Why are buying decisions in B2B getting longer?

54% of B2B buyers state that they take longer to make decisions about buying products and services than they did 12 months ago…but why so?

The stat is one of the findings from our Tech Heads 2016 report – our annual study of B2B buyers and decision-makers, investigating the impact purchasing decisions are having on marketers.

This year’s report reveals that it’s not the decision itself that is prolonging the buying process, but the scoping of it. A worrying 81% of buyers believe that the competitive market is leading to a greater investment in time at that crucial research stage, where nothing is standing out enough to eliminate confusion and complexity – check out the graph below:

graph showing effects of increased market competition in b2b

There are also big developments in how that scoping is carried out.

Three years’ worth of combined research tells us that the vendor website was usually the most popular channel for buyers, when researching and scoping new products. And, among the over 45s it still is – with 47% happy to look there first. However, within the age group that now forms a large part of the workforce (those aged 25-44), that number falls to 29%. Instead, colleague recommendations (36%) and social media (34%) have become the most used platforms.

As such, marketing leaders not only need to reconsider how they talk to prospective customers in the early stages of the buying cycle, but also where they talk to them.

The importance of this cannot be overstated. Buyers are taking more time to scope their purchases, and on entirely different channels, than before.

Consequently, as markets converge and the differences among vendors get harder to find, those channels are where businesses need to be different, interesting and, most importantly, engaging.

For more insight on data trends for buyers and CMOs in B2B, download Tech Heads – The Sleepless CMO report

Download Tech Heads – The Sleepless CMO