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Social Networking Figures Heavily in B2B Buying Decisions

The Power of Online Professional NetworksThe Power of Online Professional Networks

For B2B buyers in the final stage of the purchasing process, online professional networks are their top information resource. This may be because online networks provide a faster route to accessing trusted resources than traditional routes.

C- and VP-Level Buyers' Social Media UseC- and VP-Level Buyers’ Social Media Use

Of the B2B buyers most actively engaged in social media to support their purchasing process decisions, more held senior roles and commanded 84% larger budgets.

Expanded Purchasing PowerExpanded Purchasing Power

Executive-level buyers also made 61% more buying decisions and had a greater influence over a span of purchasing decisions, compared with buyers not using social media to support their purchasing decisions.

Decision-Making on a Global LevelDecision-Making on a Global Level

83.3% of active executive social buyers in North America; 77% in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); and 65.9% in Asia-Pacific countries said they have used social media, including Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, for help in making a purchasing decision.

The Factor of YouthThe Factor of Youth

B2B buyers using social networks to help with their purchasing process tended to be younger: 81.7% of social buyers were age 45 or younger, compared with 63.6% of non-users.

Valuable Resources for the Explorative StageValuable Resources for the Explorative Stage

B2B buyers in the early stage of purchasing ranked industry-specific media as the most valuable resource followed by Internet searches and microblogs, like Twitter.

Valuable Resources at the Evaluative StageValuable Resources at the Evaluative Stage

During the middle stage of the purchasing process, third-party expert recommendations were ranked as the most valuable resource by B2B buyers, followed by industry-specific media and Internet searches.

Valuable Resources During the Final StageValuable Resources During the Final Stage

Business executives ranked professional social networks as the top resource during the final stage of purchasing, followed by third-party expert recommendations and private- or topic-specific domains as third.

How Valuable Are Vendor Websites?How Valuable Are Vendor Websites?

During the early, middle and final stages of purchasing, vendor Websites ranked toward the middle or bottom as far as valuable resources for B2B purchasing decisions.

Implications for Sales and MarketingImplications for Sales and Marketing

An earlier IDC study on IT buyer experiences reported that, on average, about half the buying process for IT solutions is made before a sales professional ever becomes involved.