While one-third of B2B executives report that the current environment has caused their organization to escalate some purchases due to changing business needs, that doesn’t seem to have sped up the buying process overall. A recent report [download page] from Demand Gen Report and Demandbase shows that more than half of the marketing, sales and IT executives surveyed say that, on average, their purchase timeline has increased significantly (21%) or somewhat (34%) compared to a year ago.
Although about 4 in 10 (38%) say that their purchase timeline has remained the same as it was a year ago, very few (8%) say the length of time it takes them to purchase a solution has decreased.
Here’s a look at what else respondents had to say about their current purchasing process.
Web Search Top Resource for Research
When B2B buyers begin their research about a potential solution, one of the first places many go is a web search. Close to 6 in 10 (56% of) survey respondents say that web search was one of the first three resources that informed them about a solution they were considering for purchase.
Some 4 in 10 cited vendor websites as one of their first three resources. Moreover, while respondents say vendor websites are one of the first resources they turn to, earlier research from FocusVision found that vendor websites’ usefulness extends past awareness and education and into the later stages of the buying cycle.
Peers and colleagues (35%) are another trusted resource for information, while 3 in 10 (28%) consider previous vendor experience a source of influence.
The Influence of Vendor Ads
The survey revealed that while a majority of buyers may notice ads from potential vendors, results are mixed regarding their influence on buyers’ perceptions.
What is clear is that most report seeing ads for the solutions they purchased. When asked if they noticed ads during the research process from the solution provider they eventually chose only about one-quarter (26%) of respondents report they did not notice the vendor’s presence via online ads. However, 35% report noticing ads but claim that the ads had no bearing on their perception of the solution provider.
That leaves about one-third (32%) of B2B buyers saying that they did notice the solution provider’s ads during the research process and those ads had a positive impact on their view of the vendor.
Per the report, respondents agree that one of the main reasons for choosing a vendor was that the vendor showed both a strong knowledge of the solution area and an understanding of the buyer’s company and its needs. Indeed, LinkedIn found that vendors not understanding their own product or the needs of the buyer are considered deal-killers for many B2B buyers.
One way that vendors can display such knowledge is through offering content that is useful and relevant. Some 8 in 10 respondents say that a vendor’s content had a positive and significant impact on their buying decision. This is critical considering that buyers have been engaging more with digital content during the ongoing pandemic.
Respondents also indicate that once they have engaged with a provider, certain factors pertaining to content influences the quality of their buying experience. These factors include ease of access to relevant content (65%), content that speaks directly to needs and demonstrates industry knowledge (55%) and vendor-focused content (43%).
Additionally, they are influenced by the ease of access to pricing and competitor information (65%) and the ease of search and navigation tools (36%).
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Results are based on a Q2 2021 survey of 257 B2B marketing, sales and IT executives.