As I mentioned before, one of the newer studies we conducted this year focused not on traditional B2B decision makers (or at least folks in roles we would expect to be decision makers–manager or higher), but on users (no manager or higher titles allowed). The research points to the growing democratization of IT, and the distribution of power and influence that comes with it. My colleagues who led the study, Craig Roth and Jeff Chamberlain, will be conducting a free webinar covering some of the results on September 27th at 11am EDT titled, 3 Ways Users Influence a Continuous Software Evaluation Cycle. You can register here.
Let me whet your appetite with a peek into some of the story.
As we looked at this study, we worked to understand how workers might influence their peers and their networks, both directly and indirectly. One of the ways we looked at that was to ask users if they have reviewed software they used at work on social channels. Make no mistake, this was a small % of the users, but an influential group, as you will see. Our study included almost 5,000 users. 14% of them had shared either a positive or negative review on social channels. Of this group, 52% shared a positive review; 33% a negative review, and 15% shared both types.
Where it gets interesting is when you look at the way these users obtained new software in the past 12 months. This was a bit smaller portion of our overall group, with just over 4200 users obtaining new software for work in some way. The options ranged from providing by IT, a variety of ways for them, or their team, to buy software, or leveraging free offers for vendors. Here the story is quite clear as the figure below shows.
The social reviewers are much more likely to pursue their own paths rather than wait for IT to provide them with the software they want and need.
This is a message to vendors. For those pursuing product-led growth strategies, clearly social users are a key target. For those who have already been endorsed by IT, culling review sites for negative and positive reviews could provide a warning signal as you work to grow and retain business.
The view I am sharing here looks at one factor. One of the most interesting elements of our analysis of the data reveals a collection of user clusters that reveal patterns of behavior that can shape strategies for vendors that embrace the idea that users can be a critical part of their growth strategies–or a key risk factor.
Jeff, Craig and others are working on much more insights to share with clients, but the webinar is a great way to learn more. Again, if interested, you can register here.
The democratization of IT is accelerating the shifts in B2B buyer behavior. Old strategies may not work and new strategies are definitely needed. This is just one way we are exploring these trends. Continuing to dive deeper will be a focal point for our research in the coming months and in 2022. It is important to understand and adapt. If you haven’t engaged with us, this webinar is an interesting starting point.