B2B Study: Impact of Social Media and Industry Analysts on B2B Technology Sales
The long discussion whether Social Media impacts sales in the business-to-business (B2B) space gets some new basis. According to the Technology Decision-Maker Study by Hill+Knowlton Strategies, many executives and IT managers are in exchange with their peers when it comes to making B2B technology purchases. The study shows the increasing role Social Media plays in driving revenue and reputation for technology companies. Although traditional media is still leading the bunch in tech, word of mouth drives B2B technology revenues in terms of comments from peers and experts.
The research conducted by Research+Data Insights (RDI), a division of H+K Strategies, interviewed 813 IT purchase decision-makers in the US and UK. The basic intend of the study was to understand which communications channels had most impact on purchase decisions, and tried to figure out how much participation theses decision makers put in Social Media, and what makes them contribute content and opinions online.
These were the main findings from the respondents…
– The top two drivers of technology purchase decisions are word of mouth from peers and industry analyst commentary.
– Financial analyst reports, corporate web sites and traditional media sources (both online and offline) followed close after.
– 48% responded that word of mouth from peers frequently changed their decisions about their business priorities, not just their purchase decisions.
– 76% said they actively post opinions and comment on what they read online at least a few times per month, with 49% saying they actively comment at least weekly.
– If marketers want to generate most effective online commentary from B2B decision-makers, the best option is to publish a thought-provoking question related to current events.
– Most impact on final purchase decisions have analyst commentary and consultations.
„We’re seeing a change in how technology purchases are being influenced. Word of mouth from peers and industry analysts has grown in influence significantly since the 2009 study, and social media is the carrier signal for that influence. These findings lead us to strongly recommend communications programs for B2B tech companies that integrate reputational research, social media, analyst relations and traditional media.“ Joshua Reynolds, Executive Vice President, H+K Strategies.