IT professionals no longer primary decision-makers for tech purchases — LinkedIn research

According to the findings of LinkedIn‘s B2B Technology Buying Survey, IT is the most influential voice in only a third (39%) of decisions on tech purchases, which is down from 75% in 2014.

Among the 56% of B2B tech buyers that work outside IT, cited lines of work such as sales and marketing, business development, and finance.

As IT turns facilitator of tech operations, with 57% of respondents reporting that IT is involved in the purchasing process, option reviews are being influenced by various factors.

Tech buyers, led by sales and marketing, are prioritising functionality, ease of use and business impact, while facilitators, led by IT, alongside finance and procurement, are actively looking at price, integration and adoption.

Overall, respondents listed price (73%), and the right products and features (67%) as the most important factors when choosing a technology solution, while post-sales support was cited by over half (56%).

The latter reflects the need for close contact during implementation phases, which can take over five hours on average.

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A more diverse customer base

With the B2B tech market becoming more diverse, as companies from most industries shifted to remote working when the Covid-19 outbreak took hold, marketers are finding it more difficult to target traditional buyers, and are realising the importance of targeting the buyer committee.

Over half of respondents (55%) said they are involved in the researching and shortlisting stages, while only a third are actually involved in purchasing (36%).

Additionally, 70% of buyers said they do their own research before reaching out to a vendor.

Despite the pandemic, budgets were found to be holding up for many organisations; nearly half (43%) of respondents said their budget will stay the same or increase, compared to to 47% stating that their budget will decrease or halt altogether in the next 12 months.

“Technology buyers are conflicted between the need to invest in digital solutions to adapt to the post-Covid world, while also, in many cases, managing with tighter budgets than they might have had access to before the pandemic,” said Tom Pepper, head of marketing solutions at LinkedIn UK, Ireland and Israel.

“In the current environment, it is more important than ever for technology marketers to design campaigns to target the right audiences, with the right messages, at the right time.

“What our research shows is that technology buyers are frequently not who you might expect, and, in most cases, are anonymous to brands because they will never hear from them directly.

“As a result, it is vital to ensure that these individuals have all the information that they need during these ‘invisible stages’ of the buying process.”

5,894 technology decision-makers were surveyed globally by LinkedIn between July and August 2020, of whom 2,298 were based in EMEA.