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Who is Responsible for Expectations

By Hank Barnes | October 04, 2022 | 0 Comments

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As I review and refresh (light refresh for those who attended #GartnerTGI) the content for my upcoming webinar (tomorrow 10/5 at 11am Eastern), I started thinking a bit more about expectations.

Core to our approach to characterizing levels of regret, or high quality deals, is the idea of expectations being met.  As I think about this more, expectations, at least realistic expectations are all about planning.  Let me use my recent trip to Ireland as an example.

My wife and I go to Ireland quite a bit, but this was  a trip targeting mostly new areas that we had not visited.  It was an opportunity to see new places and spend times with friends we had met virtually or earlier in the year.

It was a fantastic trip–probably our best vacation ever, but there was one part of it that fell into the “you get what you give” category.   As we were going from place to place, I decided that we would spend a night in Shannon, where one of Ireland’s airports is located.  It was on the way to where we were going and I figured that must be things to do there without any further research.

When we got to our hotel, we learned there is not much there. Shannon (at least where we were) was more of a suburb than a small town.  Not much to explore.   My expectations had not been met.  (To be fair, we did have quite an interesting experience in Shannon, but that is a story for a different time and place.)

But then  i thought about it–I had no solid foundation for any expectations.  I had not put in the work to do in any research or planning.   My expectations can’t even be characterized as unrealistic as their was no basis for them at all.

With that in mind, as I look at our buying research I see much of the same thing.  Despite the time and effort that goes into enterprise buying decisions, the majority of buyers whose expectations have not been met have not put in the work to have a basis for their expectations.  They do less work up front, they engage with vendors on a superficial level, and they consume less content.

Then, they discover things aren’t what they expect.  They may be surprised, but shouldn’t be, by surprises they discover after they buy.  They scale back, need more resources, and often struggle with user adoption.

For all the talk of vendors and sales teams making promises that are not steeped in reality, the bigger problem is that buying teams don’t do the work to truly understand and learn.  If they did, expectation mismatches would be less of a problem.  And, quite frankly, they would be prepared in investigate any vendor claims that feel a bit squishy.

As vendors, we need to help buyers help themselves to put them, and you, on a better path to value and success.  Expectations without preparation are a roll of the dice.   Why not play a different game built on preparation and collaboration.  Join me for the Webinar for some suggestions on how to do that.



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