Thursday, December 20, 2007

Survey Reveals How B2B Purchasers Buy

A survey of 1000 B2B buyers, asked how they research B2B buying decisions online and how this varies by role within a company, and purchase phase. The report provides valuable information on how to market to B2B companies and the individuals who work for them.

The survey identified roles that the respondents played in, in respect to organizational buying decisions. They identified 4 major roles that are typical, the economic buyer, the technical buyer, the user buyer and the coach buyer.
  • The economic buyer is the person who ultimately makes the buying decisions and signs the check.
  • The technical buyer is a person tasked with ensuring that whatever solution that is purchased needs the technical requirements of the company. For technology purchases this would often be an IT professional. For accounting software you would typically be a controller or financial officer. And for sales relationship management software it would be sales manager. While these people usually don't have final financial approval they are integral to the purchase process as they are the ones that ensure the potential solution is the right match with the organization’s needs and requirements.
  • The user buyer is the person who will actually use the product. Often this person identifies the need and is responsible for implementing what is ultimately purchased.
  • The coach buyer is the internal champion who helps move the sales process along and usually has a stake in the purchase of the solution.

The report then focuses on how people navigate from awareness, through research and negotiation phases to the actual purchasing decision. The use of search engines, vendor’s sites, what do they look for specifically, etc.

A surprisingly high number of respondents indicated they made their $1000 - $10,000 purchase online after conducting online researchPublish Post. Almost 47% indicated this as the outcome of their research online. 40% did their online research 1-4 months before the purchase.

Here are my take-a-ways:
  • In all stages of the purchase cycle, weather it be an online of off-line conversion, search engines had the most influence, with the company website coming in a close second.
  • In all purchasing stages the process started with a search engine almost twice as much as the second highest approach, going directly to a company website.

It's a well done report, with lots of segmented graphs. You can download the free b2b buying influence report from Enquiro.