Check em out!

Back in the 1970’s, I enjoyed watching Hawaii Five-0.  Steve was the boss and he’d routinely ask Danno and Chin to “check em out” — investigate the person, company or organization. They had their sources. Can you imagine what tools they’d use today? They go right for the smartphone and social networks, quickly solving crimes in many cases.

The same could be said for purchasing managers. Their jobs’ requirements haven’t changed much from the 1970’s, but their tools sure have. The whole process has gone electronic and more direct, for sure. But how do you “check em out?” Would you believe social media is making an remarkable change there, too?

You better believe it. According to a survey presented by DemandGen Report,  the impact is very real:

The survey also showed the growing influence social media, blogs and other Web 2.0 tools are having on the BtoB buying process. A majority of respondents said Twitter and LinkedIn influenced their decisions during the “Solution Analysis” and “Problem Identification” phases. Nearly 90% indicated that blogs impacted their research during the “Solution Analysis” phase and 3 in 4 respondents said social bookmarking sites such as Digg and Delicious were utilized during the early Analysis phases.

“The early survey results validate what we have been seeing in our own business as well as through the results of our customers,” said Scott Mersy, VP of Marketing at Genius.com, the sponsors of the survey.  “There is a lot of research and conversations taking place outside of the traditional sales funnel and BtoB companies can realize greater revenue by reaching out and responding to these interested prospects.”

BtoB buyers are also increasingly interested in sharing their experiences after they have completed a purchase, with more than 60% of respondents indicating they shared the learnings from their research and buying process with others after the fact. One-on-one discussions were the most common platform for sharing insights, but blog postings and participating in discussion forums on LinkedIn and other social sites represented a growing area.

I believe it.

Let me give you an example. Say, for instance, you’re in Terre Haute, Indiana, and you’re asked to find a good source for truck parts. One of your colleagues suggests Andy at Illiana Truck Parts, so you “check em out” on the Internet. Google it and you get the usual, including the company’s site.  Oh, but the second link is to The Fastline Blog and a story on “The Cleanest Junkyard You’ve Ever Seen.”

Interesting post. Seems like a nice guy — somebody I’d buy from.

Andy Nickel, President of Illiana Truck Parts

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