The Purchase Pessimism Pandemic


Gartner surveyed buyers on their major technology purchases, particularly how they felt about the purchases after the decisions were made. The results should be a wake up call to technology vendor sales and marketing leaders.

First, Gartner examined the sentiment of purchase decisions. seeking to understand how many buyers felt they made a high quality purchase, defined as one where expectations have been met and the buyer didn’t settle for something “less-than” or that the purchase involved a “premium” product. According to Hank Barnes from Gartner, a high quality deal (HQD) is “good for the customer and good for the vendor. It should be something we all aspire to”.

Unfortunately, buyers indicated that the number of high quality deals has declined almost 40% over the past three years. In 2019 buyers were already indicating disappointment in their deals, with only one in four (27%) being perceived as high quality and a “win-win”. This has declined dramatically to now being less than one in five (17%).

Gartner clearly states the impact of this to solution providers: “It leads to delays, indecision, and a reluctance to progress. It doesn’t stop deals, but it makes them much harder. And the symptoms we see for non-HQD will only get magnified in the face of additional financial scrutiny.”

When investigating “as a service” purchases, similar regrets and dissatisfaction prevail. A whopping 60% of buyers indicate that “We regret nearly every purchase we make after the subscription agreement is finalized.”

Think about that … almost 2/3rds of buyers now regret their decision just after the ink is dry, and this sentiment doesn’t get any better a year or two later when you want to renew and expand the account. Renewals, already under budget pressure, will not be helped by a sea of buyer remorse and regret.

One of the reasons Gartner gives for this are inexperienced buying teams, which technology vendors need to be well aware of, and assist in every way possible. Issues from these buying teams include:

  • Buyers not understanding all the steps necessary to complete a purchase in their organization and don’t know how to assemble an effective buying team to make a high quality, disciplined decision
  • Buyers struggling with consensus on requirements and collaborative decisions, potentially feeling like compromises mean that they don’t ultimately get what they want and need.
  • Buyers with unrealistic expectations, or expectations formed from incomplete information, about solutions, leading to regret

Vendors need to be aware of ineffective buying and these regret trends, to up their selling to include:

  • Guiding customers through the buyer’s journey and decision making steps (having done so at many other organizations)
  • Helping to understand and message to individual buyer needs, and help build consensus amongst decision makers
  • Assuring that expectations are correctly set, with a focus on tangible and measurable outcomes (which can be validated to prove the quality of the decision on an ongoing basis.)

The Bottom-Line

In conclusion, the findings from Gartner’s survey highlight a concerning trend of buyer pessimism in major technology purchases. The decreasing number of high-quality deals and the significant rise in buyer regret after finalizing subscription agreements should serve as a wake-up call to technology vendors, sales, and marketing leaders.

These regretful sentiments not only lead to delays and indecision but also pose challenges for renewals and account expansions. Inexperienced buying teams and unrealistic expectations contribute to this buyer pessimism, emphasizing the need for vendors to assist and guide customers throughout the decision-making process.

By understanding individual buyer needs, fostering consensus, and setting realistic expectations, vendors can work towards ensuring high-quality, disciplined decisions that deliver tangible and measurable outcomes. Focusing on realistic outcomes and measuring realized value can help to improve sentiment across the team.

Proactively addressing these regret trends is essential for vendors to overcome the buyer pessimism pandemic and thrive in an increasingly scrutinized marketplace.

The Continued Decline of High Quality Deals –

The Pessimism Problem Continues to Grow –

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