- CIOs prioritize efficiency and productivity gains when making buying decisions, especially for technology purchases, according to a series of recent reports by Forrester that surveyed more than 20,000 business buyers.
- More than one-third of CIOs surveyed said efficiency gains were the primary business driver for IT purchases, followed by improvements in productivity and better CX. Profitability and revenue growth also made the top five.
- CIOs prefer self-guided interactions early in the buying process, but “want to interact with vendor sales reps in the final phase of their journey,” Amy Hayes, VP, research director at Forrester, told CIO Dive via email.
CIOs prize practical solutions. They want to know about a vendor’s products and services while understanding what else is in the market.
ROI is important, but more so in the final stages of a sale, the report found.
Early in the decision process, most CIOs prefer information sources other than the vendor, including analyst firms like Forrester.
When IT professionals are buying a technology solution, they rely on touchpoints outside of the vendor’s control, including industry publications and websites, forums or message boards and conversations with peers, Hayes said.
CIO engagement is highest in the final phases of the buying process, when vendors have the most sway in purchasing decisions, according to Forrester.
In addition, CIOs were impressed by a vendor’s technology expertise, with nearly one-third of respondents citing it as a primary reason for closing a deal.
While direct-from-vendor purchases remain the primary avenue for tech acquisitions, newer self-service channels are gaining ground, Hayes said. These include external marketplaces, app stores, vendor websites and through prior purchases via product-led growth.
“Routes to market are diversifying,” said Hayes. “We predict that in the next two years more than one-third of millennial and Gen Z business buyers will purchase through self-guided digital channels.”
Forrester estimates that more than half of business buyers are millennials who exhibit distinct buying behaviors.
“They bring an evolving set of preferences and requirements to how they buy,” Hayes said. “For example, they seek out information from the widest variety of interactions than other generations.”
That can extend the length of a buying cycle for all involved and increase engagement time for vendors.
It can also lead to buyer’s remorse, a surprisingly common outcome in tech purchases, according to a July report by Gartner, which found nearly three-quarters of enterprise technology purchases ended with a dissatisfied customer.
Millennial buyers are more prone to buyer’s remorse than their older counterparts, according to Forrester. Nine in ten respondents born after 1980 reported dissatisfaction, Hayes said, with price being the top reason.
“Vendors should pay close attention to other factors these buyers care about, such as competence exhibited during the purchase process and relationship with the sales rep,” said Hayes.