The Growing Buyer-Seller Gap: Results of the 2018 Buyer Preferences Study | Miller Heiman Group

“It’s so tough to sell?”… A sentence reflects the drop in the number of sellers meeting or exceeding their quotas with only 53% of all sales organizations, surveyed, hitting their target numbers. The reason is that today’s buyer expectations are changing faster than today’s sellers can adapt and evolve, creating a chasm that sales organizations are struggling to close.

Without further ado, here are the main highlights uncover the growing buyer-seller gap and what B2B buyers think of B2B salespeople:

How B2B Buyers View B2B Salespeople:

  • 65.2% of respondents said that they found value in discussing their situations with salespeople.
  • 61.8% said that salespeople meet their expectations rather than exceed them (31.8%).
  • Just 23% of buyers selected vendor salespeople as a resource to solve business problems and 35.4% selected the vendor website.
  • Identifying and clarifying needs (29.8%), identifying possible solutions to meet the need (26%), and evaluating solutions for relevance (24%) are the top three buyer preferences for engaging salespeople.

Opportunities for Earlier Engagement Exist:

  • 9 out of 10 of buyers said that they would be open to engaging with salespeople earlier in the buying process.
  • Buyers who are risk-takers were five times as likely to prefer engaging a seller early versus skeptics (51.7%), compared to analytical buyers (31%).
How B2B Buyers View B2B Salespeople | 2018 Buyer Preferences Study

Buyer Decision-Making Style Compared to Willingness to Engage Sellers at Initial Buying Stage – 2018


Data were driven from 500 B2B buyers, globally, working for medium to large-sized companies – $250M USD or greater – and who made purchases of $10K USD or greater. Respondents came from 25 industries and represented 21 countries. (Note that buyers in the general sense mean: business professionals making business purchases. The study was not exclusive to procurement professionals).

Respondents represent 25 industries and represented 21 countries. 50% of the responses were from North America, 18% from APAC, 30% from EMEA and 2% from LATAM.

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