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INDUSTRY TRENDS & RESEARCH REPORTS

FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS

Understanding the Industrial Buy Cycle:
How to Align Your Marketing with Your
Customers’ Buying Process

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INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS

Contents
Executive Summary....................................................................................................................3
What is the ‘Buy Cycle’?..............................................................................................................4
An established, four-stage process........................................................................................4
Emotion plays a role in the buy cycle....................................................................................4
The buy cycle is shaped like a funnel....................................................................................4
The buy cycle can be long and include multiple decision makers......................................5
A Buy Cycle Example..................................................................................................................7
Needs Awareness stage..........................................................................................................7
Research stage.........................................................................................................................7
Comparison & Consideration stage.......................................................................................7
Procurement stage..................................................................................................................8
Suppliers are exposed to buyers many times.......................................................................9
Implication for Marketers.......................................................................................................... 10
Online information sources are the most important.......................................................... 10
Buyers seek content to support decisions on complex sales............................................12
Get found early in the buy cycle to make a customer’s short list......................................13
Preventing the ‘Last Click’ Marketing Mistake.......................................................................14
Recommendations for Suppliers.............................................................................................15
Understand the importance of the industrial buy cycle.....................................................15
Establish a comprehensive online program to cover the buy cycle.................................15
Develop appropriate content to address each decision maker..........................................15
Consider the GlobalSpec advantage....................................................................................15
About GlobalSpec.....................................................................................................................16
Appendix: Industrial Buy Cycle Survey Results...................................................................... 17

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© 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C , I N C .

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I N C . online methods dominate the four stages—from conducting research on the Internet. Although the industrial buy cycle has been around for as long as products have been bought and sold. This is called the buy cycle—the steps that industrial or other B2B sector buyers engage in when purchasing products and services. buyers engage in different behaviors and use a wide variety of information sources to locate suppliers and support their buying decisions. and other online resources. particularly the early stages where suppliers must be visible to their target customers. which can lead to flawed marketing decisions and an over-reliance on a limited number of marketing programs. The survey included questions about the length of the buy cycle. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . complex process often involving multiple decision makers. the sources buyers use to obtain information. Marketers must also learn to avoid the ‘last ad’ concept. Buyers also seek online access to content that helps educate them. This white paper analyzes the responses and explains specific implications the buy cycle has for marketers. and trade magazines. in favor of search engines. the amount of content buyers review before making a purchase decision. where credit for a conversion is given exclusively to the last ad that a prospect acts upon. and one that marketers must pay attention to when planning marketing strategies and crafting messaging. the way purchasers go through the four stages has changed. to contacting suppliers and requesting quotes online. with specific advice about online marketing programs that will help you reach potential buyers at all stages of the buy cycle. 3 . Today. how various factors influence purchasing decisions. and more. and Procurement. Consideration & Comparison. In each of these stages. how many suppliers are evaluated before making a purchase decision. this paper offers recommendations to suppliers about how to apply an understanding of the buy cycle to their marketing efforts. and increases their confidence level in their final purchase decision. Finally. GlobalSpec recently conducted an Industrial Buy Cycle Survey of engineering.»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS Executive Summary The purchasing of industrial products and services can be a lengthy. It demonstrates that buyers have significantly reduced their reliance on traditional information sources such as printed catalogs. improves their decisionmaking capabilities. manufacturing and industrial professionals who have influence on their company’s processes for buying products and services. Research. technical. supplier Web sites. Marketers must also note the importance of building their presence across multiple online channels to be found by buyers early in the buy cycle. to submitting purchase orders. trade shows. to comparing supplier offerings using content found online. The industrial buy cycle consists of a methodical and deliberate series of four stages: Needs Awareness. online catalogs.

