IT Purchase Committee has 64 per cent members from outside the IT function: LinkedIn Studyc

452LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), the world’s largest professional network on the Internet, has announced the results of a study that seeks to uncover the decision-making and purchase process around IT buying within organisations in the Middle East.

Part of a global study, the regional responses were collected from 309 respondents who play a role in the ‘IT Committee’, a multi-discipline group that comes together to identify IT vendors, evaluate offerings and finalise purchase decisions. Regionally, 64 per cent of the members of the Committee are from other functions apart from IT, and this is close to the global average of 74 per cent. A key takeaway from the study was that a full 94 per cent of respondents use content on social media platforms to aid their decision, and brands that post educational content around their key offerings and differentiators are viewed more favourably by the IT Committee (67 per cent).

Jacob Thomas, Head, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, MENA, said: “We have long believed that the sales-led approach is losing its appeal to IT purchase decision-makers, and now this is very evident among the IT Committee in an organisation. The Educate-First approach by some of the leading IT brands on social media channels is driving their conversion rates upwards. The percentage of buyers in the MENA region who use social media platforms to gather information is higher than the EMEA and global averages of 85 per cent.”

This study has also uncovered some valuable information to aid businesses in their selling process. The IT Committee also looks to ‘experts’ for content, but the study found that the perception of the expert is not driven by seniority and job-title but by relevance of content. Only 15 per cent reported that they would expect an expert to have VP-level title or higher.

With a rise in avenues to get quality content in front of audiences, content creators have also found ways to capture data from those who engage with the content. LinkedIn’s study has found that this is a self-defeating move as 57 per cent of the respondents from the Middle East said that they are less likely to consider a vendor who requires contact information for every piece of content. Even more alarming is the fact that half of the respondents provide false information to access ‘gated’ content.

Effectively, what LinkedIn has uncovered through this study is that IT purchase decisions are no longer made by the IT department or the C-Suite alone, and a sales-led approach without building and earning trust and credibility would lead to low success.

“At LinkedIn, we have maintained that quality content is a valuable sales tool. Businesses selling IT solutions should remember that a great way to earn trust from the IT Committee is to use broad-based content that is not brand-specific. Your employees and specialists are great voices to leverage to get your business offering out there, and a short-term educational outreach programme could result in higher quality leads in the long-term. The content should also be easily accessible, so a well-planned mix of gated and un-gated content is essential as well”, Thomas added.

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