Intelisys AMP'd Images: Partners Explore B2B Purchasing Trends, CX, Security Solutions

Customers "literally don't know" how their own buying journey works, and that's an opportunity for partners.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

January 27, 2023

14 Slides

INTELISYS AMP’D SUMMIT B2B customers know more about the technology they’re purchasing than you’d expect, and less about their own internal purchasing process than you might think.

Those conclusions come from B2B sales researcher Brent Adamson. He shared where customers have gaps – and overabundance – in the information they have at their disposal for purchasing. Adamson, speaking to an audience of technology advisors at the regional Intelisys AMP’d partner event in Newport Beach, California, urged sellers to position themselves as “sensemakers” to customers who know too much about technology and not enough about their own businesses.


Ecosystem’s Brent Adamson

Information Overload

Adamson, who works for Ecosystems as global head of research and communities, asserted that customers complain about having too much information regarding what they’re going to buy. He cited a Gartner survey of 1,174 B2B buyers, 89% of whom said the information they consumed during the purchasing process was trustworthy.

That lines up well with trends of self-taught “educated buyers” that the channel has been reckoning with for years now. Simply put, customers can know more about technology than they ever could before. On one hand, a new generation of digital natives are tapping into online research as a way to prepare themselves for purchasing. On the other hand, the outpouring of whitepapers and assorted elements of content marketing have made information incredibly easy for prospective customers to access knowledge. In what Adamson dubs “the smartness arms race,” vendors have pummeled customers with information and data – much of it quite accurate – about market trends.

But according to Adamson, there is such a thing as too much knowledge. In the same Gartner survey, 75% of respondents said they encounter an “overwhelming” amount of trustworthy information. Moreover, 62% said they had found trustworthy yet contradictory information from different sources. In Adamson’s own example of overwhelming information, he found 1,300 options for a USB dongle on Amazon. Then he proceeded to get lost in countless reviews.

“This is where information itself is becoming commoditized. We’re all saying really smart stuff. The smartest arms race has ended in a tie. And you know what your customer needs at this point? You know what I need when I’m buying a $15 dongle at two in the morning and I’m just tired and want to go bed? I just want someone to bleeping tell me which dongle should I buy,” Adamson told the audience.

To that end, Adamson suggested that the route to winning is not to produce a better whitepaper than your competitor. One may even find it valuable to talk about competitor’s whitepaper with a customer. The winners, Adamson, will position themselves as trustworthy interpreters of the already available information.

Know Thyself

Adamson touched on the topic of enabling buyers to navigate the “spaghetti bowl” that is their own internal purchasing system. Adamson argued that most customers don’t fully understand their company’s established process for completing a purchae.

“We walk into the customer with a blank sheet of paper and ask them to help draw their buying journey. They don’t know. They literally don’t know,” he said.

For example, he shared a story of a customer agreeing to a $15 million deal that ultimately fell apart. The reason: The customer didn’t know they would need to go through their own capital review board. Henceforth, the salesperson has asked customers if they know how to present to a capital review board.

That buyer enablement, Adamson said, will go a long way.

“They’ve never bought this stuff before, or they haven’t bought it in a long time. You guys sell this every single day,” he said. “You have it in your power to make your customers feel more confident in their ability to navigate their organization by just teaching them what that looks like.”

Adamson shared the most powerful sentence starter he has heard a salesperson say to a client: “In working with other customers like you …” It’s a message that resonates with the agent community, whose value proposition grows with each experience helping customers purchase cloud and carrier services.

“This is your opportunity to take your customer by the hand (figuratively) and lead them through their buying journey. Be their buying coach, their buying Sherpa — whatever you want to call it. You can actually make their lives easier because you know more about how to buy inside their own organization than they do themselves,” he said.

Read more of Adamson’s insights, as well as comments from Intelisys partners, suppliers and employees in the 14 images above. Also take a look at Channel Futures’ coverage of Intelisys’ Pre-AMP’d Marketing Forum the day before.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.


Read more about:

AgentsChannel Research

About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like