4 Key Actions to Reduce Enterprise Tech Buyers’ Regret

August 1, 2022

Contributor: Lori Perri

Tackling enterprise-tech buyer regret is key to accelerating sales cycles. Here’s how.

Some buyers are more likely than others to regret their enterprise technology purchases. Why should that concern sellers? Because these buyers take more time to buy, are less likely to increase their investments and are more likely to start down a buying path and then do nothing.

Download eBook: Pushing Beyond Enterprise Tech Buyer Regret

“No-regret buyers are positioned to be your best customers. By understanding and adapting to their needs–and steering other buyers toward similar behaviors you can improve your odds of faster deals and accelerated growth,” said Hank Barnes, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner.   

Gartner surfaced key buying-decision differences in a recent study of 1,120 large enterprise technology purchase decisions made by midsize or larger enterprises.

4 steps to tackling enterprise-tech buying regret

No. 1: Understand which of your customers are more versus less likely to experience regret

Most technology purchase decisions are made by large buying teams. Buying team size growth has been slowed by the pandemic and operating virtually, yet teams still typically have between eight and 15 people involved in purchases.   

In many cases, the purchase funding comes from multiple groups, which creates the first driver of regret — consensus challenges. For respondents with high regret, 89% of them cited team members have different, often conflicting, objectives for the purchase versus 9% for those with no regret — that means they are almost 10 times more likely to experience this type of conflict.

How do you make sure that the overriding goal of the purchase and the core value scenario is well received across the team versus appealing to each individual? You need to understand the customer and help get them focused.

Read now: The Key to Sustainability Priorities for Technology Product Managers

No. 2: Take ownership of your customers’ buying challenges

More effective targeting can help you anticipate which customers will face challenges in the buying process and offer support accordingly. Develop buyer enablement content, tools (calculators, diagnostics, checklists, etc.) and programs that help buyers follow an optimized path and build confidence in their decision process.

  • No-regret customers are more thorough, more focused and more disciplined. They crave content. 

  • High-regret customers need encouragement. Make the process as easy as possible for them, presented in clear, simple steps.

Customers need assistance with navigating the influx of information and complex choices. Think beyond your core product/service and connect it to partnerships, programs and tools to provide support.

Discover Gartner BuySmart™: Streamline your tech purchase from start to finish.

No. 3: Build change confidence

Surface and understand the difficulties buyers face and provide them with targeted assistance. Focus on change enablement to make buyers more confident that once they have made their tech purchase, they will be able to move from current state to future state during adoption. 

Aim to collaborate so you share power with customers and your entire ecosystem to ensure maximum impact from tech investments with minimal regret and frustration.

Customers can then complete their buying cycles faster, experience less friction on expansion efforts and avoid cases where they fail to reach a decision — thus developing a more collaborative, trusting relationship with you.

No. 4: Improve the whole product

What does it mean to improve the whole product? You and the customer assess everything involved with the experience, not a sum of each part. How do you develop the whole product to meet customer expectations and enhance their experience? The whole product evolves as markets mature, products mature and targeted customers change. Take into account all aspects of the customer’s experience and consider all of the touchpoints your customer will have with your product.

Watch webinar: Tech Product Leaders: Go to Market With Effective Customer Experience

A whole product experience provides the customer with all that is needed for them to see compelling value with less risk to buy.

In short:

  • Enterprise technology customers have access to more options and information than ever before but often regret their decisions. 

  • Enterprises that had a high level of regret for a major purchase took seven to 10 months longer, on average, than enterprises that had no regret.

  • Enterprise tech product leaders can use their understanding of regret to shorten deal cycles and improve sales effectiveness.

Hank Barnes is a Chief of Research, focused on Enterprise Buying Behavior, in Gartner's Tech and Service Provider team. He guides Gartner's research efforts to understand the dynamics, challenges, and frustrations enterprises face when buying technology products and services.

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