The Struggles of Connecting with the Modern Tech Buyer

By Lauren Inggs - January 19, 2017

Think only the IT department has control over tech buying decisions? Think again. Up to 78% of stakeholders external to the IT department have influence over these very decisions, according to research done by LinkedIn. That means influencers could range from departments like marketing, sales, HR and finance – a far cry from the traditional model of an IT buyer.

And if you're a tech company trying to reach tech buyers, you're facing an uphill climb if you're only plan is targeting the traditional IT buyer and leaving other stakeholders out. But why is it so difficult to connect with the new tech buyer?

4 Reasons connecting with tech buyers is tough work

1. They're not who you think they are

As mentioned before, the traditional IT buyer isn't the only stakeholder in the tech buying process anymore. The buying process may now include influencers and stakeholders from diverse departments within a business. Failing to take this into account when targeting your marketing, is setting yourself up for a less than successful outcome. It's up to you to make sure you're targeting the right stakeholders and to avoid making the mistake of isolating one and focusing all your efforts on them alone.

2. The buying process has changed

A buyer's journey in the tech buying landscape has shifted. It's important to acknowledge this change in your marketing efforts. The modern buyer is now more well-informed throughout the entire buying cycle, with access to the internet, and the ability to do plenty of research before committing to purchasing.

Research is showing that many tech buyers are not just expecting the right content and materials to be available before making a purchase decision, but want to continue researching options and educating themselves even after making a purchase decision. This means marketers can't afford to let their content and offerings slip post-sale, but now need to build comprehensive post-sale processes to delight and secure these buyers.

3. You're not targeting the right personas

While the traditional IT buyer is still a major player in tech purchasing decisions, it's valuable to note that the other stakeholders in the buying process should also be considered when you develop your buyer personas for targeting. Don't assume the traditional persona model you've always had is okay to continue with – you may be surprised to discover your personas have changed substantially and you need a new perspective on who your target audience and buyers are.

4. You're misaligning your sales teams

Lowering your churn rate and securing buyers means aligning your sales and marketing teams from the start, and ensuring they share common goals and have strategies in place to ensure your potential buyers have a post-sale experience that delights them into becoming evangelists and advocates for your brand and product. If your sales and marketing teams are not aligned, you're missing out on a critical opportunity to improve your conversions and sales. 

So what can you do about it?

Revisit your personas

Research shows that tech buyers can occur in different forms. Your traditional IT buyer is usually an individual in a CIO or similar role. Now while this particular buyer is still a valuable persona to target, they're not driving purchases as extensively as they did in the past, which means you need to have a look at other potential personas driving tech buying decisions.

These could include functional buyers, who might have historically described a pressing business need to the IT department, and relied on them to research a solution. Lately these buyers are more equipped to research and influence buying decisions themselves, which means you shouldn't neglect targeting personas that are outside of the IT department. But how can you establish your personas when reworking them?

Do plenty of customer research, surveys and polls. Get to know your customers and who they are so that your personas can be based on research as opposed to assumptions.

Do some serious data mining

While it is important to have fundamental assumptions when you begin your marketing, keeping on point with your targeting requires drawing from your data to ensure you can make data-driven decisions quickly depending on what you learn about your buyers and their respective journeys. Using tools like Google Analytics, Hotjar and a CRM like HubSpot, you can draw valuable information to help you define your target personas and their buying cycle behaviour. This is the best way to identify areas for improvement to ensure you are connecting with your buyers.

Reconsider your buyers' journeys

Through your data mining and research, you'll likely identify behaviour in your buyers' journeys that you didn't expect and can use to your best advantage. The buying cycle in the tech landscape can be a lengthy process, and depending on how your buyers or prospective buyers tend to behave, you can target your marketing to meet their needs at each step more accurately.

Rethink your content strategy and targeting

Along with rethinking your personas and re-examining their buyer journeys, connecting with the modern tech buyer involves establishing a content strategy that spans the full buyer's journey. Remember that the modern buyer often needs 6 to 8 touches with a business before they're ready to discuss a possible sales proposition. And once they've made a decision, it's important to be proactive in your post-sales nurturing as well – especially for if you're relying on renewals from your buyers down the line.

When creating your content strategy, try to broaden your targeting so it includes other potential functions that play a role in making an IT purchase.

Let your content be educational, and don't be afraid to create customer learning programs and resources that allow your buyers to reach out and connect with you or use your resources to make vital decisions. Your content should always be hyper-relevant and forward thinking as you establish your brand as being an authority. In doing so you position yourself as a thought leader who is highly knowledgeable in the latest IT trends.

Still wondering how to reach out to the modern IT buyer and how to create a proper tech buyer persona? Keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming blog, "How to build a tech buyer persona."

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