How to Stand Out in Your Category: Buyer Insights for Project Management Software

May 11, 2023
Contributor: Caroline Hogan

Buyer behavior insights to help you level up your marketing strategy

The demand for project management software is on the rise in the U.S., with a 36% increase in searches on our comparison sites Capterra, GetApp, and Software Advice over the past year. But with over 1,500 project management products listed on these sites, how can sellers make sure they stand out and get their fair share of buyer attention?

Each year, our software advisors speak with thousands of decision-makers evaluating new project management software for their business. We’ve mined those conversations for insights that you can use to fine-tune your messaging and create a unique positioning that speaks directly to the needs of project management software buyers.

Key insights

  • Software inefficiency, lack of functionality, and usability issues are the top reasons buyers replace their existing project management software.
  • Many buyers rely on everyday office software such as Excel and Outlook to manage their projects, but they need a dedicated project management tool.
  • First-time buyers often request generic project management software features that prove less critical to teams actually using the software. 
  • Typical buyer budgets for project management software range from $30 to $70 per user, per month and differ slightly by industry. 

Why buyers search for new project management software

According to our data, there are three main reasons businesses become dissatisfied with their current project management software and search for new software: inefficiency (49%), lack of functionality (31%), and difficulty using the software (26%).

In fact, each of these issues is likely related. For example, if your software doesn’t offer project status tracking, stakeholders may need to check for updates via email or other channels leading to less efficient workflows.

→  Pro tip

Ensure your sales team can gather specific requirements from prospects and offer product demonstrations tailored to their unique needs.

Remember, while a free trial is designed to provide actual product use and experience, demos are best suited to highlight use cases.

Software Market Insights: Project Management

Software Market Insights: Project Management

A complete guide for software providers to effectively position your project management solution and engage B2B buyers.

Tools buyers are replacing with project management software

Of the businesses that purchased a new project management tool, 47% previously used general-purpose tools such as Excel, Outlook, or QuickBooks to manage their projects. These everyday office tools are more likely to lead to issues such as poor communication, unclear expectations, and even project cost overruns.

→  Pro tip

Identify your buyers' pain points and demonstrate how purpose-built project management tools like yours offer dedicated features that will lead to better outcomes. It's important to clarify that despite requiring more upfront investment and time to implement, having a project management tool in place will improve efficiency and reduce costs.

What project management software features are valued the most

Businesses evaluating new project management tools primarily prioritize collaboration, scheduling, and document management as key requested features when searching for new software. However, we looked at software reviews to find out what actual project management software users found most critical in their daily work, and scheduling turned out to be the most valued feature by users.

As you would expect, first-time buyers look for generic features such as collaboration while  businesses replacing an existing project management tool tend to focus on specific and advanced features like time tracking.

→  Pro tip 

Filter and compare your ratings against competitors to help you position your product, highlight key strengths and illustrate how reviewers use your software to solve business challenges. 

You can also promote how your product stacks up against the competition by showcasing earned awards and third-party badges based on ratings and popularity.

How buying budgets compare with software pricing

Buyers' budgets roughly align with the pricing our research team sees in the marketplace.  Software prices largely depend on the features and number of user seats needed. The most common pricing model is a subscription-based monthly or annual fee, often based on the number of users. 

The average budget for each industry slightly differs from the overall budget due to industry-specific requirements. For example, our data shows that businesses operating in the manufacturing sector using a project management tool typically spend $47 per user per month, in contrast to the $36 budget of utility companies.

→  Pro tip

When determining the pricing for your software, it's important to consider the industry in which your target buyers operate, as some industries may have more complex requirements that can drive up costs. To evaluate how you stack up against your competition, you can use Capterra's project management software pricing guide.

Rise above your competition with strategic insights

Project management software marketers face enormous pressure to set their product apart from competition in a crowded marketplace. But with the right insights, you can better understand the key priorities and pain points among your target audience and address them directly in your product messaging to claim your fair share of buyer attention.

With more than 9 million active software buyers on our sites every month, Gartner Digital Markets can equip you with the strategic insights you need to level up your marketing strategy and become a leader in your category.


Get access to top-quality software buyer data with our intent data services and gather the intelligence that will boost your conversion rates.


Caroline Hogan

Caroline Hogan is the Senior Director of Vendor Marketing at Gartner Digital Markets, where she manages the marketing strategy for the vendor platform. She has more than 20 years of marketing experience, leading initiatives from brand strategy and demand generation to customer retention and advocacy. Connect with Caroline on LinkedIn.


Methodology and buyer demographics

Software buyers analysis 

Findings are based on data from conversations that our advisor team has daily with software buyers seeking guidance on purchase decisions. The data used to create this report is based on interactions with small-to-midsize businesses seeking project management tools. For this report, we analyzed approximately 1,600 phone interactions from January 2022 to December 2022.

The findings of this report represent buyers who contacted Gartner Digital Markets and may not be indicative of the market as a whole. Data points are rounded to the nearest whole number.

The buyers we interacted with are largely small businesses representing a growing majority of project management software purchases. Below you’ll find the demographics of the buyers so you can see the size and type of businesses, from annual revenue to industry.

Type of buyers by annual revenue
Type of buyers by number of employees
Type of buyers by industry
Type of buyers by number of users
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