SaaS Marketers Lack Visibility Into B2B Software Buying Journey, Gartner Digital Markets Reports
Software companies must adapt to changing buyer behavior to capture market demand — here are five trends they need to know.
Businesses are investing in digital transformation to drive operational efficiencies in 2023. According to Gartner Digital Markets research, nearly 70% of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) plan to spend more than last year on software. But to capture rising demand, software companies have to adapt to changes in buyer behavior and preferences.
“Businesses are making faster purchase decisions and evaluating more providers than ever before”
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Gartner Digital Markets, the world’s largest software and services marketplace, has identified five key trends software companies need to know at every stage of the buying journey:
- Awareness: Improving productivity is the top motivation for software purchase.
This year, for 37% of business leaders, boosting productivity is the main reason for buying new software. Outgrowing their current technology (32%) and concerns about security and cyberattacks (30%) are the next top reasons.
- Consideration: Customer reviews are used the most to shortlist software.
User reviews and ratings play a critical role in shaping the software purchase decisions of 41% of SMBs. Businesses consider customer reviews an unbiased source of insight into software quality and use them to back up the information they gather from general research. Customer reviews (49%) are trusted as much as recommendations from peers or colleagues (50%) but have more influence than recommendations from industry influencers (37%).
- Evaluation: Buyers care most about ease of use, security, features and flexibility.
Ease of use (34%) and security (32%) are the top factors buyers consider when shortlisting software, followed by product features and functionalities (31%). Personalization is also key – 54% of SMBs who bought software in the past 12 months opted for custom solutions versus off-the-shelf products.
- Decision: Pricing mismatch and steep learning curve are the top purchase barriers.
On average, buyers typically consider five different software providers before landing on their final choice. Mismatch in price expectations is the top reason buyers drop a software provider from their shortlist. This is closely followed by ambiguous or contradictory information from software providers and low-quality sales presentations or pitches. Nearly half of SMBs (45%) also say that a steep learning curve or downtime is their biggest worry when it comes to adopting new technology.
- Purchase and onboarding: Communication and training are critical after software purchases.
During onboarding, an uninterrupted flow of helpful communication is critical for buyers to extract full value from a solution. Nearly half of SMBs (47%) use support features such as chat and email to maintain seamless interaction with software providers after a purchase. How a buyer is treated during this period creates a lasting impression on their perception of a software provider’s services.
“Businesses are making faster purchase decisions and evaluating more providers than ever before,” says Caroline Hogan, Senior Director, Vendor Marketing, Gartner Digital Markets. “With less time to convert potential customers, software providers need to better understand shifting buyer habits that can help them close the deal.”
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