How to Connect with Software Buyers in France

June 28, 2022
Contributor: Thibaut De Lataillade

Optimize your marketing strategy with insights on the French B2B buying journey.

France is a competitive market for software and SaaS providers seeking to expand their global reach. The country’s software market, estimated at $19.7 billion U.S. in 2022 according to a Gartner forecast, is Europe’s third-largest software market with an expected CAGR of 10% through 2025. While there are tons of opportunities, expanding into France’s software market may feel daunting. 

To build a market entry or campaign expansion strategy for the French market requires a thorough understanding of the country’s software buyers. Software marketers should take the time to understand the top concerns and business priorities in order to maximize their efforts and ROI in France.  

In this post, we share insights about software buyers in France and how to best engage and convert them with a strong digital marketing strategy.

What are the top concerns for French software buyers?

It’s important to understand the main concerns of French software buyers before creating an international marketing strategy. Here are the most common challenges that French businesses face when it comes to investing in new technology, according to Gartner Digital Markets’ 2022 Global Software Buyer Trends Survey

Top 5 challenges when investing in new software

While security concerns are the most common challenge for businesses worldwide, the primary concern for French software buyers investing in new software is the need to justify the investment. We recommend providing measurable success markers, such as return on investment (ROI), to help stakeholders make a strong business case and get executive buy-in. By answering common questions in your product profile, French software buyers will be able to identify themselves as a good fit for your product and justify the purchase with key stakeholders.

What should you know about software buying behavior in France?

The results of the Gartner Digital Markets’ 2022 Global Software Buyer Trends Survey revealed that most B2B software buyers in France prefer a self-driven information search. French software buyers often conduct research on their own to find the software provider that’s right for their business. 

Software rating sites are critical to connecting with B2B software buyers in France, with more than half of respondents saying that it was important to read user reviews before making a software purchase decision. As a software provider looking to expand their digital marketing in France, you should consider collecting customer reviews to start building buyers’ trust. The more reviews, the more confident B2B buyers will be about purchasing your software. Software vendors on Gartner Digital Markets see a 127% increase in traffic to their profile pages when they collect 10 or more reviews.

It’s important to note that French companies rely heavily on their IT department to manage software purchases. This means French software buyers are generally tech savvy and seek in-depth software specs to make informed decisions. We recommend describing your product’s functions in detail and promoting integrations and data security on your product’s profile to show how your software is compatible with their existing tech stack.

What are the trusted software information sources in France?

When it comes to making software investments, French companies prefer to work with well-established software brands (43%) or to work with providers they’ve already worked with in the past (38%). French software buyer preferences for well-known brands can pose challenges for software or SaaS providers looking to enter the French market. However, there are effective ways to establish a brand presence in France’s competitive software market. 

Preferred channels to obtain info about a software solution

Software companies crafting a digital marketing strategy targeting French businesses, should take the following steps to establish a strong brand reputation in a new region and get their software in front of prospective buyers. 

  • Social media. This is an easy starting point for many providers kicking off their international marketing efforts. By posting relevant and helpful content on social media, you can become a thought leader and start to establish your brand’s presence. Make sure to keep time zones in mind when scheduling social media posts.
  • Software ratings and reviews sites. This includes user reviews on third-party research websites like Capterra, GetApp and Software Advice. Leveraging review websites where customers post testimonials can build trust for French consumers and show how your product is relevant.
  • Video calls with sales representatives. This is a great way to show off what your software can do in real time with prospective customers and can forge a personal connection from around the globe. Practicing situational awareness during these calls will ensure that the conversations will continue between the buyer and the provider.
  • Personalized emails. Properly targeting customers through email marketing is a great way to source leads and get the word out about your product. Consider catering to the French community with your language and time zones as well.
  • Provider websites. Think of your website as an extension of your product profile. Taking a strategic approach to your landing pages’ design will ensure that your website only displays relevant information to your target audience. Also, make sure that your website content has been translated into French in order to target the local market.

How can you differentiate your offerings in France?

To differentiate your offerings in the French market, software marketers should identify attributes that play an important role for French buyers in the qualification of a software tool when compared to alternatives. In France, the most influential factors in the software purchase decision are focused on IT needs, such as distributed cloud and cybersecurity, according to the Gartner Digital Markets’ 2022 Global Software Buyer Trends Survey.

Most important features when evaluating software options

French software buyers greatly value localized content, preferring to receive content and communicate with vendors in French. More specifically, 45% of software buyers in France prefer support services and video tutorials (35%) in French. 

Translated materials offer the benefit of conveying the same message to your target audience without any confusion. We recommend localizing marketing collateral, such as landing pages and product details, prior to implementing your go-to-market strategy. 

Global Software Trends and Buyer Behavior Insights 2022

Global Software Trends 2022

Match the shifting preferences and behaviors of B2B buyers.

How can you keep customers engaged during software adoption?

The onboarding process is critical for customer engagement and loyalty. B2B software providers can avoid postpurchase regret by providing support services and personalized training as these are French buyers' most valued factors in the onboarding process, according to Gartner Digital Markets' 2022 Global Software Buyer Trends Survey

A positive onboarding experience will assist with keeping existing French customers happy and engaged when it’s time to renew. This is important to keep in mind during renewal season since 36% of French software buyers we surveyed said they do a cursory evaluation of alternatives before renewing, while 28% evaluate alternatives in-depth. You can improve customer satisfaction and retain clients by collecting user reviews and analyzing the voice of the customer (VoC).

Another method for keeping software buyers engaged and building client confidence postpurchase is to provide them with change enablement content. This type of content, such as a diagnostic quizz or a resources hub, will help new clients navigate the changes after software adoption.

Ready to reach software buyers in France?

The French software market is growing rapidly. While there are plenty of opportunities to connect with B2B buyers in the country, it’s important to understand their behavior and preferences to target them at the right time with the right information. Download our report on France’s software market to gain more buyer behavior insights and craft an optimized marketing strategy.

France Software Market Landscape Guide

eBook: France Software Market Landscape

Position software offerings more effectively in France.

Thibaut De Lataillade

Thibaut De Lataillade is Global Vice President, in charge of Gartner Digital Markets sites’ buyer experience and international growth. He has more than 20 years experience in the software and digital industry, including sales, marketing, and managerial responsibilities. Connect with Thibaut on LinkedIn.


Survey methodology:

Gartner Digital Markets 2022 Global Software Buyer Trends Survey

Results presented are based on a Gartner Digital Markets study to understand business challenges and approaches to technology and software investments. The primary research was conducted in October 2021 among a total of 2,501 respondents in the following countries: United States, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, India, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, Colombia, Belgium, Poland, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Germany and France.

Respondents were screened for having recently purchased technology and decision-making authority. Respondents were required to be responsible for making decisions on purchasing technologies for their organization. 

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