For example. including: 1. Atlas Institute. four-stage process The industrial buy cycle is a well-documented and recognized process.” The Shattuck Group. a buyer may realize that none of the vendors on his short list is the perfect fit. Emotion plays a role in the buy cycle The purchasing of industrial products and services is a complex process. putting the buyer back at the beginning. characterized by teamwork and rational decision making. Consideration & Comparison: at this stage. Needs Awareness: when buyers first realize they need a product or service to fulfill the needs or requirements of a specific project or task. Procurement: the final decision among the short list of vendors. 2. Or needs might change during any of the phases. eliminating vendors who don’t meet their needs or who they don’t want to do business with for one reason or another. Interest. and the level of trust in the vendor are all very real emotional drivers in the B2B world and come into play during the industrial buy cycle. and Procurement. Most businesses make purchase decisions methodically. May 2008.com/b2b_buying_cycle. ending with the purchase of products or services. In these cases. 4. buyers begin the weeding out. characterized by stages of decision making.com/b2b-marketing/difference. moving through the distinct stages of the buy cycle with forethought and planning. 2 The buy cycle is shaped like a funnel The business-to-consumer world uses the concept of the “purchase funnel” through which consumers follow a path of Awareness. While industrial buyers are generally not moved by consumer motivators such as impulse. the level of confidence in forecasted ROI. the fear of making the wrong purchase decision.theshattuckgroup. buyers do not always move in perfect sequence through the steps. other individual emotional motivators are at play. 1 “B2B Buying Cycle. sending him back to the Research phase. http://www. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C .»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS What is the ‘Buy Cycle’? An established. or status. wide at the top to represent the overall marketplace that can be discovered during the Needs Awareness phase.1 However.proteusb2b. 4 .3 This process can be related to the industrial buy cycle of Needs Awareness. looking for suppliers to meet their needs. Research: when buyers begin an investigation into what’s available in the marketplace and which vendors potentially offer a product or service to meet their needs. The industrial buy cycle is also shaped like a funnel. buyers go back to their information sources. during the Consideration & Comparison phase.pdf. But that doesn’t mean the buy cycle is an “emotionless” process. I N C . fashion. For example.The Proteus Group. Desire and Action.php. 3 “Measuring ROI Beyond the Last Ad. Research. Consideration & Comparison. http://www. and coming up with a short list of potential vendors. 2 “What Makes Business-to-Business Marketing Different?”.” John Chandler-Pepelnjak. and narrow at the bottom as an industrial buyer develops a short list of vendors and makes a purchase decision. 3.

the time between identifying a need and making a purchase can be less than one month or as long as nine months or more. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . This longer buy cycle is expected for larger purchases. According to the GlobalSpec Industrial Buy Cycle Survey.000.$10. and therefore the risk. while 38% said the buy cycle is five months or longer for purchases greater than $10. with the length of time increasing as the dollar amount of the purchase increases.000 . I N C . 5 . is greater. Inc.000 16% 11% 11% 5% 2% 18% 4% 4% Purchases between $1. since the investment. 81% stated the buy cycle is less than one month for purchases under $1.000 © GlobalSpec. Average Length of Buy Cycle Less than a month 1-2 months 3-4 months 5-6 months 6-8 months 9 months or more 90% 81% 80% 70% 60% 50% 39% 40% 34% 30% 26% 18% 20% 13% 11% 10% 3% 0% 1% 2% Purchases under $1.»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS The buy cycle can be long and include multiple decision makers Another aspect of the buy cycle is its variable length.000.000 Purchases greater than $10.

reinforcing the concept of a complex.000 © GlobalSpec.000 Purchases greater than $10.000 involves just one decision maker.000 involves just one decision maker.000 .000-$10. very few purchases are decided on by one individual only.000. and that jumps to 66% for purchases over $10. Inc. more decision makers are involved in larger purchases. I N C .»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS In addition. Percent of Purchases Decided by One Person 7% 13% 25% 0% 10%-40% 50%-60% 37% 70%-90% 100% 18% © GlobalSpec. which adds time to the process to get everyone in agreement. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C .$10.000 Purchases under $1. Inc. 6 .000. Only 7% of buyers make all purchase decisions on their own. 63% of purchases under $1. while only 2% of purchases over $10. How Many Decision Makers for Purchases 1 (Just me) 70 2 3-4 5 or more 63% 60 47% 50 44% 40 30 27% 25% 24% 22% 22% 20 10% 9% 10 4% 3% 0 Purchases between $1. lengthy industrial sales cycle with multiple decision makers. Overall. Another 50% make less than half of purchase decisions on their own. 31% have three or more decision makers for purchases between $1.

long. Needs Awareness stage Technical buyers.com. Research stage Research typically starts with searching on the Internet. including search engines. buyers compare suppliers and specific product specifications. and involve multiple decision makers.»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS A Buy Cycle Example Because the buy cycle can be complex. downloading product specs. buyers begin the Research phase to discover what products or services will satisfy their need. reviewing product specifications. Now in the Comparison & Consideration stage. GlobalSpec. They visit portal sites. Instead. and that has a similar “footprint” to work with the existing ball screws and slides associated with the machine. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . they have a specific need. Additionally. Once the need is identified. and GlobalSpec. as reported in the GlobalSpec 2009 Economic Outlook Survey. 7 . In this case. This is the Needs Awareness phase of the buy cycle. They don’t suddenly decide to buy. manufacturing plant floor management/personnel. use. supplier Web sites. technical. 73% of engineering. Suppliers who want to found by potential buyers must establish a highly visible presence in those places where customers are looking for information and vendors. identifies the appropriate motor needed for the job. supplier Web sites. a motor for a precision dispensing machine. viewing drawings and more. using our example. and share varying amounts of information from multiple different sources. These professionals are searching for products. buyers typically access. for instance. 62% visit six or more work-related Web sites per week. An example of the buy cycle will clarify this concept. Often they save this information by bookmarking relevant pages. and printing out information to reference again and share with others involved in the decision-making process. services and suppliers and use a number of information sources. it could be a motor accurate enough for the detailed work that the machine needs to do. gathering data. I N C . such as engineers. 56% receive three or more work-related e-newsletters every month. Comparison & Consideration stage At some point in their online research. online catalogs. the buyer clicks on specific links of interest and. manufacturing and industrial professionals spend three or more hours per week on the Internet for work-related purposes. and industrial purchasing agents are not impulse buyers. project or design requirement. com and other online destinations.

8 .»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS Procurement stage At the Procurement stage. Traditional sales through offline channels such as purchase orders often are the result of buyers engaging in online methods for Needs Awareness. buyers may initiate the purchase or recommend several products to the purchasing department which makes the final purchase decision. Inc. Most Commonly Used Purchase Method 5% 3% 8% 43% Purchase order Purchase online Phone order Fax order 19% Buy in-person at store Other 22% © GlobalSpec. I N C . and placing a phone order (19%). U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . purchasing online (22%). and Consideration & Comparison. The most common methods for making purchases are submitting a purchase order (43%). Research.

but it would be a mistake to assume this specific exposure through Google initiated the buy cycle or delivered the sale. How does the buyer even know your company name to type it into the search box? Unless your company name is a very common and popular brand. The company may have first become visible through an Internet search. leading them to remember your company and take subsequent buy cycle actions which eventually resulted in your company receiving the purchase order. 62% of buyers type in the company name in a search box at least 60% of the time when visiting the Web site of a company they know. or exposure to its online catalog. For example. it’s common practice for people to type company names they know into a search box vs. In fact. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . a buyer may type your company name into the Google search box. or any number of other ways. 9 . I N C . Frequency of Typing Company Name in Search Engine Box 25% 25% 20% Percent of respondents 20% 17% 15% 15% 10% 9% 8% 6% 5% 0% 100% 80-99% 60-79% 40-59% 20-39% 1-19% 0% Percent of time company name is typed in search engine box © GlobalSpec.»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS Suppliers are exposed to buyers many times From the beginning of the buy cycle to the end. or a banner ad on an industrial site. the supplier that is eventually selected is exposed to the buyer many times. Inc. it’s likely that a series of marketing placements provided broad exposure and good content fulfilled your buyer’s early research needs. A marketer may not always know what specific exposure initiated the process that culminated in a sale. typing the URL in directly: this saves time and reduces errors.

The Industrial Buy Cycle Survey reported the top three most frequently used sources for searching for products and services to purchase are search engines. Inc.1 Other B2B vertical search engines 2 Webcasts/Webinars Blogs 7 5.4 1. LinkedIn) 6 1. Online information sources are the most important Buyers have significantly reduced their reliance on traditional information sources such as printed catalogs. Today.5 Supplier Web sites 4.»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS Implication for Marketers Your customers and prospects engage in a four-stage buy cycle process and use many sources of information along the way. and online catalogs. Sources Used When Searching for Products/Services to Purchase (mean score on scale 1–7. trade shows. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . in favor of online resources.3 Colleagues 4.8 Tradeshows/conferences 2. and trade magazines.9 Online catalogs 4.5 E-newsletters 2. even using colleagues as a source of information has an online component. 7 = Always use) 1 2 3 4 5 5.1 Printed directories/buyer's guides 3 Online industry portal sites 2. Facebook.3 White papers 2. with the increasing popularity of social media tools.1 Printed catalogs 3. supplier Web sites. 1 = Rarely use. I N C .2 © GlobalSpec. While the stages of the process haven’t changed over the years.2 Online communities 2. the way buyers navigate through the buy cycle and where they go to get information has changed dramatically.2 Printed trade publications 3.6 Search engines Social media (Twitter. 10 .

I N C . supplier Web sites and catalogs are the most important information sources. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C .) Tradeshows/conferences 80% 40% 35% Printed trade publications 60% 38% 32% Printed directories/buyer's guides Procurement 69% 60% 8% 5% 33% 40% 5% 26% 37% 5% 3% © GlobalSpec. Information Sources at Various Buy Cycle Stages Needs Awareness & Research 0% 20% Supplier Web sites 29% Printed catalogs 31% Online catalogs Colleagues Consideration & Comparison 40% 37% Online industry portal sites 42% 23% 22% 21% 41% 17% 42% 43% 15% 43% 44% 47% 13% 12% 41% Other B2B vertical search engines 55% 10% 38% 35% 50% 10% 42% Webcasts/Webinars 62% Online communities 55% Blogs 27% 41% 52% Social media (Twitter.. LinkedIn) 29% 41% White papers E-newsletters 33% 42% 38% GlobalSpec 100% 41% General search engines (Google. buyers use different information sources. In the Needs Awareness and Research stages. search engines and GlobalSpec. Webinars.»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS Depending on the stage of the buy cycle. Inc. Yahoo! etc.. including social media. buyers use a broad array of sources. e-newsletters. 11 . By the time buyers reach the Procurement stage. Facebook.

12 . I N C . Inc. e-newsletters.000 Purchases between $1. white papers. If you typically have larger average order sizes.000-$10. specification sheets. This data suggests that if your company has small average order sizes you may be best served with a few targeted pieces of content to deliver relevant information to buyers. Number of Pieces of Content Reviewed Before Purchasing Purchases under $1.000. while 70% of buyers review four or more pieces of content on purchases greater than $10.000 Purchases greater than $10.000. improves their decision-making capabilities. and increases their confidence level in their final purchase decision. 83% of buyers review only three or fewer pieces of content before making a decision on purchases under $1. Webinars. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . The more expensive the purchase.»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS Buyers seek content to support decisions on complex sales Marketers should also note that during the buy cycle.000 40% 38% 36% 35% 32% 31% 30% 25% 25% 20% 21% 20% 17% 15% 12% 10% 10% 5% 0% 16% 15% 4% 3% 2% 1 7% 6% 5% 2 3 4 5 >5 © GlobalSpec. application notes and more to help make your case. buyers want access to content that helps educate them. the more content buyers review before making their decision. Providing good content to prospective buyers helps you gain an advantage over competitors. you may need a broader library of in-depth content including brochures. For example.

I N C . components or services how many suppliers do you typically receive quotes from before making a purchase decision? 0% 10% 20% 8% 40% 30% 50% 11% © GlobalSpec. 42% of buyers evaluate four or more suppliers. a supplier must be found by potential customers. only 26% get quotes from four or more suppliers. marketers should build their presence across multiple online channels to make sure they are visible to buyers in the early stages of the buy cycle. 3 Suppliers 63% 50% 4-5 Suppliers 60% 70% 6+ Suppliers 80% 90% 33% 100% 9% 22% 4% 20% But to even get onto the review list. relevant content in order to reach and influence buyers at each stage of the buy cycle. and offer useful. Those that drop off the list are often those who did not provide the right level of information to buyers or did not meet some other perceived or real need in the buyer.»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS Get found early in the buy cycle to make a customer’s short list You can also gain an advantage by making sure you are found by potential buyers in the early stages of the buy cycle. components or services how many suppliers do you typically evaluate/review in the initial research phase? When you are involved in purchasing equipment. Number of Suppliers Reviewed and Contacted for Quotes 1-2 Suppliers When you are involved in purchasing equipment. Inc. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . During the initial Research phase. but as buyers move closer to Procurement. Because the information sources that buyers use vary. 13 .

