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Three Trends You Can’t Ignore: Results from the ITSMA How Buyers Consume Information Survey, 2012

Author: Julie Schwartz , Dianne Kim
Published: December 12, 2012
Ref. Number: F022
Pages: 349
ITSMA ViewHow Buyers Consume Information Survey, 2012 Abbreviated Summary

Where do buyers of large B2B solutions get information on solution providers? In 2011 we saw two major changes: the rise of B2B Social Buyer, who view social media as an integral tool in purchase process, and the emergence of Solution Providers as the most influential source of information for buyers of large B2B solutions.

The 2012 ITSMA buyer research validates those trends and uncovers a new one: Buyers rely on sales at all stages of the buying process. This data point contradicts much of the conventional wisdom that downplays the role of sales in the buyer journey.

These trends show that buyer behavior is rapidly changing, and marketers need to be at least one step ahead. Read this report to find out how Marketing can:

  • Create the right balance in the marketing mix to reach both B2B Social and Traditional buyers
  • Facilitate access to subject matter experts and their knowledge
  • Help sales become subject matter experts in their own right

ITSMA conducted the 2012 version of its acclaimed How Customers Choose research with 299 buyers of large, complex IT solutions across four countries. Specifically, the study  answers questions such as:

  • What are the most important criteria used to select solution providers?
  • How are buyers using social media during the purchase process?
  • When creating a short list of providers, what sources of information do they use?
  • When during the buying process do you find it most useful to engage with sales reps?

Study Methodology

In Fall 2012, ITSMA surveyed, via the Web, 299 business and IT executives from companies that purchase business or technology solutions for individual contracts over $500,000. These respondents represented larger enterprises, with 47% having $1 billion or more in annual revenue from four different countries: US, UK, France, and Germany. Respondents were interviewed in the following vertical markets:

  • Manufacturing (Consumer/Industrial, Process/discrete)
  • Financial Services (Banking, Insurance
    (except healthcare), and investments)
  • Public sector/Healthcare
  • Communications (Telecom, media, entertainment)
  • Other (Retail/wholesale, transportation, energy/utilities/oil/mining/gas, business services, travel and hospitality, aerospace/defense)

Respondent Characteristics

Purchase Involvement

Which of the following best describes your involvement with your organization’s purchase of major technology solutions for individual contracts over $500,000? % of Respondents (N=299)


Source: ITSMA, How B2B Buyers Consume Information Study, 2012

Geographic Distribution

In which country or region do you currently reside? % of Respondents (N=299)

Source: ITSMA, How B2B Buyers Consume Information Study, 2012

Job Role

Are you a business or IT professional? % of Respondents (N=299)

Source: ITSMA, How B2B Buyers Consume Information Study, 2012

Job Title

Which of the following most closely describes your job title? % of Respondents (N=299)

Source: ITSMA, How B2B Buyers Consume Information Study, 2012

Verticals Represented

What is your company’s primary business? % of Respondents (N=299)

Source: ITSMA, How B2B Buyers Consume Information Study, 2012

Annual Revenue of Organizations Represented

Approximately, what is your company’s annual revenue? (or operating budget if government) % of Respondents (N=299)

Source: ITSMA, How B2B Buyers Consume Information Study, 2012

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