Most B2B marketers don’t think of their customers as “consumers.”

But according to Tony Zambito, originator of “buyer persona” research, “there is an increasing consumerization effect happening in B2B buying.

“B2B buyers no longer progress, zombie-like, through the buying cycle.Instead, they behave like living, breathing consumers.As proof, Zambito points to five trends:

Mapping. With so much content on the Web, B2B buyers are “mapping” the discovery process. B2B marketers who want to court them need to understand how customers are finding their way through the jungle.

Ecosystems. All B2B buyers work in corporate “ecosystems.” Gone are the days when a buyer made a decision on her own. Marketers need to adapt by incorporating “ecosystem views” into their strategies and organizations.

New rules. B2B buyers are basing buying decisions on new variables, such as globalization and economic uncertainty. Marketers need a firm grasp on the “new rules of decision-making,” so they can support how buyers are making decisions.

High stakes. Organizations have become risk-averse and now see buying as a high stakes game. Marketers need to understand why B2B buyers buy. That means grasping buyers’ shared attitudes, goals, beliefs, perceptions and motives.

Post-purchase assurances. As the stakes increase, B2B buyers want better assurances after the purchase. Marketers need to move away from “funnel thinking” and put stronger effort into engaging customers after the sale. “Post-purchase support and talent can no longer be an afterthought,” Zambito says.