These Departments Wield The Most Influence Over B2B Purchase Decisions

May 17, 2016

LinkedIn-Depts-Largest-Influence-B2B-Buying-Decisions-May2016It probably comes as no surprise that the departments most involved in B2B purchase decisions varies by industry. Recently-released survey data from LinkedIn provides some insight as to the departments that wield the most influence, and those industries in which the greatest number of departments are involved.

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Based on an analysis of 22 industry sectors, the study finds that the number of departments impacting the buying decision is highest on average in the manufacturing (4.6) and tech – cloud computing (4.5) sectors. By comparison, fewer departments are typically involved in a buying decision in the services sector (other than info services, HR, and consulting; 3.1) and financial services industry (other than commercial banking; 3.2).

Based on the research conducted among buyers in 7 countries, LinkedIn concludes that generally speaking, the top departments involved in the typical buying decision are: information technology (32%); finance (31%); and business development (26%).

Of course, these differ greatly by industry, as shown in the handy chart above which summarizes the top 3 departments per industry sector.

One of the key (and perhaps obvious) takeaways is that the department most involved in purchase decisions often reflects the industry. In other words, the IT department is most commonly an influencer in the technology industry, while marketing wields the most clout in the marketing and advertising industry and finance in the commercial banking industry. There are, of course, exceptions to this, but it’s logical that such teams would have an influence on buying decisions in these industries.

While the data is sorted on an industry basis, it’s also interesting to look at departments themselves. Some of the highlights include:

  • Accounting having the greatest relative influence in the financial services and travel industries;
  • Business Development having more influence in marketing/advertising, adtech, and cloud computing than in other industries;
  • Sales being within the top-3 department in the retail, marketing/advertising and travel industries; and
  • Operations being a top-2 influencer in services (other than consulting, HR, or info services), manufacturing, and telecommunications.

Check out the above chart (click to enlarge) to compare the most influential departments across industries and visit the study here for the full results.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of more than 6,000 buyers, marketers, and salespeople at mid-sized to enterprise-level companies in 7 countries: the US; Canada; the UK; Australia; India; France; and Germany.


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