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Majority of Tech Buyers Regret Their Decisions

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Distributed buying teams and funding challenges mean the majority of technology buyers regret their purchases as soon as they're made, especially those related to renewing or expanding as-a-service agreements, according to a recent survey by Gartner, Inc.

The survey was conducted between February and March 2023 among 1,503 respondents from organizations with an annual revenue of at least $50 million in Western Europe, North America and Asia/Pacific. A majority (60%) of technology buyers involved in decisions to renew or expand “as-a-service” agreements regretted nearly every purchase they make, a 6% increase from 2020, Gartner said.

Negative Attitudes

The survey found that technology buyers’ negative attitudes are shaped by frustrating buying experiences, poor communication and an overwhelming number of options to consider. These issues create challenges such as longer buying cycles and conflicting objectives within the team when pursuing expansion opportunities, according to the survey.

Despite these challenges, the survey found technology buyers would prefer to have minimal interactions with sales teams. A full 95% of technology buyers indicated they would have preferred a fully digital/online experience for their expansion purchase.

“Regret is a known issue with enterprise technology purchase decisions,” said Hank Barnes, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner, about the survey. “The issue is significant enough that it raises the question of whether business-to-business (B2B) technology buyers have negative attitudes toward purchases by default.”

“Pessimism and regret continue to grow for enterprise technology buyers,” said Barnes. “This usually has little to do with the provider or the products themselves, but rather is driven by ineffective or dysfunctional behaviors within the buying team.”

No Regrets

To avoid this regret, technology buyers can take a number of actions when negotiating a deal expansion, Gartner advised:

  1. Enable customer-facing teams to identify accounts displaying behaviors associated with regret. These teams should be on the lookout for technology buyers wanting to revisit decisions in the buying process, buying team conflict and lack of awareness of the steps required to complete the purchase.
  2. Expand buyer enablement content to build buying confidence. Guide buyers on the jobs that help reduce conflict and delays in the decision process.
  3. Expand the number of activities that can be done digitally. Two examples of this include introducing digital checklists that guide buyers through an effective process and offering a shared workspace where teams can review objectives and help build business cases.