Buyersphere Report 2015: Summary
In a world where digital technology has given us access to more data than at any point in history, it can be easy for B2B marketers to get lost amongst a never-ending forests of stats and statistics. Add to this the ever expanding lists of ‘how to guides’ and new ‘must have’ marketing channels and you have a recipe for marketing paralysis. If you feel like this, then you might be interested to learn about Base One’s annual Buyersphere Report, a regular survey of B2B buyers within a range of different sized organisations.
Since its inception in 2010, the Buyersphere Report presents readers with results from their survey into business purchases, identifying the behaviour of the most important individual in a business transaction – the buyer. Here’s what we took from the report.
Who takes part?
This year saw 211 businesses of all sizes take part in the survey, covering a wide range of business sectors, varying widely from manufacturing or construction, to retail and hospitality. The majority of respondents were from a management role, while over 50% had been in their current role for more than 5 years and were aged 40 or over.
The top purchases were for IT/telecom equipment or systems representing 31% of all purchases, closely followed by transport at 29%, both clearly being required for the business to operate. A representative average of the business purchase was valued at £69k, but as to be expected, the size of the purchase increased with employee numbers – larger companies generally made the larger purchases.
Who exactly was involved in the buying process? Do CEOs call the shots? Well, possibly to the surprise of many, procurement departments were only involved in 12% of all purchases surveyed. But to no surprise, CEOs took the top spot at 38%. The survey also found that the business leader was typically present during the start and end of the process, joined also in the final stages by finance departments, who are less involved through the research process. It highlights the importance of ensuring your value proposition is appealing to all members of the decision making unit.
Information used in the process
As to be expected, pricing information and technical specs were the most sought-after content available to the buyers. It’s interesting to note that customer testimonials were not as commonly used as company experts or external reports. Does this suggest that the importance of traditional testimonials is diminishing?
Social media is still a relatively new concept to some people and therefore seems to have very little involvement in the buying process, with half of the businesses surveyed remaining uninfluenced by the channel. If the business chose to use social media as a source of information, they were most likely to use industry-specific forums (26%), over platforms such as LinkedIn (18%) and Twitter (4%). A potential reason for this is because social media lacks the relevant information that is desired by the buyer. Something marketers need to address.
All businesses will have an idea in mind of the supplier that would best suit them and unless they have experience with said supplier, those that offer the best price along with the best product appear to be favoured. Also discovered, was that buyers are more comfortable with suppliers who communicate well – demonstrated by a preference for those that use email extensively, compared to those that didn’t. Does this signal a more reliable supplier?
The report is very extensive and we are unable to go through it in detail but it makes a very interesting read, particularly for marketers targeting the B2B sector, so if you’d like to see the report in full then head to Base One’s website.