Part of the Good Relations way is to measure what some might say is immeasurable. Last year, we partnered with our sister market research agency, Chime Insight and Engagement, to measure the “power of good” in the consumer world, revealing what consumers are looking for from their hero brands. We discovered that “good” is comprised of three dimensions: our “TripleG”.
- Good actions – doing the right thing, even when no one is looking
- Good recommendations – inspiring active and positive advocacy
- Good engagement – building emotional affinity and lasting relationships with customers
This year, we turned our attentions to the B2B tech world as well, and decided to look at just how many investment decisions made by the C-suite are based solely on solid, rational factors – price, features, benefits etc. They are, after all, innately tangible and easy to grasp and compare. If product X is £15k cheaper than product Y and achieves ROI within the same time frame, the buying decision becomes little more than a tick-box exercise. Doesn’t it?
Our survey of 175 FTSE500 CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, CMOs and COOs suggested that the truth is a little more complicated than that. In fact, when tested it became clear that the softer, more emotional dimensions of “good” – represented by good action, recommendation and engagement – have an equally important role to play. No less than 64% of sales are driven by these softer factors and an equal percentage are driven by hard factors. While they might not appear in cost-benefit analyses or be found scrawled on procurement forms, intangible factors are no less vital in terms of informing what technology gets bought and what doesn’t.
Broadly, our three dimensions of good contribute to three key insights about how B2B organisations actually buy technology:
- Buyers value brand above all. Brand isn’t a secondary consideration or hygiene factor; it is the single most important driver behind technology purchasing. 73% of sales are influenced by brand.
- Vendors need to do more than talk a good CSR game. The days of CSR as just a thought-leadership tool or point of differentiation are dead. 75% of buyers today want tech vendors to solve wider issues across the sector and offer to help their customers in tackling their own ethics and responsibility issues.
- Fudged comms will get you fired. Vendors caught using falsified customer references are no better than those using child labour. According to our respondents, 89% of vendors would be fired for these offences. And covering up and incident is worse than delivering late and over budget.
Our conclusion is that hard factors can often be easily matched; but it’s the softer factors that can help technology suppliers stand out, building ties that endure.
The full report, The DNA of a Good Technology Company, can be downloaded from the Good Relations Group website and contains further insight around the data.
You can also join the conversation on Twitter, by exploring #TripleG.