A fascinating article from HBR on buying processes in B2B. The idea is that the buyer, with the greatest information source the world has ever seen, has got the upper hand in any transaction.
They engage with the seller later and later in the buying process but they aren't delighted about it.
Buyers have a lot of information, but they may well not have sufficient real knowledge in this domain to be comfortable with their choices. They are probably correct in the detail but they might have the whole thing backwards and they simply wouldn't know.
A friendly-arm is what they need and some sensible advice to help them understand the issues in front of them. They need your help and, according to HBR at least, you can be pretty blunt about it too.
Most B2B sellers think their customers are in the driver’s seat—empowered, armed to the teeth with information, and so clear about their needs that they don’t bother to engage with suppliers until late in the process, when their purchase decision is all but complete.
Customers don’t see it that way. They may be better informed than ever, but CEB research shows that they’re deeply uncertain and stressed. Buying complex solutions, such as enterprise software or manufacturing equipment, has never been easy. But with a wealth of data on any solution, a raft of stakeholders involved in each purchase, and an ever-expanding array of options, more and more deals bog down or even halt altogether. Customers are increasingly overwhelmed and often more paralyzed than empowered.