4 Minute Read

Is your B2B eCommerce business adapting to the evolving face of the B2B buyer?

Understanding the B2B Buying Process

The business-to-business (B2B) buying journey shows how businesses purchase  products or services for their operations or growth. Establishing robust communication and fostering relationships with these stakeholders is paramount for retailers looking to navigate the B2B buying process effectively.

Who is Involved

The B2B buying process is more complex than B2C; it involves interactions with several stakeholders. Understanding the roles of each participant is crucial to understanding it fully. So, who are the key players in the B2B buying process?

  • Initiator: Identifies the need for acquiring a B2B product or service.
  • Influencer: Offers insights and suggestions during the decision-making phase.
  • Decision-Maker: Individual or group responsible for finalizing the purchasing decision.
  • Purchaser: Facilitates the transaction process, completing the purchase.
  • User: Person or department utilizing the procured product or service.

B2B Buyer Persona

The landscape of B2B buying is undergoing a significant transformation. Today, buyers can access abundant resources and information, shaping their purchasing decisions. In 2024 Millennials and Gen Z will make up approximately 75% of B2B buying teams. Recognizing this evolution in the B2B buyer persona is crucial for devising effective strategies to capture their attention.

These generations are tech-savvy and adept at conducting thorough online research before engaging with sellers. They are well-informed and have a wide array of options at their disposal. Modern buyers demand a personalized purchasing journey tailored to their pain points and challenges. With their enhanced research capabilities, they can explore various alternatives and quickly switch to the best option that meets their needs.

However, this new demographic of buyers also encounters unique challenges. They often cite difficulties reaching a consensus as a leading cause of failed purchases.

In 2024, B2B buyers are prioritizing the following factors in their purchasing decisions:

  • Adoption of new technologies and trends
  • Cost efficiency and Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Integration compatibility
  • Trustworthiness and transparency

Preferred communication channels and content types for this persona include:

  • Online research
  • Webinars
  • Professional networking platforms
  • Case studies
  • Demo videos and tutorials

Key influencers for this demographic include:

  • Peer recommendations
  • Insights from industry experts and analysts

By understanding the needs, preferences, and motivations of the evolving B2B personas, marketers can tailor their messaging, content, and strategies effectively to engage and convert prospective buyers in 2024.

Phases of B2B Buyer Journey

The B2B buyer journey is undergoing significant transformation. With younger generations influencing decisions, advancing technologies, and a dynamic marketplace, understanding the modern B2B buyer journey is crucial. It helps foster engagement, drive conversions, and nurture customer loyalty, establishing long-lasting customer relationships and retention.

Emlen walks us through the three-step process within the B2B buying journey.

  1. Awareness Stage: During this initial phase, B2B buyers recognize they have a problem or a specific need to address. They begin by identifying and framing the issue to understand the solutions required. At this stage, sellers can differentiate themselves by offering personalized content, adopting a value-centric Unique Selling Proposition (USP) approach, and engaging across multiple channels.
  2. Consideration Stage: As the journey progresses, B2B buyers look into finding a solution for their identified problem. They seek resources and information to gain insights into all available alternatives that best align with their needs and address their issues. Buyers compare and evaluate options based on pricing, features, and limitations. Here, transparency from retailers is crucial, demonstrating their capability to meet customer needs by highlighting strengths and offerings.
  3. Decision Stage: In the final phase, the purchaser narrows down their options, decides which solution best aligns with their needs, and resolves their challenges. Retailers can stand out from competitors by using tailored messaging and marketing strategies that showcase their strengths and products. This will demonstrate to customers that they are the optimal choice for helping them achieve their goals.

Stages of B2B Sales Funnel

The B2B sales journey guides potential buyers from initial interest to final purchase. It's a complex process with multiple decision-makers and a longer cycle than B2C sales. Understanding each stage of this journey is crucial for successful conversions. RAIN Group offers insight into each stage of the B2B sales funnel

  • Prospecting: At this stage, buyers are exploring solutions for their business needs. B2B businesses should research target buyers and craft outreach plans to engage them. Setting up meetings to showcase how your business meets their requirements is key.
  • Needs Discovery and Driving: In this stage, retailers should conduct discovery to better understand buyers' needs. Demonstrating this understanding significantly increases the likelihood of closing a sale and fostering buyer loyalty. It's about proactively presenting opportunities that align with their needs.
  • Solution Crafting: A solution tailored to the buyer's needs is pivotal. Retailers need to position their product or service as the best option available. Creating compelling solutions increases the chances of closing the deal by 45%.
  • Solution Presentation: This is where the decision-makers will ultimately make their purchasing decision. Sellers must resonate with buyers by offering solutions that directly address their needs, differentiate their offering from competitors, and substantiate their claims with proof.
  • Win: In this stage, negotiations occur to finalize terms, pricing, agreements, and implementation plans.
  • Account Development: After the sale, sellers maximize value to nurture client loyalty and encourage repeat business. It's about building strong, long-term relationships beyond the initial transaction.

B2B Buying Trends

Now more than ever, it's essential for B2B retailers to stay abreast of emerging trends in the industry. Buyers are demanding more, and B2B sellers must adapt to avoid falling behind. Let's take a look at some trends reshaping the B2B eCommerce landscape.

  • Self-Service Buying: Self-service buying in B2B eCommerce refers to the process in which businesses purchase products or services directly from suppliers via online platforms without needing direct human interaction. Self-service portals offer features like personalized pricing, bulk ordering, and seamless account management, streamlining the purchasing process.
  • Generative AI (GenAI): Generative AI has the potential to transform procurement by providing personalized recommendations, automating tasks, and enhancing decision-making. With GenAI, B2B retailers can offer tailored product suggestions, optimize pricing dynamically, automate procurement, manage inventory predictively, and assess risks effectively.
  • Payment Flexibility and Options: Providing a variety of flexible payment methods caters to the diverse financial needs of B2B customers, fostering stronger relationships and driving sales growth. Options like credit lines, partial payments, electronic funds transfer (EFT), online payment gateways, financing, dynamic pricing, and customized solutions are now a driving factor for success in B2B eCommerce.
  • Omnichannel Selling: This approach integrates various channels through which businesses interact with suppliers, place orders, and manage transactions. Omnichannel strategies in B2B eCommerce enable businesses to adapt to changing customer expectations, enhance operational efficiency, and drive growth by embracing multiple touchpoints, including online platforms, mobile apps, social media, and offline channels like sales reps or physical stores.
  • B2B Marketplaces: These platforms play a vital role in connecting businesses with suppliers and facilitating transactions. B2B marketplaces offer benefits such as diverse supplier options, streamlined procurement processes, competitive pricing, efficiency, and scalability, making them integral to B2B eCommerce.


The B2B purchasing landscape is evolving rapidly, and failing to adjust your enterprise to these shifts can lead to losing customers, revenue, and a competitive edge. It's essential to anticipate and adapt to emerging trends to effectively serve the changing needs of B2B buyers and maintain value delivery to current and potential clients.

Smart Solutions is here to help. We know B2B eCommerce. Let us get to know your business and partner with you for online growth and success in the dynamic world of eCommerce B2B buying.