IT Buyers Search for the Truth and Come Up Empty Handed

Sara Gates

We’ve asked Sara Gates, a respected leader in the information security world who is well known for helping companies move from early to mainstream markets, to be a guest contributor for the Attain Marketing blog. Sara’s expertise in strategy and product management – combined with a “get it done” attitude and practical approach to solving ITs most critical and timely challenges – brings a fresh perspective on B2B marketing that we hope will benefit all of our readers.

I have had the chance lately to speak with a number of mid and large size companies’ IT Buyers about their buying process. I found the following: IT buyers do not trust vendors. At all. Not one little bit. I should mention that I have been a vendor for over 10 years so hearing this has been a bitter pill.

These buyers seem to have become accustomed to this lack of trust. One Director of IT at a Fortune 500 company said, “trying to figure out which vendor is lying to you the least is tough” (ironically he is with a technology company). His sentiment is shared across a majority of people surveyed. In fact, over 90% of those surveyed indicated that they no longer trust their technology vendors.

They have a heck of a time getting to the truth on simple questions such as:

  • What does the product actually do and not do?
  • How much is this product going to cost me to deploy?
  • How much is this product going to cost me over the next few years (i.e., not just license cost)?
  • Are there special skills needed to deploy and run this product?

As these questions indicate, the lack of trust stems from a lack of transparency into the vendors’ products and services.

I have to ask: What are we vendors so afraid of? What would it hurt if the answers to these questions were available? What would the cost of transparency be? What would the joy of transparency be? I can’t help but wonder if there is a different, more transparent, way.

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