A recently completed Social Buying Study from the IDC (www.idc.com) research group concludes that 75% of the business-to-business (B2B) buyers studied and 84% of C-level/vice president executives use social media to support purchase decisions.

According to the findings of this global study, B2B buyers most active in using social media to support the buying process were more senior and had 84% bigger budgets, made 61% more purchase decisions, and had influence over a greater span of purchase decisions than those buyers who did not use social media to support their purchase process. The study indicates that social media increases decision-making confidence by providing more efficient access to an executive’s professional network.

In the final stage of the purchasing process, when stakes are highest, online professional networks are the number 1 information resource preference of buyers. IDC believes that social networks will continue to grow in importance as purchasing tools.

“Senior executives ā€“ the C-level and VP-level buyers who demonstrate the greatest propensity to use social networks for buying ā€“ set the pace for others in their organization. Where the leaders go, others tend to follow,” says Kathleen Schaub, vice president of research in IDC’s CMO Advisory Practice.

“As the use of social networks expands, the gap between companies that use social networks for buying and selling and those that do not will widen, creating a significant disadvantage for companies that lag behind,” adds Michael Fauscette, group vice president, Software Business Solutions, IDC. “For vendor companies, this transformation may be difficult and will take time; however, new competencies will amplify the value that buyers seek from social networks. This will create an echo effect, making social networks even more valuable to buyers.”