8 behavioural shifts – how B2B customer expectations are reshaping manufacturing and B2B product companies

Written by Hans Neele, Managing Partner.

We all know it, our customers have changed. They show different behaviour and have different expectations when interacting with us. In response, many manufacturing and product companies are increasingly investing in digital customer experience (CX) strategies and technology. This shift is not just a trend, it is a fundamental change in how our B2B customers interact and make purchasing decisions.

Here are eight behavioural shifts that are compelling these companies to adapt.

1. Increasing Demand for Personalized Experiences:

Our customers today expect a level of personalization similar to what they experience in B2C transactions. When they contact you, they want recommendations, content, and solutions tailored to their specific needs and challenges. They want their experience to be turbo-charged by all the information you already have of them. This shift requires manufacturers and product companies to leverage data and analytics to deliver personalized experiences at every touchpoint.

And the potential for companies embracing the new expectation for highly personalized, customer-centric experiences, is vast. Deloitte states that „for machinery manufacturers, the transition […] to a customer-centric view can unlock sales gains of up to 20 percent.“

2. Heightened Expectation for Digital Interactions:

The digital transformation, which started in the consumer world has now accelerated into B2B. Our customers now prefer digital channels for researching, evaluating, purchasing and servicing products. Companies must invest in user-friendly websites, mobile apps, and online portals to meet these digital-first preferences.

3. Desire for Self-Service Options:

B2B customers value autonomy. They want to explore, configure, purchase and service products independently without always needing to engage with sales representatives. Depending on the study, B2B buyers are between 50 and 70 percent through their buying research before contacting sales for the first time.

This doesn’t just impact Sales. This change is also pushing companies to develop robust self-service platforms that provide comprehensive product information, case and RMA management, configurators, and easy-to-navigate e-commerce functionalities.

4. Need for Speed and Efficiency:

Not just our own daily lives, but also the business world is speeding up. Our customers are looking for speed and efficiency when interacting with us. Companies must invest in digital tools that streamline the buying and servicing processes, reduce manual tasks, and offer quick responses, whether through automated solutions or more efficient customer service channels.

5. Rising Expectations for Omnichannel Experiences:

Our customers no longer interact through a single channel. They expect to interact with companies through the channel most fitting to their situation. They may prefer using whatsapp when in the field, and / or desktop when back in the office. In any case, they expect a seamless omnichannel experience, where their journey can smoothly transition from one channel to another without any loss of information or functionality. Manufacturers and product companies need to ensure consistency and integration across all channels.

6. Growing Importance of Social Proof and Online Reviews:

B2B customers, much like their consumer counterparts, increasingly rely on social proof and online reviews in their decision-making process. Companies need to focus on building their online reputation and leveraging customer feedback to attract and retain buyers. Digital channels provide the unique opportunity to gather and distribute customer feedback easily.

Here, the numbers show a clear picture: 75 percent of B2B buyers use online reviews or social media content before making a buying decision and 91 percent are impacted by some form of word of mouth in their buying journey.

Where manufacturing and product companies were previously not always connected to the end-user of the product, digital channels provide the ability to get connected at scale.

7. Increased Emphasis on Sustainable and Ethical Practices:

There’s a growing awareness and concern for sustainability and ethical practices in B2B. Digital platforms can be used to transparently showcase a company’s commitment to these values, which can significantly influence buyer choices.

Whether you showcase your own investments in the sustainability area, or you allow your customers to make decisions throughout their journey that may positively impact CO2 emissions, digital platforms enable this to happen.

8. Demand for Enhanced Post-Sale and Support Services:

The relationship doesn’t end at the sale. Our customers expect comprehensive post-sale support and services. Investing in digital tools and portals to provide efficient after-sales service, customer support, and ongoing engagement is crucial for maintaining loyal and long-term customer relationships.


These behavioural shifts have changed how we interact with our customers. It is a shift that requires manufacturing and product companies to invest significantly in their digital customer experience. By acknowledging and adapting to these changes, companies can not only meet the evolving demands of their buyers but also gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly digital marketplace.

We’ll delve deeper into how these changes are reshaping the industry in our upcoming articles: