IT Buyer and Seller Misalignment Elongates Sales Process, Results in Lost Sales, Says IDC

FRAMINGHAM, MA – MAY 16, 2007 – In a new, groundbreaking study, IDC examines the good and the bad in corporate information technology (IT) sales engagements by providing a detailed look into the relationships between corporate IT buyers and suppliers. Overall, the study finds significant room for improvement.

"Sales costs continue to rise, yet IT vendors remain focused on transaction-oriented practices designed to drive revenue, and the gulf between the buyer and seller continues to widen," stated Lee Levitt, director, IDC Sales Executive Practice. "The IT industry as a whole has matured significantly over the past few years, but vendors' sales strategies have not kept pace. While buyers express interest in a deeper relationship with their suppliers that includes increasing the pace of collaborative innovation, IT vendors continue to spend too much time in traditional sales team education and management processes."

The impact of these practices are significant. Sales cycles are growing longer and purchase amounts are lower. More importantly, buyers and sellers are cheated out of the opportunity to focus on value creation and true innovation, thus negatively affecting shareholder value for both sets of players within the complex selling relationship.

Highlights from the study include the following:

— A majority of respondents state they tend to do more business and work better with those companies aligned with their buying processes.

— IT buyers suffer from "feature fatigue." Additionally, business pressures have forced them to focus on solving business issues and driving growth; therefore they expect IT vendors to be able to speak to these concerns.

— Respondents appreciate vendors that bring the right resources to the table in order to answer their product-related questions, as well as questions related to specific industry issues or regulations.

— Apart from product and pricing differentiators, a sales team's performance has a significant impact on IT buyers' purchasing decisions.

The IDC study, An Intensive Look at Corporate IT Buyer Requirements: Selling is Dead. It's All About Relationship Management Now! (IDC #206428) details the key areas of misalignment between corporate IT buyers and suppliers. The study provides insights on the sales resources and approaches that prove most effective throughout the IT sales process. Global account management techniques, as well as individual IT purchasing experiences are also highlighted. The study concludes with a presentation of a new sales model designed to maximize the alignment between buyer and seller and optimize the productivity of vendor account teams. The findings presented within the study are based upon information collected from surveys and interviews with 25 large, corporate IT buyers as well as senior sales leadership at 40 hardware, software, IT services, and telecommunication services firms.

About IDC's Executive Advisory Group

IDC's Executive Advisory Group provides sales and marketing executives with the IT industry's most comprehensive benchmarking data, best practices studies, and facilitated peer-to-peer discussions to plan investments, prepare operations, mobilize resources, and measure results. To learn more visit www.idc.com/eag .

About IDC

IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 900 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 90 countries worldwide. For more than 43 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting www.idc.com .

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