B2B solution buyers have raised the bar. They are more proactive, connected, empowered, and hungry to learn. Their expectations are getting higher. They have more choices. They have access to information anytime and anywhere, but at the same time, they are harder to reach.
ITSMA’s 2014 How Buyers Consume Information research confirms the growing importance of online and social media channels, but calls into question broad assertions of the declining importance of sales and other interactions with solution providers. Our research shows that B2B solution buyers still base their decisions mainly on insights, expertise, and direct interaction.
Thought leadership, access to subject matter experts (primarily from solution providers), and contact with sales people—throughout the buying process—comprise the most critical inputs for buyers. They value personalization, both online and offline, as a means of accessing information tailored to their interests and needs.
In this context, the role of marketing is increasingly that of facilitating access to information and experts to help educate and inform buyers, working closely with SMEs and sales to do so.
Read this report to find out how Marketing can:
•Create the right balance in the marketing mix to reach both B2B Social and Traditional buyers
•Create the right balance in the marketing mix to reach business, finance, and IT executives
•Facilitate access to subject matter experts and their knowledge
•Help sales become subject matter experts in their own right
ITSMA conducted the 2014 version of its acclaimed How Customers Choose research with 436 buyers of large, complex IT solutions across seven countries. Specifically, the study answers questions such as:
•What are the most important criteria used to select solution providers?
•What types of content are buyers most likely to consider useful?
•How are buyers using social media during the purchase process?
•When creating a short list of providers, what sources of information do they use?
•What are buyers’ preferences for maintaining relationships post purchase?