At their core, all technology firms want the same things: to attract more buyers and convert more leads to sales. Unfortunately, though common, neither of those two goals are as simple as they sound.

In order to better connect with their buyers, technology firms need to first know how those buyers want to be approached. Yet, when Hinge conducted research on the behaviors of both buyers and sellers of technology services firms, we found a significant disconnect between the seller’s perception and the buyer’s reality.

When asked what was the best way to market to them, buyers of technology services responses were split evenly between two approaches:

  1. Develop a personal relationship
  2. Discuss our issues and offer solutions

Yet, for either strategy to succeed, sellers must already be highlighting what buyers are looking for—otherwise there will be no opportunity to develop the relationship or demonstrate further knowledge of the issues at hand. Without knowing what buyers find most important, firms can’t deliver the right messages to bring them in.

To better understand how buyers are selecting technology firms, we divided buyer tendencies into three categories and used our research to compare seller expectations with reality.

First, some quick background on the research methodology: we interviewed a total of 274 buyers and sellers of technology services, with a breakdown of 59 percent sellers and 41 percent buyers. This sample was part of a larger study (822 buyers and 533 sellers) that looked at professional services buyers and sellers as a whole and covered four other industry groups.

So, how are technology buyers selecting technology firms?

3 Key Insights into How Buyers Choose a Technology Services Firm

The Selection Criteria

As previously mentioned, we found a significant disconnect between what sellers perceive and what is actually true when it comes to buyer behavior. This was abundantly clear in the case of selection criteria.

Both buyers and sellers were asked to rank their top 10 selection criteria and the results showed that firms are grossly overestimating the importance of cost as a primary selection criterion. While only eight percent of buyers listed cost in their top 10, 54 percent of sellers believed it to be a key factor.

Instead, buyers are looking first at skills and level of expertise (47 percent) and reputation (33 percent). Sellers also put a high premium on reputation—it was the top response at 60 percent—but still perceived it to be significantly more important than it was to buyers.

What Buyers Are Trying to Avoid

To turn the question around, we also asked buyers what they were trying to avoid and asked sellers what they thought their buyers were trying to avoid. Again, sellers put the biggest emphasis on cost, ranking “overpaying” as their top response. Buyers, however, were more concerned with a poor quality of work, though cost overruns were a close second.

What Tips the Scale

For buyers, the deciding factor in the ultimate selection of a technology services firm is the presence of an existing relationship, with 30 percent of respondents indicating that it makes a difference. Sellers believed that having better expertise or a specialization was more likely to tip the scale in their favor—and only nine percent of respondents selected an existing relationship as the final determinant.

All of this research adds up to a few important conclusions. First and foremost, buyers want to be understood. If sellers can’t message to buyers in a way that resonates with their interests, concerns, and issues, then sellers are far more likely to lose out on a potential client. This suggests that even though sellers have key messages they want to get across, they can’t forget the importance of forming relationships with buyers based on their concerns.

Here’s the bottom line: if your technology services firms wants to attract more clients, it’s time to start thinking about what buyers really want.

To learn more about how buyers buy technology services, download our free guide here.