Known as the ‘last ad’ reporting standard.cfm. and preferred brands are likely to be contacted first because the market is already aware of them.6 According to comScore. Atlas Institute.5 That contact could be in the form of a click and registration on a landing page. 6 “The Click Remains Irrelevant: Natural Born Clickers Return.”7 4 “Measuring ROI Beyond the Last Ad. an e-mail or another way. http://www.»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS Preventing the ‘Last Click’ Marketing Mistake Some marketers mistakenly think Google is all they need because a buyer might type their company name into the search box.” U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . I N C .” John Chandler-Pepelnjak.com/PSJ/e_article001037852. exposure to display advertising influences what sites people visit as well as branded search (searching for trademark names as a result of exposure to online advertising). or last online click.” Gian Fulgoni. trademark search queries. Professional Services Journal.4 While the last ad. 14 . It leads marketers to rely too heavily on a specific and limited set of tactics. The ‘last ad’ standard misses the all-important concept of the buying cycle and funnel. it helps prevent a key mistake that some marketers make: relying only on the ‘last click’ to determine which marketing programs are effective in bringing buyers to your company. May 2008. a phone call. 84% of Internet users never click on advertisements online. September 2009. Multiple brand exposures can help your company become a preferred brand. 5 “Understand the B2B Buy Cycle. and lift in both online and offline sales. they already have credibility. and also to place too much emphasis on the click as measurement of successful online advertising. is important and the one that generates a sales lead for your company. this model gives 100% credit for a conversion to the ad most recently seen and acted upon by a prospect. But how a buyer got your name in the first place is through the work of earlier exposures to your online marketing presence. online display ads can generate substantial lift in site visitation.” Randy Shattuck. however.comscore. in which all stages contribute to the final purchase decision. Allocating online marketing in a broader and deeper fashion across multiple programs not only helps you connect with more potential buyers throughout the buy cycle. http://www. comScore. 7 “The Click Remains Irrelevant: Natural Born Clickers Return. presented at iMedia Summit. “Even with no clicks or minimal clicks. it may not occur—or a lot fewer of them will occur—if you don’t have a comprehensive online marketing program which exposes potential buyers to your brand in multiple ways over a longer period of time.com/Press_Events/Presentations_Whitepapers/2009/The_Click_Remains_Irrelevant.internetviz-newsletters.

com to e-newsletters. and also take advantage of features such as RFQ submission and PartFinder to help you compete at the final decision stages. Consider the GlobalSpec advantage Unlike many other online programs. I N C . You will be able to shape stronger and more effective marketing strategies if you know how your customers behave in each stage of the buy cycle—Needs Awareness. Webinars and social media. GlobalSpec offers you the opportunity to reach your prospective customers throughout the entire buy cycle. Establish a comprehensive online program to cover the buy cycle Put into place a comprehensive online program that covers the industrial buy cycle from the early stages all the way to the ‘last ad’ click. Your customers are using a variety of information sources—from search engines and GlobalSpec. Suppliers can implement a turnkey program that includes a highly visible supplier hub. Develop appropriate content to address each decision maker With multiple decision makers being involved in purchase decisions. and online events that reach buyers in the critical early stages when branding and lead generation are so important. Consideration & Comparison. 15 . searchable online catalogs. Industrial Buying Cycle Searchable Online Catalog E-Newsletter Advertising Events PartFinder Industrial Ad Network/Banners Needs Awareness RFQ Research Consideration & Comparison Procurement © GlobalSpec. it’s important to have content that addresses the unique needs and concerns of each individual. data sheets.»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS Recommendations for Suppliers Understand the importance of the industrial buy cycle Understand the importance of the industrial buy cycle and decision funnel. e-newsletter advertisements. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . Consider the multiple cross-functional team members that make purchasing decisions in your industry. Don’t become fixated on the ‘last ad’ concept. keyword and banner ads. and Procurement—and the sources of information they rely on to make their decisions. white papers and other marketing materials are hitting on the issues important to these decision makers. and ensure that your collateral. which can lead to limited marketing exposure and a lack of visibility in the early stages of the buy cycle when customers are conducting research and identifying suppliers who can meet their needs. Inc. Research. and how your customers engage in this methodical process to locate suppliers who meet their needs and make purchase decisions.

