Thoughts on the Cautious Buyer

  • 13 Jul 2023

Momentum ITSMA Staff

Data from Momentum ITSMA’s shows that buyers have a cautious outlook – and it’s impacting how they view vendor relationships. Robert Hollier, Partner, Momentum ITSMA, gave a preview of the findings from our Client Buying Index (CBX) survey that reveals the changing behavior of senior decision makers and how sales and marketers should respond. We’ve picked out a two of our favorite stats that affect how marketers proceed with their ABM engagements.

Clients crave collaboration

The CBX shows a clear uptick in demand for collaboration, rising from 72% in 2021 to 86% in 2023. We also know that collaboration counts from the very beginning of an engagement through to post-purchase and implementation.

One opportunity for collaboration that the survey interrogated was the concept of executive briefing centers (EBCs). An EBC is a dedicated space where clients can explore trends, challenges, solutions, and services with a vendor’s senior leaders and subject matter experts. Since CBX Wave 1 launched, clients have told us that EBCs are becoming a focus precisely because these kinds of engagements have yielded real results. But, while marketing has a role in shaping the agenda for these sessions – and it’s a crucial role – their involvement in this collaborative process stops there.

So, the challenge for marketers is understanding how they can assist the collaborative process when designing solutions and engaging first-hand with customers sits with sales and product specialists. It could be a case of building a collaborative message into the value proposition and using your insight to understand where collaboration – for example, input from your subject matter experts – would be most valuable to your client in the buying journey.

ESG will become a tipping point

Over a third of respondents said a company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials were a deciding factor for which solution providers were included on their shortlist. However, what we need to explore in more detail is whether the three components of ESG are valued in equal measure or if one aspect is more heavily weighted.

For instance, would a vendor that pledged to become net-zero by 2030 more likely win business than a company that pledged to have gender pay parity by 2025? Indeed, to what extent are buyers paying lip service to the importance of ESG? We’re all familiar with greenwashing, but could we be seeing a social-desirability bias – where respondents answer questions to be viewed favorably by others – in surveys that ask ESG-related questions?

Marketing teams aren’t responsible for setting an organization’s ESG targets (though they are of course responsible for helping to achieve them). But what marketing can do is align their organization’s own ESG values with those of their client’s to emphasize the partnership and mutual goals. An important question to answer is, how does working with us help our client achieve its ESG targets? So, instead of focusing on the fact that your technology hardware is made from recycled plastic and eco-friendly production processes, focus on the ways that, by working with your organization, company X will cut its emissions by 25%, for example.

You can view the full survey results by becoming a Momentum ITSMA Community member. Your membership will give you access exclusive events, reports, discussions, and networking opportunities. Learn more here.

The latest Client Buying Index research shows buyers are sceptical and treading carefully. What does that mean for marketers?

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Momentum ITSMA Staff