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Exercising social networks in the purchase decision process

Author: Asif Khan

Since social media has become more ubiquitous in business processes following the dawn of the 21st century, studies have been conducted to evaluate how vital these networks have become in a company’s purchasing decision. Social media outlets have no doubt improved strategies regarding perception and communication when approaching decision makers and buyers, as a large proportion of the multimillion dollar budgets that marketers spend per year to promote their goods and services is spent on online campaigns. There are few dominant global networks but these are a major medium which companies have utilized in marketing their products and services.

 

What’s best for B2B?

Now that these social networks have been established, and work beyond theory, we have to consider what the best channel is for B2B opportunities. We have to predict which will be the primary platform to maintain client relationships as well as drive new opportunities for growth. The impact on elevating brand awareness and providing a platform that the world gravitates toward for insight has phenomenal potential for a company’s reputation. A recent report by Vision Critical recorded nearly 6,000 survey responses regarding correlation between social purchasing behaviour and three major social networks; Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. It aimed to discover how buyers drove customers to make purchases online. One of the key outcomes of the survey was that four in ten social media users have purchased an item online after sharing it on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, so the popularity and respect online is married with loyalty and sustained or continuous satisfaction.

These figures are predominantly linked to the retail industry, but what do social networks mean for other business industry sectors? In all honesty, research is somewhat incomplete here, but evidence is emerging.

Over 80% of buyer professionals use social media

In 2013, IDG Connect took the initiative to conduct a survey regarding 400 B2B buyers who were responsible for IT purchasing decisions, and found that 86% of IT buyers are using social media networks and content in their purchase decision process. They revealed that the content discovered on social networks was likely to have more influence on their purchasing decisions than directly accessed editorial or vendor content, and social network content exceeded traditional content in terms of importance. 37% of partakers expected social networks to have the most weight within the next two years. Interestingly, when IT buyers were asked what social network activities they were most interested in seeing emerge; 62% deemed e-seminars a priority. 

In another IT Study conducted by Dayton’s Business Research Group in regards to social media influence on the B2B buying process, more than half of the respondents admitted they had also chosen to watch online videos as part of their research. Trade shows and seminars have now also been converted into a virtual format, and 84% of respondents confessed to attending at least one of these events on an annual basis, with more than a third attending as many as two or three per year. This research authenticates and emphasizes a new marketing necessity to today’s B2B purchasing environment, and one which many industries should take advantage of.

Industry decision makers have a serious responsibility when it comes to handling large parts of their marketing budget. If they wish to explore new tools but are anxious to commit, or reluctant to take risks, then online platforms can provide them with the extensive information in advance before they express their interest explicitly. Not only is social media beneficial in the early education stages of the buying process, but throughout the entire lifespan of a marketing project, and embarking on these journeys can only strengthen knowledge and impact. 

A Social platform for Global Commerce

In fact, the whole buying process is migrating and evolving online, becoming more social as more platforms catering to business and professional requirements are developed, established and trusted. One such platform which encapsulates the purchase decision making process from start to finish; be it for Procurement or Business Development, is INNOVO. INNOVO is a revolutionary new platform for commerce to actually occur online, and for projects to be completed remotely on a contingent basis, thus enabling companies to pursue many opportunities without up-front money. The INNOVO platform unlike the traditional Social Network that many Organisations have been accustomed to; does so much more than ‘connect and communicate’.  

INNOVO not only allows Organisations/ Individuals to ‘connect & communicate’ but also enables members to drive down supply chain costs, expand their market reach and commercialise innovation with no initial cost. It draws on hundreds of thousands of buyers, suppliers, executives and innovators working collaboratively to achieve MUCH more together - pooling buying power to reduce costs, finding new customers and entering new markets without incremental investment and gaining fast access to new products and suppliers.

This can generate significant savings in both staff and time, and reduce the efforts which are focused on managing existing suppliers and dealing with internal procurement issues. INNOVO gives buyers time to forge aggregate deals with other major companies, search for reliable suppliers and find innovations. Experienced INNOVO executives take on this responsibility at no charge to the buyer—instead, a share of revenue is negotiated and the expert team are rewarded once a project is complete. 

And that’s not all, INNOVO also offers an ‘introductory commission’ for introducing a company or individual to the network and a percentage of INNOVO’s earnings from that introduction so it really is the social platform which keeps on giving!

If you are interested in finding out more, please visit www.innovo-network.com and register today!

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