What Drives Business Decisions?

That’s a big question, right? Shelton Group set out two years ago to try to answer it, within the context of sustainability and energy efficiency, with our first B2B Pulse study. We gained some key insights:

  • Business decision makers are consumers too. They profess that they care about sustainability in their purchase decisions – often more than the companies they work for.
  • And their top purchase drivers generally match those of American consumers: cost savings and avoidance of harmful chemicals/toxins in product content.
  • We also learned that not all sectors were equally interested in sustainable purchasing and energy- and water-efficient facility features. Some, like construction and education, were leading the way. Others, like hotels and business services, were lagging.
  • Finally, we identified the “care-abouts” of key decision makers by type. For example, CEOs and CFOs were more concerned about environmental liability and indoor air quality/employee health, while purchasing agents were focused more on price point.

Last year, in our 2015 study, it became clear that sustainability and/or energy efficiency is becoming a normative part of purchasing and facility construction/improvement decision making.

  • The importance of sustainability in corporate decision making increased by 22%.
  • The percentage who said their company had a supplier sustainability scorecard doubled.
  • Over half (54%) said they include sustainability-related questions in their RFPs for purchasing.

We’re preparing to field B2B Pulse 2016, which continues to track trends in the issues above and investigates emerging issues, such as:

  • Interest in distributed generation and how that might sync with increasing interest in building resiliency
  • Interest in smart building technologies – particularly energy management systems and other sustainability-related monitoring and control tools

We’re also asking questions to help guide the development of our clients’ corporate sustainability stories. What resonates? And we’re including new questions on issues/cause marketing initiatives and supply chain responsibility.

As always, we’ll delve into the utility/customer relationship to help utilities better understand the risks they face in light of an ever-increasing slate of competitors for energy management, technologies and distributed generation. What do they need to be doing to proactively meet the needs of commercial customers and protect these critical relationships?

Keep an eye out this summer for juicy new nuggets and the chance to purchase the new report.



Posted on

March 15, 2016

About the Author

Lee Ann Head

Lee Ann is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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