Social bridge to the IT Committee - Germany

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IT purchase decisions are not controlled solely by a business’s IT department – and they are not the responsibility only of senior business executives. New research from LinkedIn, comScore, Starcom Mediavest Group and Mashwork identifies a broader, cross-functional IT Committee responsible for shortlisting and appointing suppliers. And it proves that those businesses that identify this group accurately, and deliver relevant content to them in the early stages of the purchase decision process, have a clear advantage when it comes to securing a share of their budgets.

The IT Committee trusts LinkedIn more than any other website to receive information relevant to their IT decisions, and they are approximately 50% more likely to engage with vendors on LinkedIn than on other social networks.

For full details, read our full research report The Social Media Bridge to the IT Committee, or download a concise summary of the report as an eBook, with essential tips for building relationships with IT decision makers.

With the IT Committee typically 60% of the way through the purchase decision process before its members start reaching out to potential suppliers, engagement through relevant, value-adding content isn’t just a means of building long-term relationships for IT companies; it’s an essential part of lead generation, and can make the difference between being included on shortlists and not making the cut. Typically, only three vendors are shortlisted for each IT purchase, and 94% of purchases are from companies on these shortlists. When potential suppliers engage with Committee members on LinkedIn, their likelihood of securing a meeting increases significantly.

The study proves that IT Committee members increasingly prefer social media, and LinkedIn in particular, as a channel for guiding their purchases from awareness, scoping and planning through to selection and implementation.

When asked why they chose social media to guide their decision-making process, the Committee nominated Trust, Efficiency, Relevance and Access to a broader network as prominent reasons. Meeting these criteria is essential for companies looking to engage Committee members pro-actively: “receiving a lot of marketing material” was identified as the number 1 reason why those members avoided connecting with vendors on social platforms. Rather than generic marketing materials, they demand value-adding content that is relevant to particular phases of the purchase cycle: industry news and strategic information in the awareness phase, best practice and how-to guides, plus demos and checklists during the later stages.

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Social bridge to the IT Committee - Germany

