IT organizations use strategic IT benchmarking (SITBM) to improve business-IT alignment or for developing IT strategies. However, SITBM often does not result in the desired outcomes. Because the extant literature does not contribute to improving SITBM success, we conduct a deductive-inductive study to understand which factors distinguish successful and unsuccessful SITBM. We find that traditional project-level factors do not explain SITBM success; they are necessary but not sufficient. Rather, we show that the individual level is instrumental for explaining SITBM success, especially by ensuring the buy-in of relevant project team members – a perspective not yet discussed by pertinent literature.