Editor's note: Simon Calvert is chief strategy officer at B2B International, a Merkle Company. 

Everyone knows that great B2B customer experiences are more important than ever. Research by Forrester, McKinsey, the Temkin Group and Rosetta – to name but a few – underscores the significant commercial benefits for businesses that have great B2B customer experiences.

But how many B2B brands go beyond knowing this and get to what really matters: identifying exactly what it takes to build great customer experiences for today’s B2B buyers? 

To uncover the key ingredients that matter when creating compelling customer experiences for today’s B2B buyers, Merkle recently talked to 3,094 buyers of B2B products and services and got them to retrace their steps on their journeys for 5,622 recent B2B purchase experiences. They identified what mattered to them – and when it mattered. They scored the brands that featured on their journeys and how well they did against what mattered. 

As a result, we were able to develop a deep understanding of what it takes to create compelling customer experiences for the B2B sector as a whole and specifically for four B2B verticals (financial services, manufacturing, professional services and technology). We also identified the B2B brands that do it well – and those that don’t do it so well.

As a part of this analysis, we identified the 30 specific ingredients of superpowered customer experiences, along with the four superpowers that those create for B2B brands and the relative importance of them at different stages of a buyer’s journey. Taken together, these insights: 

A few of the high-level key findings of this research – ones that B2B marketers must keep top of mind in crafting customer experiences – include the following: 

The decision-making experience is long and slow for buyers. From initial research to final decision (via shortlisting and tendering)...