Study: Organizations Look for Online Reviews to Make Vendor Decisions

With B2B purchase researchers skewing younger, many organizations are relying more on online reviews to help figure out what to acquire, a new Clutch study states. However, the decision maker is in most cases over the age of 35.

Vendors make the business world go round, and without their help, many associations wouldn’t be able to do half of the things they’re able to do otherwise.

But before we hire those vendors, organizations want to know what they’re getting into—and according to a new report from the marketing firm Clutch, organizations are ready to put the research in to ensure that they get the best possible result.

And what kind of research are business-to-business (B2B) buyers looking at the most? Online reviews, of course. Clutch’s study of 451 organizations found that 94 percent of respondents relied on online reviews to make a purchasing decision, with reviews on a company’s website read by more than two thirds of respondents (68 percent). Also up there are findings on search engines (61 percent) and B2B ratings and review sites (53 percent).

Other resources that organizations rely on include research on software company websites and referrals—something roughly half of respondents do at various points throughout the resource process. By and large, organizations have increased their resources in making B2B purchase decisions.

According to Clutch, one of the driving factors behind this growing reliance on digital resources to make buying decisions is the fact that buyers are skewing younger than ever, with 57 percent of B2B buyers under the age of 35, though those over 35 are more likely to make the final purchase decision (86 percent). While millennials aren’t making the final call, writes author Grayson Kemper, they are often deeply involved throughout the research process and making recommendations along the way—and, it seems, relying on tactics more traditionally embraced in the business-to-consumer space.

“This research suggests that modern B2B buyers are millennials who are comfortable with digital-first environments and value collaboration with peers when making decisions,” Kemper writes. “Our data demonstrates that younger employees are most likely to be involved in the stages of the B2B buying process that are the most collaborative and leverage digital resources the most: researching information about and evaluating B2B companies.”

(Oleksandr Hruts/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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