Recently, ESG completed a research study of Corporate Knowledge workers from small, medium and enterprise companies across North America. One of the key findings of the research was the changes in how applications are purchased by end-users, and the tremendous impact this will have on the way vendors and their partners sell to that new class of buyer. Note: More than 40% of our respondents are now either influencers or decision makers!
- Knowledge workers have become more influential in software purchases. While not yet in the majority, knowledge workers are clearly becoming more involved in purchasing business applications with 23% of respondents reporting that they influence software purchases, 11% saying they sign-off on purchases, and 9% representing themselves as the sole decision makers.
For technology vendors and their sales channels, this change in attitude toward software purchases represents a seismic shift in IT buying, and presents a challenge to ISV’s, hardware manufacturers (like HP, Dell, EMC, and NetApp), and all of their channel partners. As decisions shift to a new class of purchaser, sellers will need to adjust their marketing, sales, and services processes to connect with and convince a different, less-technical buyer who is more accustomed to purchasing consumer software than business applications.
The challenges for channel professionals include:
- What can the vendor community do to better train and enable their partners to evolve their approach, as buying patterns continue to change?
- Which partners will invest in developing their team’s ability (and comfort) to sell solutions (HW, SW and services), and be able to tell that story to the right audience?
Not all sales channels are created equal, and some will be able to adapt to selling into the Line of Buisiness better than others. It will be interesting to watch over the course of the next couple of years which parts of the channel makes the changes necessary to thrive.