A new report from G2 shows buyers shifting away from vendor interactions as vendor trust wanes.
B2B decision-makers in the market for software, including marketing technology solutions, have less patience with vendor interactions and increasingly look to buy from third-party marketplaces and re-sellers.
That’s the main takeaway from the “2022 Software Buyer Behavior Report” from G2, the peer-to-peer technology review site. The survey of more than 1,000 B2B buyers, around the globe, also showed that software spending was likely to increase, or at least not decrease, in 2022 and 2023.
Detailed findings. While most buyers still prefer to buy direct from vendors, there was a decline from 69% to 60% YOY, while the preference for third-party marketplaces grew 6% to 28%. There was a smaller increase in preference for value-added resellers.
Over 90% of buyers said ease of implementation was a critical factor when it came to the decision to renew a contract. Other important considerations were ROI within six months and ease of use (most contracts were six months or less).
A lack of trust. In addition to concerns that vendors don’t fully understand buyers’ needs, there was a sense that vendors might be influencing the analysts and other experts to whom buyers might turn, and even peers and review sites. 34% reported an inability to discover credible content, and while the majority of those surveyed used review websites, around a third thought that ads and vendor influence might negatively affect reliability.
The rise of third-party marketplaces. “One of the things that I think is fascinating, and speaks to the consumerization of B2B, is the rise of buying from third parties,” G2 CMO Amanda Malko told us. “While 60% still prefer to buy directly from the vendor, the fact that so many are choosing — or saying they prefer — to buy from a value-added reseller or a third-party marketplace does fundamentally change the way we think about buying and the role of sales. As a marketer, it changes not just your marketing but your go-to-market — where your product needs to show up and be available for purchase.”
In some cases, said Malko, buyers can get better information about products from third-party sellers. “A great example is a value-added reseller because they’re going to be providing consultative support throughout the process.” Buyers want software to be easy to buy and easy to use, said Malko, and the trend might indicate that software vendors are not providing adequate post-purchase support.
Highlights from the report can be found here.
Why we care. The survey data not only confirms multiple reports that B2B buyers are increasingly interested in self-serve customer journeys but adds the perspective that those journeys don’t necessarily lead to the vendor’s door. A 28% stake in buying from third-party marketplaces may be small — but it’s a lot bigger than we (or G2) expected.
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