By Joshua Baez, Engagement Manager at Heinz Marketing

“How do my peers make buying decisions?”

It’s a question on the mind of many of today’s B2B marketing leaders — and for good reason. The role of the marketing leader is evolving, expanding to focus on more strategic purchase decisions spanning the entire customer lifecycle. And with this expansion comes the greater potential that your decisions more broadly impact the success of your company as well as the other functions across your organization.

The creation of the B2B buying committee was intended to lighten the load of the buying process for marketing leaders. However, our research has indicated otherwise. Though these committees of decision makers and influencers are present in a majority of organizations, the onus is still on the marketing leader, themself, to see a decision through from start to finish.

Which brings us back to the question at hand, “How do my peers make buying decisions?” Or more importantly, what’s their involvement like throughout the purchasing process? What drives their ability to make better buying decisions? How do they play a more value-added role within their organization? And, of course, where do you stand compared to them?

For B2B marketing leaders, knowledge is power. And understanding what your peers are doing gives you the ability to change, improve, and, ultimately, raise the bar not only for your organization, but for the industry at-large.

To understand how B2B marketing leaders engage the buyer’s journey, interact with content, and make decisions, PathFactory and Heinz Marketing conducted a survey in December 2018. The responses came from 204 B2B marketing leaders (senior director, VP/SVP, or C-Suite) with decision-making authority across various organization sizes.

Here are four key findings we uncovered from our research.

1.  Anyone can vocalize a challenge, but it’s the marketing leader who initiates the buying process.

2 in 5 marketing leaders report anyone in any role can be the first to express challenges around a strategy, tactic, or tool. Rather, whoever vocalizes an issue is more dependent on the situation than it is on the actual role of that person. However, in most cases, it’s the marketing leader who formally initiates the buying process.

 

2.  Marketing leaders are heavily involved at the beginning and end of the buyer’s journey.

Once the process is set in motion, over 9 in 10 marketing leaders are heavily involved at both the beginning and the end of the buyer’s journey. And while 62% of marketing leaders work within a buying committee of 1-5 other people, 2 in 3 will likely not delegate purchase decisions to other members.

 

3.  Marketing leaders are too regularly served lackluster content.

92% of marketing leaders report content plays an important part in their decision-making process, but 1 in 2 leaders have issues that the content they receive is irrelevant to their pain points, challenges, and responsibilities. And this irrelevance makes leaders less responsive to content. As a result, marketing leaders turn to outside sources to find what they’re looking for.

 

4.  Marketing leaders take buyer enablement into their own hands.

When vendors and prospective solutions aren’t delivering what they need, a vast majority of marketing leaders take it upon themselves to find relevant information through other means. Asking peers or colleagues, browsing third-party review sites, and reading analyst reports are among the ways a marketing leader continues down the buyer’s journey on their own terms.

 

What do these key findings reveal?

Marketing leaders of all organizations and buying committee sizes place the onus on themselves to not only initiate a decision, but also to personally see it through to the end. Marketing leaders help to uncover the gaps in their teams and search for solutions that address them. And in the process, these individuals see for themselves the extent of what options are out there while sifting through irrelevant content to find something that’s of value.

How do your peers make buying decisions? With thoughtfulness, personal involvement, and a whole lot of time and effort.

The role of the marketing leader is one filled with challenges, but it’s also not without its wins. The ability to problem solve, to lead the charge in finding a solution, to play both a strategic and an operational role in the buyer’s journey — those are the traits of a successful marketing leader.

Looking Ahead

To fully understand the implications of our research, it’s necessary to dig a little deeper. Download the full report now and uncover what it means to engage the buyer’s journey from inside the head of a marketing leader.