A survey by Gartner has found that 60% of technology buyers involved in decisions to renew or expand “as-a-service” agreements regret nearly every purchase they make, a 6% increase from 2020.

These feelings of regret are largely driven by the challenges of buying technology with distributed buying teams and funding.

“Regret is a known issue with enterprise technology purchase decisions,” says Hank Barnes, distinguished vice-president analyst at Gartner. “The issue is significant enough that it raises the question of whether business to business (B2B) technology buyers have negative attitudes toward purchases by default.”

Gartner conducted the survey from February through March 2023 among 1 503 respondents from organisations with an annual revenue of at least $50-million or equivalent from Western Europe, North America and Asia/Pacific to understand the behaviour of B2B buyers on how they approach decisions to renew or expand technology subscription agreements.

The survey found that technology buyers’ negative attitudes are shaped by frustrating buying experiences, poor communication and an overwhelming number of options to consider. These issues create challenges, such as longer buying cycles and conflicting objectives within the team, when pursuing expansion opportunities.

Despite these challenges, the survey found technology buyers would prefer to have minimal interactions with sales teams. Ninety-five percent of technology buyers indicated they would have preferred a fully digital/online experience for their expansion purchase.

“Pessimism and regret continue to grow for enterprise technology buyers,” says Barnes. “This usually has little to do with the provider or the products themselves, but rather is driven by ineffective or dysfunctional behaviors within the buying team.”

Product leaders could take these three actions when negotiating a deal expansion:

  1. Enable customer-facing teams to identify accounts displaying behaviours associated with regret. These teams should be on the lookout for technology buyers wanting to revisit decisions in the buying process, buying team conflict and lack of awareness of the steps required to complete the purchase.
  2. Expand buyer enablement content to build buying confidence. Guide buyers on the jobs that help reduce conflict and delays in the decision process.
  3. Expand the number of activities that can be done digitally. Two examples of this include introducing digital checklists that guide buyers through an effective process and offering a shared workspace where teams can review objectives and help build business cases.

“The pessimism problems are something that providers and their customers need to work together to address,” says Barnes. “This will have a positive long-term impact for product leaders, their customers and the market.”