Buying Patterns in the Enterprise: Who’s Really Buying and Why?

As digital business and collaboration models have been permanently accelerated by the events of 2020, our panel of SaaS experts discusses who’s buying in the Enterprise, and how to drive conversions across multiple business functions.

Godard Abel, Co-Founder & CEO @ G2, Mike Weir, Chief Revenue Officer @ G2, and Samantha Destefano, VP Enterprise Sales @ Upwork explore who’s really buying and why in today’s changing market. 

As G2 currently has 5 million buyers, 40% of which is from Enterprise accounts, Godard started off by sharing a few trends he’s seen, including: 

  1. COVID is accelerating buying trends because companies have shifted more rapidly to using digital channels to do their work. These channels include webinars, virtual classrooms, video conferencing, HIPAA Compliant messaging, virtual reality platforms, virtual desktop infrastructure, and more.
  2. Online shopping has markedly increased. Ecommerce revenue is up 30 percent for the first half of this year and that only accounts for 18.6 percent of all retail, which means there’s an excellent opportunity for more growth.
  3. Enterprise companies are reviewing existing tech to find savings and address security and privacy risks. It was noted the average cost of a data breach is $7.9M. Checking risks will become easier for teams if they have one digital platform to work with and consolidate spending. 

What’s been the most surprising impact of COVID on enterprise buyers?

Our panel shared that accessibility and increased involvement of executives have been refreshing. Buying decisions are now being made more at the executive level. By leveraging middle-level ground, you can include entire leadership teams in decisions. Representation at those meetings by CEOs, VPs, and Directors can help with new initiatives, such as the digital channels previously discussed. 

More access to the c-suite means more senior stakeholders are coming to the table, and they want others affected by solutions they are purchasing also at the table. Having different types of personas to engage with may or may not have been part of a former legacy core, but now they want to learn about everyone’s needs at the table.

How has Enterprise buyers’ decision-making process changed? 

When more people are involved there is more committee buying and that trend isn’t going anywhere after COVID. Companies will need more flexible skills to sell to different people because the days of single-client sales are now gone. Being able to sell to multiple personas means more people are involved, and the hierarchy gets flattened a bit. 

By now, all companies have had to adjust their 5-year plan post COVID. New initiatives have shifted and sped up, and capital is needed faster than initially planned. There is more co-development selling to co-deliver clients’ ideas, and money is scrutinized like never before.

You must show your enterprise buyer that your product can immediately add value and ROI potential. 

Keep in mind that Enterprise buyers were all about growth before COVID, but now they don’t need to have as many “nice to haves.” They want to slim down their budgets and increase sales faster than initially penned in those 5-year plans. 

How should you adapt, lead, and enable your enterprise teams?

Leans on tools for leveraging, coaching, and developing your sales teams. Focus on the opportunity and delivering the right message. Use social proofing and social selling to inform which personas get which message. 

And finally, consider adapting a conscious leadership model that’s  “we,” not “me.” Work to understand each team member and help them. Remember that digital relationships need to be initiated and fostered by creating time and space to connect.

Published on November 16, 2020

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