Why the Old B2B Playbook isn’t working anymore

Resource Center > Why the Old B2B Playbook isn’t working anymore

Resource Center > Why the Old B2B Playbook isn’t working anymore

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About the Author

(Hint: Buying Behavior Has Changed)

This article is part of ID’s expert blog series “Old to New: How to Update Your B2B Growth Plays.” It helps GTM, marketing, and sales leaders understand, diagnose, and update their B2B growth plays by leveraging Intelligent Demand’s frameworks, resources, advice, and experience.

Yes. B2B Buyer Behavior has changed A LOT over the past 5+ years!

One big reason why is the fact that they’ve become tired of the use (and often misuse) of The Old Growth Playbook:

  • Forms that unleash unrelenting email spam and interruptive outbound SDR tactics
  • Boring, basic, obvious content and messaging
  • Marketing, SDRs, sales and product out of sync, creating incoherent, bad CX
  • Feature-focused corporate narcissism
  • A frustrating lack of personalization and relevance at the industry, account, use case, and persona level

When did they change?

We know that B2B buying behavior was changing prior to the pandemic. But the pandemic accelerated those changes, and made them permanent:

  • B2B buying is buyer-led, not seller-led or brand-led
  • B2B buyers rely on more than owned and paid media. They increasingly choose private, dark funnel communities and social media-fueled peer-to-peer relationships
  • B2B buyers are increasingly anonymous due to privacy concerns, and want to avoid aggressive, interruptive, and irrelevant outbound techniques

Let’s look at the numbers

This isn’t an opinion or some “hot take” from an alleged thought leader on LinkedIn. Recent research from nearly every credible analyst firm confirms that B2B buyer behavior is changing.* They paint a sobering picture about why we have to update our growth playbooks:

  • Two-thirds of the B2B buying journey is digital
  • 70% of the B2B buying journey is complete by the time buyers engage
  • 84% of the time, B2B buyers choose first vendor they reach out to
  • 78% of buyers who engage with you already know their requirements
  • The average size of the typical B2B buying team is 10 people, spread across four departments
  • 65% of B2B buyers are reluctant to share their contact information
  • 77% of B2B buyers say that B2B purchasing is complex or difficult
  • Only 5-10% your ideal client profile (ICP) is in market/active demand at any given time
  • 66% of buyers confirm they’re taking longer to make buying decisions

*Forrester, Gartner, 6sense, Deloitte, GTM Partners, McKinsey, Product Marketing Alliance, Demandbase, Harvard Business Review, Boston Consulting Group to name a few.


When our buyers dramatically change how they buy, we must update our growth strategies and playbooks because meeting their needs is the whole point, right?

But is B2B buying behavior isn’t the only thing that’s changed. B2B GTM has changed too.

If you need to move faster

We’ve put together everything you need into one Growth Play Success Kit (frameworks, guides, advice, tips on how and where to start, research, access to expert resources, etc). You can download it here.