Buyer’s remorse haunts 3 in 5 business software purchases

Three in every five software purchases are regretted by IT departments for a variety of reasons, including unforeseen costs.

This is according to research involving 3,400 software procurement heads at 3,400 international businesses, conducted by market researchers at data cruncher and consulting house Gartner.

Some 60 percent voiced buyer’s remorse following the purchase of software, with a third saying they were “blindsided” by “unforeseen costs,” and 32 percent calling out unexpected “complex implementation procedures.”

“Software buying isn’t just a transaction; it’s a choice aligning with business objectives,” said Thibaut de Lataillade, Gartner global vice president of product. “The large number of buyers rethinking their software decisions indicates a market gap.”

Almost a quarter of buyers (24 percent) said they cancelled their contract after wishing they hadn’t signed, and a third switched to a different software vendor, the research shows.

Quick vendor responses to customers with issues and better implementation support could have mitigated regret for nearly half of the software buyers, Gartner reckons.

Mitigating regret before it “becomes churn” is the advice to software companies, but given the Byzantine licensing arrangements, it is perhaps not surprising that some feel overwhelmed. A whole community of software asset managers sprang up to deal with the complexities, in theory charging customers more money in the hope they can pinch licensing overheads.

Software makers could “build credibility with verified reviews,” as well as work harder to identify the first signs of buyer regret during the sales motion, and ensure better post-sales comms are prioritized.

Or perhaps the software company salespeople could focus less on their quarterly targets and more on selling solutions that genuinely address the needs of end customers, which does not lead to feelings of contrition.

“SaaS companies aren’t just selling a product, they’re selling a customer experience,” Gartner told us.

Procurement leaders in organizations last year talked about regrets when buying other big ticket tech items – some 56 percent of 1,120 execs in North America, Western Europe, and Asia Pacific said they’d had that sinking feeling post-purchase.

Whether that could be blamed on salespeople overselling tech or buyers being poorly informed is open for discussion, and there is likely a consulting house beginning with G that would entertain those talks. The question is, then, whether the purchase of those services would itself lead to regret.

Got any horror stories to share? Send the author an email or let everyone know in the comments section below. ®


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