How A Company Planning An Enterprise Tech Purchase Can Avoid Bias

By Chris Heard, Olive CEO and co-founder

“As-a-service” models show 60% of buyers experience remorse after finalizing agreements, and over 60% of SMBs have suffered buyer’s remorse over tech purchases in the past 12 to 18 months. One factor contributing to this regret? Bias.

Bias is unavoidable, creeping into enterprise tech purchases at potentially any stage during the process — from identifying needs to choosing a vendor — leading to costly mistakes, missed opportunities or buyer’s remorse. 

In a rapidly evolving tech landscape, decision-makers like CIOs, CTOs and IT or Ops departments must avoid bias in their enterprise tech purchases to make the best choice for their companies and customers. Key to removing bias from software buying? Collaborative, transparent decision-making informed by facts, not opinions or underlying motivations for compensation.

What causes buyer’s remorse?

Over half (56%) of organizations experience a high degree of buyer’s remorse over large tech purchases. It takes time — often months — to conduct a thorough software evaluation process, gather requirements, evaluate solutions, gain buy-in and obtain approvals, which costs time and slows growth, so many companies avoid the process and instead seek recommendations from external sources like G2 and Gartner. 

Vendors pay to participate in these marketplaces. For example, one software company pays a fee to link their Gartner profile to their website or be included on a top 10 software for X purpose list. So while these recommendation lists are a helpful starting point, there’s also bias baked into the starting point of just understanding which vendors are out there and how companies begin their sourcing journey — especially since companies seeking software don’t always understand the level of advertising on these marketplaces.

Buyer’s remorse happens far too frequently with expensive tech purchases. Nearly 70% of people buying technology aren’t in IT — and IT often doesn’t truly understand the businesses’ needs, which exacerbates the problem. Companies fail to define their needs and choose adequate solutions. Businesses all too often are disappointed in or surprised by:

  • Inadequate support services.
  • Higher than expected costs.
  • An inability to prove positive ROI.
  • Challenges with implementation because they didn’t invest enough time or budget in the onboarding or training process.
  • Buggy or slow tech that didn’t live up to its hype.

Sometimes, the tech isn’t as user-friendly as initially thought. According to PwC, 90% of the C-suite believes its company understands employees’ needs, but only 53% of the staff agree. Employees expect tools designed to help them do their best work. 

Another sticking point happens when tech isn’t as collaborative as employees would like. A Harvard Business Review study found that nearly 60% of employees felt their current collaboration tools weren’t aligned with their team’s workflow. Almost 65% said the tools lacked integrative capabilities with organizational processes like finance, marketing or sales software. And 72% said these collaborative tools weren’t compatible cross-departmentally, creating challenges for working across teams.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid these and other issues.

Define your needs and requirements

An almost failsafe way to avoid bias (and thus steer clear of buyer’s remorse) when you’re ready to purchase enterprise tech is to clearly define your needs and requirements before you start to shop around.

This strategy helps you stay focused and avoid making decisions influenced by emotional factors and personal preferences. It’s like the advice to never go shopping when you’re hungry or stressed — or you’ll end up with all of Aisle 7’s junk food in your shopping cart and none of the fruits and veggies from the produce aisle.

Imagine that it’s time to shop for a new car. You probably won’t visit the dealerships without creating your list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. If you’re upgrading to a larger vehicle, you might require blind spot detection. If you lack off-street parking, a backup camera and rear parking sensors are a must. When you shop with your list, you’re less likely to forget what you need or become swayed by a salesperson’s attempt to lure you into a car that doesn’t fit your needs. 

Now imagine taking a similar approach to purchasing software that may or may not fit your company’s needs — in other words, shopping without a list. That’s likely not the best strategy for buying software, either. 

A 2022 Salesforce Report found that 68% of B2B buyers require brands to understand their personal needs and wants before making a buying decision. When you’re searching for best-fit software, creating and shopping from a list leaves less up to chance and increases the likelihood you’ll get what you need — without adding extra (and more expensive) fluff to your “cart” or having to cobble a makeshift solution because you forgot necessary components.

Car dealerships have consumer psychology all figured out, from salespeople creating a sense of urgency with “best deal” emphasis or adding a giant bow to make it feel like you’ve got the biggest, best gift ever. When you’re buying a car, you don’t want to fall for the common manipulation of a conversation shifting from the overall large (and terrifying) price to what you’re comfortable paying monthly — or seeing add-ons for oil changes, inspections or other high margin items added “for free” instead of the dealership lowering the actual price, right? 

The same is true for buying software. It’s easy to gravitate toward the latest, greatest, shiniest and new-and-improved products. But how much of that hype is legit versus the result of a slick sales presentation?

Identify — and avoid — biases

When you’re aware of biases like bandwagon and blind spots, they’re easier to avoid as you’re looking for the right software vendor.

Involving a diverse group of stakeholders in the evaluation process helps to avoid bias. This diversity invites different perspectives and helps companies avoid making a decision based on one person’s point of view or experience. Historically, companies with more diverse leadership teams tend to make better decisions because these teams offer a greater depth of perspective and experience and a wider range of skill sets.

Hype can create unrealistic expectations — and encourage overinvesting in unneeded tech. Stakeholder input helps avoid bias, as everyone’s input increases the likelihood that the final decision will align with the organization’s overall goals.

Using objective criteria to evaluate and assess technology vendors ensures you get an accurate picture to make the right decision. You can create multiple categories for each criteria group, like functional, pricing or commercial terms; services and support; and technical and vendor health.

Just as taking inventory of your car-buying needs keeps you from falling for the “we’ll throw this expensive high-margin item in for free” (but not lower the price) tactic, assessing your business needs and calling on your team for input and guidance helps avoid bias and keeps you on budget — an important consideration for tech and grocery purchases. 

Chris Heard

Olive CEO and co-founder Chris Heard started his entrepreneurial journey in England when he launched a portable cocktail bartending service, “Bars in Action.” In 2009, after working briefly in insurance sales, Chris moved to Vancouver and helped to grow local startup Mobify where he worked first as the head of business development and then as Sr. account executive. He later joined several other tech companies including Yottaa and Fuze as a sales director. In 2018, he co-founded Olive Technologies with a mission to provide enterprises with a faster, more efficient, less biased strategy for buying and adopting the right technology for their business needs.

error: Content is protected !!
Exit mobile version