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3 Social Factors Influencing Your Software Decision Making

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

Software Selection Search


I am fascinated by the psychology of software buying. Did you know that in 2013, Gartner Research stated that by 2020, customers would manage 85% of their buying transactions without talking to a human source. In fact, many surveys heading into the 2010's reported that our final decision in selecting enterprise software would be influenced by artificial intelligence. In other words, search engines, bots, and computer algorithms.

Looking back and knowing what I know now about artificial intelligence, there is something very real about these findings from the past and what most believed then.

But, I am here to report that people still matter in software buying decisions. This article takes a quick look at three influential impacts on software selection decision making which goes beyond the use of search engines so commonly used first in the software selection process in nonprofit organizations. 

Therefore, here are the top three social influences of customers’ product decision process and likely will have an impact your software decision making process.

  1. Opinion Leaders. The thoughts, wants, and needs of consumers can easily be shaped by the reinforcement of a well-respected community leader. In the association world, someone who leads a group you belong too, a consulting firm which continually provides thought leadership at industry events such as ASAE, or a mentor may all be found in this category.

  2. Family Influences. Initial consumer behavior begins with and is impacted by family interaction. For many consumers, product purchases are decided as a whole, and interpreted through their cultural and social idealisms prior to completing the transaction. Additionally, family lifestyle further influences customer decision making. A young bachelor will decide differently on how to spend money than the head of a household with three small children. With nonprofit software selection, we typically do not have family involved in the decision. However, your family is usually former peers or even those that you have known for many years in your community.

  3. Cultural Groups. Every customer innately makes decisions based on cultural behaviors and characteristics. Family, friends, schoolmates and  colleagues influence a consumer’s attitude about products. By determining what aspirational and disassociate attitudes you may have at your nonprofit, it is easier to understand the basis of your final decision making paradigm.

We encourage our clients to go to your peers and ask them what software system they utilize. And, what type of experience they have had with regards to their particular software provider and system before engaging a vendor.

That said, it’s also prudent to know that your situation is always going to be somewhat unique than your peers. Therefore, it’s important to take the time internally to review your requirements and define what makes your organization unique.

Despite what others will say, your organization is different in processes and people than your counterparts and this should be one aspect of your final decision.

If you are looking to explore new software solutions, we can help. Until then, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Membership Software


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