A new survey shows that more than 80% of organisations no longer use the calendar to time their enterprise software solution purchases.

The results of the survey, conducted by Futurum Research and sponsored by SAP, identify industry shifts in business-to-business (B2B) buyer expectations and preferences.

“B2B buying is at a turning point,” says Sharon Ruddock, head of the SAP Digital Commerce group at SAP. “Companies are moving away from traditional enterprise-buying habits in search of speed, transparency and simplicity on digital channels.”

About 1 000 B2B decision-makers from small to enterprise-level companies across 11 major industries responded to the survey. Notable findings include:

Strategic business initiatives are driving the shift towards digital B2B buying.

* Almost half (49%) of the respondents cited moving to the cloud as the leading motivation in their shift to digital buying.

* Supporting the needs of digital transformation efforts is also driving this change in buyer behavior, with 48% indicating the importance of shifting to digital purchasing.

* Cutting costs and operational efficiency play a large role. Over 43% and 36%, respectively, highlighted these factors as key motivations for the move to online buying.

Customers want more transparency and freedom in their buying process.

* Nearly 90% of respondents said they consider product trials to be an important feature in their digital buying process.

* 85% of businesses rated one-on-one online product and video product demos as very important when digitally buying enterprise software solutions.

* Four out of five organisations noted that paid proofs of concept are important factors in making their digital purchasing decisions.

B2B customers are motivated by the ease and pace of B2C shopping.

* Two-thirds of respondents cited time and resource efficiency as a primary reason for making enterprise software purchases online. About 45% cited convenience.

* 43% noted operational speed as a principal motivator. About 37% named simplicity and less friction as top motivators.

“Consumers have become accustomed to simple online one-click buying in their personal lives, and now business purchasers want that level of simplicity and convenience to translate to their professional lives as well,” says Daniel Newman, CEO of Futurum Research. “Enterprise software providers must adhere to this consumerisation of B2B sales or risk losing out on deals as a result of outdated and lengthy purchase cycles.”