And it’s why many manufacturers and suppliers choose GlobalSpec to help their businesses grow.300. qualified Web traffic to your site.globalSpec.000 product families from more than 24.2052 or visit http://www.com/advertising. product promotion and brand advertising platforms. The ability to find customers … to tap into new markets or new regions that are actively seeking your products … to understand what prospects are looking for … to gain an integrated marketing program and a wealth of practical advice about online marketing . e-mail marketing. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C .helping them search for and locate products and services. banner ad networks.this is the GlobalSpec approach. and a wide range of e-media advertising and marketing solutions including keyword ads. online events and industry-leading e-newsletter advertisements .261. technical. a broad range of proprietary and aggregated Web-based content and 60+ e-newsletters .allowing you to choose the options that fit your unique business needs. SpecSearch®. GlobalSpec users benefit from domain-expert search engines. We provide highly filtered sales leads and marketing opportunities. technical information and services.»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS About GlobalSpec GlobalSpec.com is used regularly by engineering. distributors and service providers. For more information on GlobalSpec’s comprehensive marketing solutions please call 800. GlobalSpec’s trademarked search technology. learn about suppliers and access comprehensive technical content. I N C . 16 . manufacturing and industrial professionals worldwide to search for components. GlobalSpec offers tailored marketing solutions that put you in control and expert online marketing advice to help you find new customers. products. allows users to search by specification more than 185 million parts in 2.000 supplier catalogs. For manufacturers.

to identify the sources your customers use for locating information and suppliers. with company sizes ranging from under 45 employees to over 5. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . I N C . Inc. technical. with 21% influencing more than $500. components or services. 17 . You can this information to better understand the industrial buy cycle. manufacturing and industrial professionals working in the United States and Canada. Specify products/services to be purchased 29% © GlobalSpec. Below are the survey results.»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS Appendix: Industrial Buy Cycle Survey Results The GlobalSpec Industrial Buy Cycle Survey was completed by engineering.000. 46% influence more than $100. with 40% making purchases directly. and to formulate more effective marketing strategies to reach your target customers throughout the stages of the buy cycle. Which of the following best describes your level of involvement in the purchasing of components or services? Level of Involvement in Purchasing Approve requisitions 4% Make purchases directly 40% Evaluate or recommend products/services to be purchased 27% All survey respondents are involved in purchasing components or services.000 employees. All of the survey respondents are involved in the purchasing of products.000 in spending each year.

500 28% or less.000 point that larger purchases typically involve multiple $10. 18 .000 $2. I N C . U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C .000 $250 10% 11% $0 9% © GlobalSpec. Inc.»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS What level of purchasing authority do you have that does not require sign-off or approval? Level of Purchasing Authority The majority (55%) have individual purchasing authority limits of $2. reinforcing the 22% >$10.000 decision makers.500 12% 8% $1. $5.

000.000 . while 38% said the buy cycle is five months or longer for purchases greater than $10.$10.»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS What is the average time between when you first identify a need and purchase a product or service? Average Length of a Buy Cycle Less than a month 1-2 months 3-4 months 5-6 months 6-8 months 9 months or more 100% 81% 80% 60% 39% 40% 34% 26% 20% 18% 13% 11% 3% 6% 2% 1% 2% 18% 16% 11% 11% 4% 4% 0% Purchases under $1.000 © GlobalSpec. is greater. I N C .000. Inc. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . This longer buy cycle is expected for larger purchases.000 Purchases greater than $10. since the investment. 81% stated the buy cycle is less than one month for purchases under $1.000 Purchases between $1. and therefore the risk. 19 .

facebook. 20 .»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS Which information sources do you typically use for work-related purchases? Information Sources for Work-Related Purposes 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 78% Search engines 76% Supplier Web sites 72% Online catalogs 58% Printed catalogs 46% Colleagues 37% Printed trade publications 34% Tradeshows/conferences 30% Online industry portal sites 26% Printed directories/buyer's guides 19% E-newsletters Online communities 17% White papers 17% The top three sources of information used for workrelated purposes are all online sources. 14% Webcasts/Webinars Social media (twitter. I N C . linkedin) 3% Blogs 3% © GlobalSpec. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . Inc.

