SME supplier selection behaviour revealed

personalisation, discovery phase

New research by SavvySME indicates an overwhelming majority of B2B jobs outsourced are initiated during the discovery phases of the buying journey. According to the SavvySME B2B Jobs Report 2021, while sales organisations predominantly focus on choosing their supplier during the tail end of the B2B buying journey, SMEs start their supplier selection much sooner, when buyers are in their initial phase of browsing and discovery. The research suggests that only 15.63 per cent of buyers start the supplier selection process after the initial research and requirements building phases.

“Service providers who aren’t present when businesses are researching problems and solutions are constantly losing business opportunities to their competitors,” Yee Trinh, SavvySME’s co-founder, said.

A Gartner report on the same subject states, “The way in which customers progress from the starting point to a purchase is unpredictable, inconsistent and sometimes repetitive. A better depiction of a B2B buying journey is likely to look like a disordered web rather than linear chevrons.”

The B2B Jobs Report found that 57.28 per cent of outsourcing jobs were raised when buyers were browsing discussions and reading articles; activities associated with the early phases of the buying journey (problem identification, solution exploration and requirement building).

“Content marketing and thought leadership are great ways to build your brand, increase your visibility and more broadly, raise your profile and attract more clients,” Paige Arnof-Fenn, a marketing influencer at SavvySME, said. “Activities like speaking at a conference, writing articles, building your following on social media all contribute to increasing your awareness with potential customers and building your credibility with a larger community.”

The discovery process is shown to heavily influence decisions according to the report, with 22.02 per cent of jobs raised while buyers were browsing their social feed, notably higher than the 15.63 per cent of jobs raised on sales pages.

“I find a really good way to encourage sales is to trigger them to enter the purchase process,” Wendy Huang, influencer in social media marketing at SavvySME, said. “Even if someone is not on the market to buy your product there are ways to start them thinking about it as long as you do it properly.”

SMEs sourcing service providers on SavvySME’s platform do so at different stages of the buying journey in the following ratios:

  • Browsing discussions                      40.72 per cent
  • Browsing their activity feed         22.02 per cent
  • Reading articles                              16.56 per cent
  • Viewing sales pages                       15.63 per cent
  • Other                                               5.07 per cent