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Why B2B Buying Cycles are Getting Longer

David Dodd | Aug 1, 2017 152 views 1 Comment

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New research reveals what influences B2B buying decisions and explains why the B2B buying process is getting longer.

Earlier this month, Demand Gen Report published the findings of the 2017 B2B Buyer’s Survey. The 2017 research was based on a survey of 283 C-level executives, VPs, and Directors across several B2B industries. Each respondent in this study was qualified to have been involved in a B2B purchase decision within the 12 months preceding the survey.

The 2017 survey findings reveal that B2B buyers’ journeys are becoming longer and more complex. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said that the length of their purchase cycle had increased compared to a year earlier, while only 10% said that the length had decreased.

Other findings explain why the buying cycle has gotten longer.

  • 52% of respondents said the number of buying group members had increased significantly.
  • 77% agreed that they conduct a more detailed ROI analysis before making a purchase decision.
  • 78% agreed that they “spend more time researching purchases.”
  • 75% agreed that they “use more sources to research and evaluate purchases.”
The 2017 study also found that content continues to play a vital role in B2B buying decisions. When surveyed buyers were asked why they selected the winning vendor over others, 75% said that the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their choice, and 89% said that the winning vendor “provided content that made it easier to show ROI and/or build a business case for the purchase.”
The Demand Gen survey also asked participants to rate how important eleven factors became once they were at the point of evaluating a set list of possible vendors. The table below shows the percentage of respondents who rated each factor as very important.
Research regarding the attitudes and behaviors of business buyers can be extremely valuable to B2B marketing and sales professionals. However, it’s always important to examine the details of any research study and ask how applicable the findings are to your business.
For example, the respondents to the Demand Gen survey represented a variety of industries and a mix of company sizes. However, more than half (53%) of the purchase decisions those respondents participated in involved computer software, and another 16% involved IT hardware. So, this study is particularly relevant for companies that sell software solutions and other technology products, but some of the specific findings may be less relevant if your company sells other types of products or services.

Top image source:  Demand Gen Report

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One Response to Why B2B Buying Cycles are Getting Longer

  1. Chris Ryan August 3, 2017 at 7:52 am (95 comments) #

    Excellent article David. The data you shared highlights the challenges many B2B companies are facing. Understanding buyer criteria is the first step to boosting performance and shrinking the sales cycle.

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