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Most IT buyers experience high levels of regret

Gartner research shows 56% of organisations feel buyer's remorse over the latest tech purchases

The majority of IT hardware purchases come with a high degree of regret, with 56% of organisations stating they experienced buyer's remorse over their largest purchases over the last two years.

Gartner questioned 1,120 respondents at manager level or higher across the US, Western Europe and Asia-Pacific to understand how businesses approach large scale purchasing of enterprise technology, between November and December last year.

Announcing the findings, Gartner VP analyst Hank Barnes said the high degree of regret is at its peak for tech buyers who haven't yet started implementation, indicating “significant frustration with the buying experience".

“In the past, it was relatively easy for product leaders to predict who buyers were, but no longer,” he said. “Buying team dynamics are changing and customers can find buying to be a real challenge.”

Speaking at Gartner’s Tech Growth and Innovation Conference 2022, Barnes said organisations indicating high regret also took on average seven to ten months longer to complete their purchase.

“Slow purchase decisions can lead to frustrated teams, wasted time and resources and even, potentially, slower growth for the company,” he elaborated.

Muddying the waters further, it was also revealed that 67% of those making the tech-purchasing decisions are not from IT departments. The result is “chasm”, Gartner said, dividing organisations that are confident adopters and buyers of technology from the vast majority that are not.

A new approach to buying IT

To tackle this widening gap, high-tech providers will need to adapt their approaches to identifying and engaging customers to improve their chances of generating good business.

With that in mind, Barnes said its necessary to think beyond the motivations for buying to consider how these decisions are being approached. To help with this process, Gartner has developed a psychographic model it calls Enterprise Technology Adoption Profiles (ETAs) that has identified seven specific customer behaviour categories.

“Using ETAs is one element that can help high tech providers move from a product/market fit strategy towards a product/customer fit strategy,” Barnes added.

High tech providers are also urged to create their own model to help identify what Gartner calls “best fit” situations and “should avoid” situations. These “best fit” scenarios should be based on an ideal customer profile, focusing on characteristics of organisations, rather than the individuals.

That can include a range of factors that include technology, business situation, available resources, and psychographic ETAs.

“There will be a big grey area in between that you have to be thoughtful in evaluating whether to commit to pursuing the opportunity,” Barnes explained. “This is all about improving your odds and allocating resources and investments effectively.”

Key focuses to shape your strategy

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To help shape their strategies going forward, Gartner outlined three priorities for high tech providers. The first is to focus the bulk of investments towards supporting the aforementioned “best fit” situations with tailored offerings and activity.

The second, is to train customer-facing teams on how to recognise customer characteristics that will indicate a “best fit”.

Thirdly, organisations should train these customer-facing teams on how to be flexible and adjust their approach with customers that may fall between the two camps of “best fit” and “should avoid”.

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