thought leadership

Navigating today’s dynamic B2B landscape represents an exciting challenge for businesses and marketers alike. As buyer needs and expectations continue to rise, B2B brands must become future-ready: evolving their experiences, at speed and at scale, to keep pace, stay relevant and remain competitive.

Merkle B2B’s mission, as dentsu’s B2B specialists, is to help brands tackle this challenge by delivering superior business experiences that create competitive advantage and ultimately long-lasting and profitable business outcomes.

Underpinning this is our proprietary Superpowers Index research which tracked B2B decision-drivers across 6,500+ B2B brand experiences. The 2023 report surveyed more than 3,600 B2B buyers across Technology, Financial Services, Manufacturing, and Professional Services to identify what drives competitive advantage in today’s B2B world and understand what matters most to buyers.

Key insights from the 2023 B2B Superpowers Index

  • Competition is increasing in B2B markets: On average, B2B buyers are evaluating a higher number of potential partners when making purchase decisions and are taking longer to make their final decisions.
  • The B2B performance gap is narrowing: The performance gap has continued to narrow between leading brands and second-place contenders, and the incumbent brand is more likely to lose out in the decision process.
  • B2B brands are not keeping pace with rising customer expectations: Fewer buyers are having a positive experience across the different aspects of the purchase journey compared to a year ago, with the biggest drops being seen at the initial interaction stage and negotiation/contracting stage.

Of the 30 different decision-drivers measured in the Superpowers Index research, 13 drivers have remained important throughout every year of the study, but 7 newly important drivers have emerged in 2023. These include drivers which add value at the organisational level, such as “supports us with expertise”, and drivers which add value to the individual, such as “has a culture of diversity and inclusion”, “committed to reducing environmental impact”, and “aligns with my personal values and ethics”.

Successfully delivering against these newly-important decision drivers has a significant impact on a brand moving through the purchase funnel. Brands who perform strongly against the new success criteria see:

  • 25% shorter sales cycles
  • Customers almost twice as likely to see increased customer spend in the future
  • An increase in the likelihood of being adopted for further products and services
  • Much higher NPS scores (+89 vs. +30 for other brands).

The importance of understanding and exceeding customer expectations

What the 2023 B2B Superpowers Index emphasises is the importance of understanding buyer behaviours and expectations, and building experiences which exceed these expectations, on a commercial level.

B2B brands need to work harder than ever before to keep pace with shifting buyer needs and stand out in a highly competitive landscape, and the findings from the Superpowers Index are a massive helping hand for brands wanting to create more relevant and impactful marketing strategies and brand experiences.

To read the full 2023 B2B Superpowers Index findings, including a deep-dive into the most important decision-drivers and the implications for B2B brands, download the full report here.