Peer recommendations and word of mouth drive consumers to purchase B2B technology

New research reveals the increasing influence of word of mouth as the primary driver of sales for B2B tech companies and the evolving dynamics of B2B tech buyers’ influence over each other. A recently released survey from technology communications agency Blanc & Otus and business software review platform G2 Crowd explores what most influences the decision to purchase technology from a particular company, what most motivate B2B buyers to engage in word of mouth and share content with each other, and what role industry analysts and private consultancies played in their purchase decision.

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“Professionals have always valued peer advice. The challenge was finding peers who had experience that matched your needs. This was difficult in an analog world, so professionals relied heavily on aggregators of peer knowledge, typically in the form of consultants and analysts,” said Tim Handorf, president and co-founder of G2 Crowd, in a news release. “With the rise of social networks, it’s much easier to find an expert peer with the relevant experience. This has given rise to the expert peer, and this study tracks that phenomenon.”

Top findings from the study include:

  • Word of mouth continues to reign supreme on two fronts:
    • B2B technology lead generation is increasingly driven by word of mouth, with 86 percent of respondents saying that word of mouth from peers was the most influential factor in their decision. Eighty-four percent cited industry analyst reports and 83 percent cited private consultations with an analyst as the top driver.
    • For the first time, the 2015 study showed that B2B word of mouth is having a significant impact on both ends of the funnel—lead gen and deal closure—with word of mouth cited by 83 percent of respondents as one of the top drivers of final selection of a vendor.
  • Shift to social for word of mouth: Most interestingly, B2B buyers are increasingly turning to social networks to not only share information with each other, but to give each other advice. While 63 percent said they share this information primarily via in-person conversations, 59 percent said they share content and insights over email, and together LinkedIn, Facebook, blogs, text and Twitter accounted for 75 percent of how B2B buyers share information—representing a massive shift toward digital word of mouth for B2B buyers.
  • Live events still matter: Some may say that the value of attending live events as a vendor has significant decreased. However, according to the study 82 percent of respondents found events valuable when determining which vendors to include in a RFP.

“This study pinpoints the B2B tech marketing techniques that impact sales the most, and a few new patterns are emerging,” said Joshua Reynolds, strategic advisor at Blanc & Otus, in the release. “Content marketing, influencer relations and word of mouth marketing are converging into a connected discipline and have become the primary drivers of both lead generation and deal closure. As a tribe of change agents who continually innovate ways to drive revenue for clients, Blanc & Otus is putting these findings to good use.”

Blanc & Otus commissioned research firm Research+Data Insights (RDI) to survey 807 B2B buyers—people with either final purchase authority of technology purchases for their company or members of a committee who approve such purchases—across the U.S. and Canada.

Source: Business Wire; edited by Richard Carufel

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders.