Image; iStock/metamorworks

Gone are the days of the single decision maker for onboarding new technology. Only one-third (39%) of IT is responsible for tech purchases in the “Age of Agility,” which is being driven by volatile markets and shifts in technology usage and adoption, according to the LinkedIn Tech Buyer Survey.

Now, 56% of B2B tech buyers work outside IT, in areas including finance, procurement, sales, and marketing in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the survey stated.

“For the first time, we’ve seen the role of IT fundamentally change—IT dropped below other functions as a lead decision maker in technology purchases,” the survey of nearly 6,000 decision makers said. “It’s a shift from IT decision maker to technology facilitator.”

SEE: The lines between corporate and tech strategy continue to blur (TechRepublic)

The influence of IT on technology purchasing decisions has dropped from 75% since 2014, but IT continues to guide the business, the survey said.

Driven by an increasing focus on price, finance and procurement have risen in prominence in the past two years, and “the tech buying committee has changed,” according to the survey.

However, with the line between decision makers and end users now blurred, over half of tech buyers work with IT when purchasing technology.

As IT shifts to facilitator of tech operations, 57% of respondents said IT is involved in the purchasing process, option reviews are being influenced by various factors.

Tech buyers led by sales and marketing said they are prioritizing functionality, ease of use and business impact, Meanwhile, facilitators, led by IT, finance and procurement, are actively looking at price, integration, and adoption, the LinkedIn survey found.

Around one-third (34%) of tech buyer respondents said they are planning to decrease their spending compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic, while 30% said spending will stay the same as it was before the pandemic. And 13% said they will increase spending while 13% said spending will come to a halt.

What users look for in tech products

Overall, respondents listed price (73%), and the right products and features (67%) as the most important factors when choosing a technology system, while just over half (56%) said post-sales support is a major factor in the vendor they select.

“The lengthy adoption timeframe for new technology purchases is another critical area for vendors to address,” the survey noted. Technology implementation at enterprise companies can take nearly six months once a new technology is onboarded, and renewals take longer than any other part of the process, according to the survey.

“Technology buyers want signals that the pain of new technology adoption can be minimized, and the outcome of the purchase be realized. Addressing this long implementation stage is vital for reducing time to value, friction, and ensuring that customers stay with a solution.”

How to work with “the anonymous buyer”

The nature of people driving B2B tech buying has changed and only 25% of B2B buyers said that they’re willing to share contact details with providers to access interesting content, the LinkedIn research found.

“They want to be anonymous and experience the traditional buyer journey on their own terms. In fact, 70% of potential buyers have already researched a company before they reach out to the sales team.”

One in two buyers said they have relied on peer validation for determining whether to trust a product.

Over 40% of enterprise buyers across EMEA take over one year to purchase technology and need slightly over three months on average to evaluate products, the survey found.

Tech marketers must give anonymous buyers information without asking for anything in return, the survey advised.

To thrive in the Age of Agility, marketers must recognize that the anonymous buyer is here to stay. While EMEA buyers want innovation and flexibility that challenger brands offer, with one in three tech buyers in the EMEA said they are likely to try out a new vendor.

At the same time, respondents also said they want the reliability of established vendors.

The survey drew responses from 5,894 tech decision makers in North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Of those, 39% (2,298) were from the EMA region.