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Secret Shopping Secrets for B2B

A new report from Alinea Partners is a Secret Shopping organization for technology companies.    Their Secret Shopper Report researched the B2B sales process using secret shopping as a methodology, covering nearly 700 companies in six regions and across seven different product categories.

I picked one key area of focus from the report 

Two out of three buyers abandon their buying journeys in frustration before hitting the CRM system.   In over two-thirds (68%) of cases, the buyer was given cause to abandon their buying journeys.   Why?  Frustration – failing to show up in search results or a lack of understanding of the buyers’ business context were two reasons for the drop-off.    47% still have no search function on their website to help prospects find information on solutions or products they may wish to buy.    41% of websites use language about features, not the business value they can provide based on their expertise and not just their product portfolios.

Only a third (33%) sell on business values the potential customer can gain if they select the proposed solution.

And here’s a frightening one:

Over half (55%) of salespeople took the initiative and led the sales process. While this indicates a natural inclination to take the lead, 63% of buyers wishing to engage in sales failed to connect at the first attempt.

Why do we care?

I’ve done a bit of work with the team at Alinea before, and the Secret Shopper for B2B concept is one I think is incredibly clever.     

I can’t say I’m surprised by this data.    As part of researching the Diversity Report each quarter, I visit many vendor and services companies’ websites, and so many of them are so very, very bad.    Both the lack of search and the lack of focused information to assist a buyer in becoming informed is staggering – much less the ability to buy anything or make the next step on the journey happen. 

Filling out a Contact Us form does not count.    If the action doesn’t directly take me on the step – rather than passively wait on some missive to disappear into the ether – then it’s a broken journey.     I’ve dug into this topic before – can someone buy on your site?  Book their meeting?   Take the first step?  Or even as this report points out, learn about the business value provided – beyond saying you provide business value?