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Prior Experience May Not Be An Indicator of Purchase Satisfaction

By Hank Barnes | January 18, 2022 | 0 Comments

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We are diving into the data from our latest study and there are quite a few stories to tell.  One of the most interesting ones, that is hard to figure out exactly what to do to address it, is the question of prior experience.  The study focused on the biggest purchase that respondents were involved in over the past 24 months.   We had them characterize that purchase as a new purchase (buying something in a category for the first time), a replacement, or an expansion.

For new purchases, we decided to test to see if prior experience with the product or service by a member (or members) of the buying team would lead to more high quality deals.   Our hypothesis was that is should.  The answer—not really.

We had a little over 600 respondents who had made a new purchase.  Of those, 46% had members who had used the product or service at a prior company, 22% had used it in another department, and 15% had no one on the team with familiarity.

But the HQD deal results were surprising.   HQDs were most differentiated from non-HQDs when the buying team had no prior experience.  Prior experience at another company had the opposite effect–it was more likely to lead to some levels of discontent.   Use in another department was more good than bad.

The overall results were surprising, but I think it points out the story we will be digging into over the coming months.

The challenge in buying is not the issues of the product and product experience.  Let’s face it, most products that make it to market can generate value.  Most services do too.

The issue is decision making.    We  need to get better at making decisions in a collaborative environment.   And this study really highlight that the issues of decision making are not getting any better.

With that backdrop, I look at this data as potentially someone with prior experience at another company pushing for a product, but not connecting their experience to the value scenario their new company wants to explore.  This likely contributes to the angst we are observing.

As we have been saying for a while, the issue is not about confidence in the products and services, its confidence in the decision approach.  There is more work to be done.

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