather feedback too, and even add-on other services or products in the future. It took a lot of effort to potentially snag that business customer, so don't waste it!
With changes in customers and also in technology, the relationships between businesses and their customers have changed.
As technology improves so does our access to information. We can research what we buy and know about the company we're buying from. On the business side, it also makes it easier to talk to your customers.