Have you ever bought something for use at home, unpacked it, perhaps even begun to use it and then thought – “Hang on, have I done the right thing here? Did I buy the right brand? Have I made a good choice? Or should I have bought the other one I looked at made by a competitor?”

This is buyer’s remorse in action in a domestic setting, but the phenomenon seems also to apply to complex B2B purchasing decisions.

According to CEB (which is now part of Gartner and the people behind ‘The Challenger Sale’), post-purchase anxiety occurs in a startling 40% of B2B purchasing decisions.

Which means that 4 out of 10 deals leave the customer wondering: “Have we really done the right thing here? Wouldn’t it have been better if we’d gone with the alternative offer that was on the table?”

The implications are vast, especially in today’s cloud and SaaS centric world where, at least in theory, customers can switch vendors on and off.

What does this mean for ABM?

  • Landing the deal might not necessarily the same as securing the deal. Even when the contract is signed, there may be a case for continuing to communicate to the customer: “Yes, you absolutely made the best choice and here’s a reminder why.”
  • Internal advocacy becomes even more important. Advocates can effectively intercept buyer’s remorse at source and reassure the doubters. So part of the ABM mix should focus on equipping your advocates with tools to help them reinforce the message pre- and post-sale.
  • The third intriguing implication for ABM is that, even when the deal is lost, it might not be all over. The prevalence of buyer’s remorse could be a route back in: “We understand and respect your decision but just in case you’re having second thoughts …” This could be a productive direction if you have an internal advocate whose opinion didn’t quite win the day for you first time round.