How are buyers sourcing for products, services and suppliers?

A new and interesting “Industrial Marketing Survey”, conducted by ThomasNet+Google and available here (you need to register), shows that industrial marketers are not completely aware of where the ‘buyers’ are going to source for products, services, and suppliers, what the process is, and what these buyers need to know.

Here are my top 4 learnings from this report that I recommend:

  • Internet has become the information resource of choice for most B2B buyers (with Search engine + B2B portals sites like ThomasNet, Kompass, Europages + vendor’s websites),
  • 71% of the buyers are double-checking the information they found on Vendor’s website with reliable B2B portals (and vice versa!),
  • Throughout the buying process, buyers are spending an average of 8 hours online, leading up to a purchasing decision,
  • For the most part, buyers are not getting the information they need from the supplier’s websites: product catalogue, pricing, shipping, tech support, online ordering, CAD drawings are said to be the missing part of vendor’s websites in general.

I’m not surprised and I am convinced that the key-challenge is – for B2B portals – to innovate with a “b2b matching engine” enabling buyers to find in a snapshot the best suppliers matching their requirements just by typing product specification keywords + location + shipping terms (A bit like Kelkoo for B2C).

This makes sense only if B2B Portals are providing up-to-date and reliable information…which is another issue and most probably the first one to solve.

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