000. I N C . Inc. 21 .»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS How many pieces of information/content do you typically review before making a purchase decision? Number of Pieces of Content Reviewed Before Purchasing Purchases between $1.000 Purchases under $1.00–$10.000 40% Purchases greater than $10.000. the more in-depth content you need to support sales efforts. 83% of buyers review only three or fewer pieces of content before making a decision on purchases under $1. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . while 70% of buyers review four or more pieces of content on purchases greater than $10.000 38% 36% 35% 32% 31% 30% 25% 25% 20% 21% 20% 17% 15% 15% 12% 10% 10% 5% 6% 5% 2% 16% 3% 7% 4% 0% © GlobalSpec. The higher your average order size.

Today. 22 .1 Printed catalogs 3.2 © GlobalSpec.8 Tradeshows/conferences 2. I N C .2 Online communities 2.9 Online catalogs 4. with the increasing popularity of social media. LinkedIn) 6 1. 7 = Always use) 1 2 3 4 5 5. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . and online catalogs.3 White papers 2.5 E-newsletters 2. supplier Web sites. even using colleagues as a source of information has an online component.4 The top three most frequently used sources for searching for products and services to purchase are search engines.1 Printed directories/buyer's guides 3 Online industry portal sites 2.2 Printed trade publications 3. Facebook. 1 = Rarely use.»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS When searching for products and services. how frequently do you use the following sources? Sources Used When Searching for Products/Services to Purchase (mean score on scale 1–7.6 Search engines Social media (Twitter. Inc.1 Other B2B vertical search engines 2 Webcasts/Webinars Blogs 7 5. 1.3 Colleagues 4.5 Supplier Web sites 4.

By the time buyers reach the Procurement stage. Facebook. 23 . Webinars. I N C .»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS Which of the following information sources do you typically use for various stages of the purchasing cycle? Information Sources at Various Buy Cycle Stages Needs Awareness & Research 0% 20% Supplier Web sites 29% Printed catalogs 31% Online catalogs Colleagues Printed directories/buyer's guides Consideration & Comparison 40% 29% 27% 23% 22% 41% 38% Online industry portal sites 42% 41% 21% 41% 17% 42% 43% 15% 43% 44% 47% 13% 12% 41% White papers 52% Other B2B vertical search engines 55% 10% 38% 35% 50% 62% Online communities 55% 69% Social media (Twitter. supplier Web sites are the most important information source. Yahoo! etc. including social media. LinkedIn) 10% 42% Webcasts/Webinars Blogs 33% 42% General search engines (Google. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . buyers use a broad array of information sources. In the Needs Awareness and Research stages of the buy cycle... e-newsletters. Inc.) E-newsletters 100% 41% 37% GlobalSpec 80% 40% 35% Tradeshows/conferences 60% 38% 32% Printed trade publications Procurement 60% 8% 5% 33% 40% 5% 26% 37% 5% 3% © GlobalSpec. search engines and GlobalSpec.

»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS How important are the following in the purchasing decision? Importance of Factors in Purchasing Decision (1 = least important 7 = most important) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Availability 6.8 Ability to order small quantities 4.0 Price 5.5 Previously purchased from company 4. I N C . customer support and deliver also rate high in buyers’ minds.5 Technical service support 5. Service elements such as availability.6 Breadth of products/services 4. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . Inc.9 Delivery 5. 24 .1 Sales person 4.3 Carries stocking inventory Already approved vendor 4.4 3.8 4.4 Recognized company name Systems integration support 4.4 5.0 Location 3.7 Customer Service support 5.1 Design assistance 4.9 © GlobalSpec.2 E-commerce capability Ability to service multiple delivery locations 2. Price isn’t the only factor important to buyers when making purchase decisions.7 Compatibility with existing products/systems 5.

