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IDC: Senior B2B buyers use social networks in purchase process

Seventy-five percent of business-to-business (B2B) buyers and 84 percent of C-level/vice president executives use social media to support purchase decisions, a new global study recently completed by research firm IDC shows.

The he IDC report, "Social Buying: The Importance of Trusted Networks During the B2B Purchase Process" found that B2B buyers most active in using social media to support the buying process were more senior and had 84 percent bigger budgets, made 61 percent more purchase decisions, and had influence over a greater span of purchase decisions than those buyers who did not use social media to support their purchase process.

IDC said social media increases decision-making confidence by providing more efficient access to an executive’s professional network. In the final stage of the purchasing process, when stakes are highest, online professional networks are the number 1 information resource preference of buyers.

"Senior executives – the C-level and VP-level buyers who demonstrate the greatest propensity to use social networks for buying – set the pace for others in their organization. Where the leaders go, others tend to follow," said Kathleen Schaub, Vice President of Research in IDC’s CMO Advisory Practice.

IDC believes that social networks will continue to grow in importance as purchasing tools.

"As the use of social networks expands, the gap between companies that use social networks for buying and selling and those that do not will widen, creating a significant disadvantage for companies that lag behind," said Michael Fauscette, Group Vice President, Software Business Solutions.

The IDC report was completed in February 2014 in collaboration with LinkedIn. It has surveyed 760 respondents in eight countries in the technology, professional services, and financial services industries who had responsibilities for or influence on company purchases at the department level or above.