B2B Decision Makers: Who’s really calling the shots?

That’s easy. C-Level executives, right? While that may be sort of true, there’s more to the story.

Understanding who influences final decision makers, and appealing to these influencers’ day-to-day business and operational pain points is the secret weapon – more so than knowing the executive with the final sign-off authority. Building a relationship with the doers by pulling the right digital marketing levers will assure that your brand is on the short list of solutions for consideration when a purchase decision is on the line.

For decades, B2B marketers have been placing their focus and budgets on the highest-level executives, and rightfully so. Sixty-four percent of the C-Suite make the final call on big ticket items. But, according to Google almost 25% of final decision makers are non-C-Suite, and 81% of non-C-Suiters influence purchase decisions. B2B purchases often require teams to deliberate the best solutions and make unified conclusions. Buying teams vary based on investment size, but regardless it is clear that in recent years the B2B buying process has changed. The significant shift in the B2B researcher demographic— notably the rise of the Millennial generation - must be addressed. Last year, 18 to 34-year-olds accounted for almost half of all B2B research, up 70% over a two-year period.


While only a few Millennials have reached “final decision-maker” status, their influence and greater level of participation in the process is undeniable. The young B2B business set are digital natives and search and social media experts of the highest order, offering great perspective on current and rising trends. Because of this, executives are bringing them into the decision process at the beginning. Their influence on the C-level can no longer be ignored.  

Peers and colleagues are the most trusted resources for B2B executives when researching purchase decisions, and more than 50% of these advisors are Millennials. C-Level players are often not involved when day-to-day issues are elevated and solutions are discovered and evaluated. Therefore, they should not be the primary targets for most marketing efforts.

Research shows that B2B purchasing teams are 57% of the way to a decision before they perform an action on your business’ site. As a B2B brand marketer, here are some important questions to ask:

  • Are your company’s products and services discoverable for Millennial influencers when and where they are searching for solutions?
  • Are you marketing to the different B2B decision-making team members specifically?
  • Are you applying B2B marketing strategy to digital marketing tactics to ensure that your messages are in the right places, reaching the right audiences?

Come back soon for our thoughts on all things B2B, including search, social media platforms, the increasing importance of mobile, content marketing and marketing automation.