To gather descriptive information on the types and popularity of digital tools used in today’s B2B buying process, we conducted an online survey of 220 purchasing managers from a variety of firms and industries located across the U.S. Using the 8-stages of the Robinson, Faris, with Wind (1967) BuyGrid Model as a foundation, we asked respondents to rate the extent to which they used various traditional and digital tools during the process. Overall, the results confirmed many of our observations from the interviews.
In a plethora of books, articles, blogs, and social media postings during the past few years, pundits and consultants have claimed that digital technologies have significantly and irrevocably changed the business-to-business (B2B) customer’s buying process, which they now call The Customer Journey. While scant on proof, they argue categorically that sales and marketing professionals, as well as their counterparts in supply management, need to implement a new set of strategies and tactics to be successful.
Struck by the almost religious fervor of pundits and consultants, we decided to undertake rigorous research to verify and document some of their claims. The thrust of our study can be summarized via a series of related questions: “Have emerging digital technologies significantly changed the B2B buying process or have they instead prompted customers to use new digital tools in their existing processes?” In either case, we wanted to learn, “Which digital tools have had the greatest impact on the buying process, where and how?” Based upon our findings, we hope to propose more effective sales and marketing as well as supply management practices for the digital age.
On February 8, 2016, we wrote a piece for Procurement Leaders on B2B customers and their preference to talk about suppliers with others, before they talk with suppliers.
Here is the link to the piece: