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Key Factors in Technology Purchase Decisions – Insights from Peer Insights

by Hank Barnes  |  May 3, 2016  |  Submit a Comment

Last year, Gartner introduced Peer Insights, a moderated user review site that enables buyers to provide detailed assessments of the technology products they have purchased.  The moderation aspect is all about ensuring that the reviews are done by actual users that don’t have a vested interest in the products (e.g. vendors can’t review their own products–even if they use the product themselves).  These reviews are useful to both prospective customers and to vendors themselves (to get buyer perspectives on their products and the competition.

Recently, with reviews spanning from March 2015 to April 2016, some folks on the Peer Insights team did some data aggregation for me.  I’m going to present some of those findings (specifically on what buyers say they would do differently if they could start their project over and what vendors could do differently) as part of my “Trust Drives the Buying Process” breakout session at the Gartner Tech Growth and Innovation Conference (June 6-8 at LA Live).  But I also wanted to share some of the other findings here.

check boxes

One of the questions we ask buyers is what are the key factors in their decision.   In aggregating over 2000 responses, here at the top 11.  As a note, buyers could identify multiple factors and we do not ask “the single most important factor.”

  1. Product Functionality and Performance (51%) – Clearly in tech, you have to meet requirements and needs–no surprise here.
  2. Overall Cost (41%) – Again no surprise, budgets exist.
  3. Product Roadmap and Future Vision (34%) – Fairly high, but again, logical–buyers don’t want a dead end road.
  4. Pre-existing Relationships (29%) – This one is interesting, and relates closely to our findings on trust and differentiation.
  5. Strong Services Expertise (22%) – Buyers want to be confident that the implementation will succeed, services play a big part.  Do you, providers, tell an effective services story?
  6. Breadth of Services (18%) – Close companion to #5, together they would move to the top 3.
  7. Strong Customer Focus (17%) – A logical factor, does this shine through as authentic and a corporate value, or do you make empty claims of customer focus?
  8. Strong User Community (14%) – This might be an underutilized asset.   Buyers want to talk to each other.   Communities help make that happen.
  9. Financial/Organizational Viability (12%) – Another logical choice.
  10. Strong consulting partnership (11%) – This links to the services story, but is looking for third parties that can help drive success.
  11. Ease of Use (10%) – A bit of a functional concern, but a factor as buyers think about adoption considerations.

This list highlights that there are some fundamental, core requirements that are required to “play”—costs have to be within budget ranges and the product needs to meet functional requirements.

But beyond these, many of the other factors are all about how you surround the product (think whole product) and are more subjective.   To establish the value of these areas, you’ll need both customer stories and other forms of validation–and then need to prove it on delivery.

This is just one example of insights that can come from leveraging the wealth of information that can be discovered from Gartner Peer Insights (and other review sites for that matter).   It’s out there.  Now it is up to you, the provider, to use it.

Category: go-to-market  

Tags: customer-experience  peer-insights  user-reviews  

Hank Barnes
VP Distinguished Analyst
5+ years at Gartner
30 years IT Industry

Hank Barnes provides research and advisory services on go-to-market strategies for technology providers. He focuses on issues related to positioning, storytelling, the technology customer life cycle, and customer experience. Read Full Bio




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