components or services how many suppliers do you typically receive quotes from before making a purchase decision? 10% 20% 8% 3 Suppliers 40% 30% 50% 4-5 Suppliers 60% 50% 11% 70% 6+ Suppliers 80% 33% 63% © GlobalSpec. the same or fewer suppliers? Number of Suppliers Evaluating in 2010 The majority of buyers will 5% evaluate the same number of suppliers in 2010. 42% of buyers evaluate four or more suppliers. Inc. only 26% get quotes from four or more suppliers In 2010. 24% Fewer suppliers About the same which may lead to additional opportunity for suppliers with a strong presence in the More suppliers market. 25 .»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS When you are involved in purchasing equipment. 90% 100% 9% 22% 4% 20% During the initial Research phase. Inc. but as buyers move closer to Procurement. how many suppliers do you typically evaluate/review in the initial research phase? How many suppliers do you typically receive quotes from before making a decision? Number of Suppliers Reviewed and Contacted for Quotes 1-2 Suppliers When you are involved in purchasing equipment. although 24% will evaluate more. components or services. I N C . components or services how many suppliers do you typically evaluate/review in the initial research phase? 0% When you are involved in purchasing equipment. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . do you expect to be evaluating more. 71% © GlobalSpec.

I N C . U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C .000 Purchases between $1. Inc.000 . Inc.000-$10. Percent of Purchases Decided by One Person 7% Only 7% of purchases are 13% decided by one person. 63% are the sole decision maker for purchases under $1. 26 . 31% have three or more decision makers for purchases between $1.000.000. and that jumps to 65% for purchases over $10. but as the value goes up so does the complexity of the decision making process.000.$10.000 Purchases greater than $10. 50%-60% 37% 70%-90% 100% 18% © GlobalSpec. which reinforces the 25% 0% 10%-40% complexity and length of the buy cycle with multiple decision makers involved.000 © GlobalSpec.»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS How many decision makers are typically involved in the purchases you make? How Many Decision Makers for Purchases 1 (Just me) 70 2 3-4 5 or more 63% 60 47% 50 44% 40 30 27% 25% 24% 22% 22% 20 10% 9% 10 4% 3% 0 Purchases under $1.

the majority will submit a purchase order through their purchasing department. Inc. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C .»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS Which of the following methods do you use to purchase products and services for work? (check all that apply) Methods Used to Make Purchases 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 68% Purchase online 63% Phone order 62% Purchase order 45% Buy in-person at store Fax order 37% 4% Other © GlobalSpec. Inc. 27 . Customers may find you on the Web and visit your site. Buyers use a variety of ways to make purchases but the most frequent method used is a company purchase order. I N C . Which of the following do you typically use to purchase products and services for work? (choose only one) Most Commonly Used Purchase Method 5% 3% 8% 43% Purchase order Purchase online Phone order Fax order 19% Buy in-person at store Other 22% © GlobalSpec. but when it’s time to purchase.

»»» INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RESEARCH REPORTS FOR INDUSTRIAL MARKETERS When visiting a Web site that you know. and SpecSearch are registered trademarks of GlobalSpec. So when a purchase comes from a Google referral. You are free to copy. Inc. U N D E R S TA N D I N G T H E I N D U S T R I A L B U Y C YC L E © 2 0 1 0 G LO B A L S P E C . distribute and display and create derivative works from this paper provided that you give GlobalSpec. how often do you enter the name of the company in the general search engine box versus typing the url in the browser? Frequency of Typing Company Name in Search Engine Box 25% 25% 20% Percent of respondents 20% 17% 15% 15% 10% 9% 8% 6% 5% 0% 100% 80-99% 60-79% 40-59% 20-39% 1-19% 0% Percent of time company name is typed in search engine box © GlobalSpec. 62% of them type your company name into the search box at least 60% of the time. for example. Inc. the GlobalSpec logo. Even when potential customers know your company. All rights reserved. © 2006-2010 GlobalSpec. GlobalSpec. rather than typing out your company url in the address bar. the buyer more often than not simply used the search box as a conduit to get to your Web site. Inc. proper credit as the source. Inc. 28 . I N C .