Technology is playing an even more important role today as digital transformation ramped up in 2020, with organisations and individuals adapting to new ways of living and working. (anyone else familiar with the joys of juggling home schooling and remote working?!). Tech buyers have evolved, their numbers have increased and they have become increasingly savvy.
The question now is how, as technology marketers, do we adapt to meet this shift?
LinkedIn have just published some fascinating results in their 'The Age of Agility' Report, their 7th Annual Technology Buying Research where they interviewed around 6,000 technology decision-makers from around the world.
They interviewed a range of people from SMB to Enterprise size organisations, all of whom had either researched, evaluated, bought, implemented or renewed a business technology solution in the last six months. So I would say that their research findings are particularly relevant for those us involved in tech marketing.
The key output from this report is the identification of five key recommendations that stand out for technology marketers to succeed in 2021 and beyond:
The specific points which resonated with me in particular are:
Around 70% of tech buyers do their own research before even reaching out to a vendor:
- How can we ensure our content reaches these buyers?Activate your employees on social media to share meaningful branded and non-branded content, identify your subject matter experts and ensure that they are equipped to position themselves as such via social media and through blogging
- Create a strong content marketing strategy which addresses all stages of the buyer journey so that tech buyers keep coming back to your brand for further insights to help guide their research....and much more!
Only 25% of people are prepared to give details to download content:
- So how do we address this? Make sure we offer enough relevant and helpful free content for all stages of the buyer journey to win trust and credibility …which will then make buyers feel more comfortable with giving their details for high value quality gated content (eBooks, white papers, research studies etc).
- Nurture these people in a helpful and authentic way by offering further content of the same nature - but don't contact them immediately as soon as they have 'touched' your website, I recently received a sales call a mere 10 minutes after I downloaded a piece of content from a tech vendor. This was a turn-off!
55% of decision makers are involved in the researching and shortlisting stages, while only 36% are actually involved in purchasing:
- This highlights the importance of building digital relationships and expanding our networks on a regular basis. LinkedIn is an excellent platform for this (Twitter too for those social media enthusiasts amongst you). We really need to identify everyone in the buying circle and get on their digital radar - don’t leave it too late when they are at the decision stage!
- We've also heard that there can be up to 10 people involved in the average B2B buying decision making process, so identifying and connecting with them all should be a priority. Engaging in social selling is key - and for those of you who might feel uncomfortable with the term 'social selling', think of it more as building digital relationships, just via LinkedIn rather than face-to-face. LinkedIn's Sales Navigator tool is fabulous for helping to identify everyone in the buying circle.
Customers might not want to speak to your company too early in the process, but buyers do want to hear from your customers about their experiences:
- How do we actually do this? It's essential to nurture customers after the deal has been signed, tech buyers rely increasingly on peer reviews and social proof to guide their decision making process.
- I love HubSpot's Flywheel model which replaces the traditional funnel. This places the customer at the centre of everything they do by providing a superior customer experience who could in turn become powerful advocates for your organisation - the most powerful marketing tool ever!
I would definitely check out the full LinkedIn report in the link, it's packed full of valuable insights and in an easy to digest format as well. Working in the technology marketing and sales arena, I appreciate any tips on working smarter, not harder!
1. Empower the next generation of IT guides With technology unlocking opportunities for a wide range of businesses, many non-IT functions are now involved in technology buying decisions. To meet the needs of diverse internal stakeholders, marketers can support IT's mission to act less like a gatekeeper and more like a guide. 2. Aim for fame in the customer journey As the world reimagines what's possible through the use of technology, there is increased competition for buyer attention. To grow market share, marketers must invest in full-funnel efforts that build awareness, memorability, and favourability with new audiences. 3. Address the committee’s paradox of needs B2B technology purchasing decisions are driven by multiple team members with various needs and requirements. To win new customers, marketers must build consensus and align opinions held by technology decision-makers across the organization. 4. Spark the virtual water cooler In a world of democratized buying, end user validation is a valuable commodity. To boost preference versus competitors, marketers can harness the power of community and social proof. 5. Seize the post-sale frontier With budgets under greater scrutiny, post-sale support is paramount. To capture greenspace from existing customers, marketers should support efforts to increase cross-sell, upsell, and renewals.