Despite continued economic pressures, technology budgets appear to be “recession proof” as 88% of tech buyers say their budgets will either increase or remain the same over the next 12 months. Even with money to spend, the purchase process is growing more complex and tech buyers have different educational needs. Our 2023 Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker research outlines the information sources that IT decision-makers (ITDMs) rely on and this blog shares that insight along with who’s involved throughout the buying process.

Leadership in the tech purchase process

From determining the business need to post sales engagement, a variety of ITDMs play a part in various stages of the technology purchase process and hold different leadership roles in each stage. On average, 25 people make up the buying committee (up from 20 last year) – 13 IT and 12 lines of business – however, there are some differences by company size. Enterprise organizations have an average of 33 influencers (17 IT and 16 LOB) while SMBs have 15 total (7 IT and 8 LOB). 

While we see LOB influencers throughout the purchase process, the CIO or top IT executive and IT management consistently remain the top leader for all stages. Additionally, the engineer has consistent involvement in the purchase process, specifically when determining technical requirements and evaluating products and services. Given compliance requirements and cybersecurity incidents always being top of mind, it is no surprise that security staff is also actively involved when determining technical requirements, evaluating products or services and recommending and selecting vendors. It’s crucial that new technologies meet security requirements and align with current business practices.

Sources relied upon during the purchase process

83% of ITDMs download information to aid them during the tech purchase process, averaging at 6 pieces of content downloaded. In order to be more inclined to download content, brand awareness is key component as 65% of ITDMs say that they typically spend more time-consuming content from known and trusted brands. Brand awareness specifically aids engagement with product reviews (68%), case studies (49%), third-party market research (44%), and technology related-videos (44%). Before content creation and promotion to specific sources, ensure you have a strong and trusted brand identity with your customers and prospects. Once that is in place, provide ITDMs with the information sources they rely on the most. Those being:

  1. Technology content sites
  2. White papers
  3. Webcasts/webinars
  4. Technology vendors (via phone, email, video conference)
  5. Technology vendors (via vendor website)

Reliance slightly differs by purchase process stage – the research shows that for the first three stages (determining the business need through evaluating products and services), technology content sites are the number one relied upon information source. Given the nature of tech content sites being educational resources with in-depth articles, product reviews, and opinion articles, it makes sense as to why these would be the number one information source when ITDMs are doing the majority of their research prior to purchasing a tech product/service. Once a vendor is selected and moves into the approval process, ITDMs turn to technology vendors, whether that be via their website, email, phone or video conference, as well as their peers for additional information and insight.

New this year, we asked IT decision-makers which stage of the technology purchase process is most likely to stall at their organization, and the majority said the authorization and evaluation stages. Be sure to provide ITDMs with the resources they need to get through these stages and ultimately complete the sale. They actually want to work with vendors to help expedite the process, as 61% say that they work with vendors to help develop the business case around investment in their technology.

Different types of educational formats

While in-person is coming back, ITDMs are still likely to attend virtual events. In fact, 68% agree that given the ease of attending, virtual events will be an important source of information. This increases to 71% for executive IT, likely because of their busy schedules, and decreases to 58% for IT professionals. As the state of events and conferences shifts back to normal, 58% also say that they are more likely to attend in-person industry events in the next year.

Continuing with the virtual format, ITDMs rely on and engage with webcasts. 67% of have registered for a work-related webcast in the past 12 months, increasing to 72% for executive IT.  Technology-related video is also a key content type that ITDMs turn to – 94% say they watch tech videos for business purposes, with the main types being:

  • In-depth product reviews 43%
  • Technology news 40%
  • Industry research/tech analyst reports 39%
  • How to videos 36%
  • Interviews with industry experts 36%

Before building out your marketing strategy, it’s necessary to fully understand who’s buying your technology, their involvement throughout the purchase process, and the information sources they need to aid them to make purchase. Download Foundry’s 2023 Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker research for the full insights to help you start building out your plans.