  1. 1. The Social Bridge to the IT Committee How trusted content on social media builds relationships with IT buyers Germany Commissioned study conducted by:
  2. 2. Buyers are highly informed, savvy, and demanding 60% Through decision making process First contact with brand Source: CEB, “The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing”, 2012 2
  3. 3. Tech companies risk being on the sidelines if they don’t educate and help Implications Less exposure to client and prospect projects TECH COMPANIES Decrease in lead potential Limiting long-term perception as a trusted partner and thought leader 3
  4. 4. Social media can help bridge the gap and build relationships TECH COMPANIES 4
  5. 5. Why is it so critical to foster long-term relationships?
  6. 6. These scarce influencers include more than the IT department and the Executive team THE IT COMMITTEE They work cross functionally 44% Work outside of IT Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Germany on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 They include individual contributors and managers 60% are individual contributors or managers 6
  7. 7. LinkedIn partnered with comScore, Starcom MediaVest Group, and Mashwork to understand today’s B2B IT Committee What are they thinking? 200 IT Committee members in Germany What are they saying? 3,000 tech posts from public LinkedIn Groups What are they doing? IT decision makers on LinkedIn comScore: Q3 2013 SMG / Mashwork: 2012 LinkedIn data: Q2 2013 7
  8. 8. Key Findings Social media is not just for connecting with peers. The IT Committee actively seeks insights & conversations with vendors. The vendor shortlist is more exclusive and critical than you think. Make the vendor shortlist by fostering long-term relationships, while serving short-term needs via lead generation. Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Germany on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 8
  9. 9. The IT Committee actively seeks conversations with vendors on social media 9
  10. 10. Nearly all of the IT Committee use social networks Use social network monthly for business 95% 75% 83% 2012 2013 Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Germany on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 10
  11. 11. The reason? Social media – LinkedIn especially – provides them with trust, efficiency, relevance, and access T E R A Trust Efficiency Relevance Access 37% Learn from trustworthy peers 38% 33% 47% Quickly find information Relevant context to connect with vendors Access a broader network Source: Commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting in Germany on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2012 11
  12. 12. TERA continues to drive even deeper utilization across the entire IT decision process Influence of social media at each stage of decision making 62% 57% 58% 49% 58% Implement Awareness YoY Increase Scope Plan Select 39% 43% 38% 26% Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Germany on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 72% 12
  13. 13. As tech decision makers use social to learn and debate, they’re looking to vendors to participate 70% 85% Open to connecting with vendors on social Ready to have a conversation with a vendor on social Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Germany on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 13
  14. 14. The vendor shortlist is more exclusive and critical than you think 14
  15. 15. The IT Committee already have a good idea who they want to work with Only 3 vendors make their short list 90% purchased from a vendor that made the short list Only 1 in 10 purchased from a new vendor Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Germany on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 15
  16. 16. How do you make the short list if you are a new vendor?
  17. 17. Old ways of communicating don’t work and can turn off your audience Top 5 reasons the IT Committee doesn’t connect with a vendor on a social network 01 02 Don’t want to receive a lot of marketing materials 03 Don’t believe would provide any credible information Don’t believe would provide any info that is relevant to my job 05 04 Talk too much about themselves Not thought leaders in the category Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore inin Germany on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore Germany on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 17
  18. 18. Building relationships with the right content is critical to being considered 18
  19. 19. The IT Committee are interested in a diverse range of topics – earn more interest with multiple types of content Top types of information sought in each stage of IT decision-making process: AWARENESS SCOPE PLAN SELECT IMPLEMENT Peer ratings, reviews or testimonials Diagnostic or assessment tools Expert ratings, reviews or testimonials Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Germany on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 19
  20. 20. Senior decision makers are 2X more likely to have shared and engaged with product / industry news "Windows 8 is gold: Release date just days away [link] #ITBW for @computerworld by @richi $MSFT” "It's nice to hear that Asian companies are starting to adopt e-learning. [Link] Elearning going mobile in Asia | ZDNet” Junior Decision Maker, Twitter Senior Decision Maker, LinkedIn Groups 3,217 IT Decision Makers engaged with this article on LinkedIn in June Source: commissioned social intelligence research conducted by Mashwork on behalf of Starcom MediaVest Group and LinkedIn, Q1 – Q4 2012 20
  21. 21. Senior decision makers were 11.5X more engaged with thought leadership content 1,345 IT Decision Makers engaged with this post on LinkedIn in June Source: commissioned social intelligence research conducted by Mashwork on behalf of Starcom MediaVest Group and LinkedIn, Q1 – Q4 2012 21
  22. 22. Junior decision makers were 39% more engaged with best practice content "An interesting and insightful article elaborating on the innovative applications of analytics to enhance VAS revenues.... [Link]" Junior Decision Maker, LinkedIn Group Source: commissioned social intelligence research conducted by Mashwork on behalf of Starcom MediaVest Group and LinkedIn, Q1 – Q4 2012 22
  23. 23. Build relationships to make the short list 23
  24. 24. Traditional lead generation needs to be blended with social to earn leads Sweet Spot Traditional lead generation Social Relationships Valuable Content 24
  25. 25. Likelihood of getting live access to the IT Committee increases as vendors engage with this audience on LinkedIn Pre-Purchase Vendor Engagement by # of Types of Engagement on LinkedIn 40% 20% 0% NONE 1 TYPE # of types of engagement with vendor on LinkedIn before purchase Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Germany on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 25
  26. 26. Vendors who interact with the IT Committee at a high rate are more likely to create promoters Engagement on LinkedIn Prior To Purchase Vendor Net Promoter Score NONE 1 TYPE 42 51 Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in Germany on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 26
  27. 27. Engage the IT Committee everywhere they learn FEED GROUPS INMAIL MOBILE 27
  28. 28. Earn leads and build relationships with content SLIDESHARE CHANNEL SLIDESHARE CONTENT ADS PERSONALIZED INSIGHTS VIA API SPONSORED UPDATES 28
  29. 29. Implications for IT Marketers 01 Target more than IT functions in your campaigns. 02 Ensure your content is authentic, valuable, timely, and customized by decision stage and seniority. 03 Start earning leads via social in addition to buying leads. 04 05 Focus on building relationships to get on the short list. Begin tracking how often and for what clients you make the short list. 29

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