It's easy to take a statistic and manipulate go-to-market approaches. For example, in one of our recent studies, we discovered that:
43% of Buyers Feel Strongly That Volume of Information Overwhelming
If we promoted that statistic aggressively, the followup would be a call to vendors to reduce the amount of information they share, providing less details and making their customers more comfortable with the amount of information shared.
That could be a big mistake.
By breaking down that number, and looking at the data by a behavioral data cut, using our Enterprise Technology Adoption Profiles (see quick refresher on ETAs at the end of this post), presents a very different picture.
[caption id="attachment_2655" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Source: Gartner, Inc.[/caption]
With this view, we see that respondents views are different, based on how their organizations think about technology. Here, we see that respondents from organizations that fall into the SCD (Strict, Collaborative, Dynamic), SIR (Strict, IT-led, Responsive), and FID (Flexible, IT-Led, Dynamic) have a much lower percentage of respondents who struggle with information overload. In fact, when combined with other data, we see that they crave information. They want the details; they want to understand keys to successful implementation; they want checklists; and more.
On the other hand, respondents from orgs with other profiles drove up the percentages. These are the folks that feel overwhelmed (I suspect some of it is that they don't want to "put in the work" to make an effective choice--either because they feel the rest of the organization will not care about their effort or because they don't think it is important).
This really becomes apparent when looking at the % of High Quality Deals that occurred in these same groupings:
[caption id="attachment_2656" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Source: Gartner, Inc.[/caption]
Basically, as feelings of being overwhelmed by information grew more likely, the likelihood of a high quality deal diminished.
This drives a few recommendations:
Don't design your information strategy to appeal to the mediocre. Provide rich, deep information that is clear in it's purpose in helping customers buy (not a call to overload with useless information).
If you discover prospects that are information averse, treat is as a warning signal (or an ETA signal)--they may be need more help AND it could point to a risky engagement
Good information is valuable. Understanding the desire and comfort that buying team members have with information may be even more valuable.
A quick reminder on Enterprise Technology Adoption profiles. ETAs are clusters of organizations that Gartner assigns based on the psychographics of the organization that respondents work for. We ask seven questions that determine the profile alignment on three dimensions:
Planning: Do they approach technology planning strictly (have a long term vision and evaluate all purchases against it) to flexible (adjust plans when opportunities arise) or in between (accommodating)
Control: Where does the power over the technology agenda sit: with the business (Business-Led), IT (IT-Led), or Cooperative.
Pace of Change: How fast do the respond to events and innovations. Are they dynamic, fast movers or measured, wait and see. The in between value is responsive.
We name the groups based on the first initial of each attribute. Consistently, we see more clear insights into buying behavior using ETAs than any other segmentation method.