It’s the internet that’s powering B2B

Research from CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council shows that potential business customers are increasingly using digital channels to form B2B_social_Marketingopinions about major purchases. Today’s business buyers do not contact suppliers directly until 57% of the purchase process is complete. According to Forrester Research 90% of B2B buyers have completed their research before ever reaching out to a vendor.

The challenge for marketers is to be present in these channels at all times with content that educates buyers and helps guide commercial decisions.

Reallocate or increase marketing budget

  • Although 78% of B2B buyers start their research with search
  • 51% of B2B marketers currently allocate a mere 10% or less of their budget on search [think budget reallocation if you can’t increase your budget]

Secure testimonials and online reviews

  • 78% of B2B buyers go directly to vendors’ websites, and
  • 50% of B2B buyers turn to social media/peer reviews [think testimonials and online reviews]

Engage in mobile ready social selling and social media

In another recent survey of B2B buyers, 97% of respondents listed e-mail as their main way sharing content on product research with colleagues. Really? 97%? Why email is still the #1 choice for communicating is a flag. While email should not be dismissed in the mix, it definitely should no longer be the go to tactic by any means.

While it’s no big surprise that LinkedIn is the #1 social media channel, what astounds me is how few B2B marketing and salespeople understand the power of social selling and social media engagement. If you’re not convinced, here’s a look at some of the social signal stats you should look at very closely.

  • The same survey also found that 78% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn as their main social media channel, followed by Twitter at 59%, Facebook at 40%, Google+ 36%, Slideshare 32% and Pinterest 20%.
  • 67% of survey respondents use their web-enabled smartphone to visit a vendor site for product information compared with 65% to compare prices and products.

Additionally, 57% use their smartphone to read feature articles about trends and strategies, 48% to watch videos, 47% to browse and participate in forums and social networks, 41% to read case studies and 34% to read white papers.

With 67% of B2B marketers having identified engaging key decision makers as their top challenge, doesn’t it just make 100% sense to be active and engaged in social media channels? That is after all where the key decision makers are.

Sources: Forrester Research, CEB Marketing Leadership Council,