Studies we’ve looked at actually show that between 60-80% of consumers in general (not specifically technology solution buyers) spend on average one to two hours of online research before making a big purchase. In our informal surveys of our customers we find that to be accurate in regards to IT personnel who are making a costly technology solution. In fact, we would say that the number of hours spent in research is considerably more than two hours.
So how does that connect with bad habit of buying the first thing a buyer sees? After the initial research is done, we estimate that 70-80% of the buyers we talk to have made up their mind after doing their initial research and engage with only the vendor of the one solution they’ve decided on in their research.
So why is this bad? From our experience, the IT buyers that are most successful and happy with the solutions they’ve acquired do the majority of their decision making after the initial research period. They spend three to four times the amount of time they spent in initial research doing multiple demos, asking detailed questions of multiple vendors, and strategically narrowing down their selection pool.
Our experience also shows that the overwhelming majority of our customers that have had a bad or really bad experience with a technology solution talked to only one vendor and did not review in depth any other solutions than the one they bought.
Why does this happen? By and large it is due to the amount of time it takes to thoroughly research multiple solutions and find the best one. We have also found that many buyers are focused on minimizing the time spent on acquiring a new technology due to the demands of other responsibilities required of the job they have.
These pressures often influence the research process in ways that do not always produce the best possible outcomes. Many times we’ve found that our customers relied heavily on social proofs, “trusted” brand names, and analyst reports with the intent of validating their decision in case there is a problem down the road. Relying on such a strategy deters the focus of the selection process from identifying what is really needed and ensuring the solution selected actually delivers. Remember, the best way to keep your job and get promoted is to do it as well as you can, not to have all the right excuses or places to point fingers when things go wrong.