With over 50% of buyer committees comprising at least four different lines of business (departments), it's important you no longer over-target one specific role (typically business). You need to take account of the technical buyer more than ever. Here's how.
The organisation's buying journey is often long. As above, different roles are deployed at different times, or stages of the total buying journey. As a marketer, you need to create content that appeals to each of these roles for each stage they are involved. This blog addresses the Technical buyer, a make-or-break role often ignored until it's too late.
Let's address this by stage.
Most tech buying projects start in the Awareness phase of the buying journey. This is where something has disrupted the apple cart and a need or opportunity has been identified and now researched online. Typically business focused "researchers" take the early lead here and technical is referred. The buyers are looking online for answers to issues such as:
- saving money
- improving performance
- reducing risk
- lifting productivity or
- leveraging the latest technology advances.
With over 80% of all business projects starting with a search, this content needs to be found online in the form of blogs, optimised web pages, eBooks, videos, research reports, social posts of industry leaders and forums, and infographics. Remember too that it needs to be issue-related and brand neutral. This content needs to speak to context.
The Consideration stage is all about evaluating alternative solutions that are considered realistic options from the research completed in the Awareness stage. This is the stage of deeper evaluation and the soft spot for the Technical influencer/researcher/buyer.
They're now online making up their minds about what solutions make the grade and suit their requirements and current environment. Your sales people are still not involved. This is important. Technical buyers are online and designing recommendations for further assessmentin the decision stage. You have to be p front and centre here. They're seeking facts that answer the practical questions includings:
- how proven is this approach fo each solution
- what impact is there on our legacy systems from each solution
- what technical skills will be required to this solution happen versus that one
- how might we support and maintain this solution versus that one
- what level of risk does each solution pose for the organisation
- what are the timetables involved for each solution
- what is the risk of business disruption by each solution
- is each solution really a feasible option?
Your sales people are still not involved and so your content really needs to work hard online and digitally. It needs to be amplified and found online among industry forums and social platforms (earned), press and and media platforms (earned and paid) as well as customer and advocate websites.
Another tip, make much of the content in this stage peer-to-peer (tech-to-tech). Engineers perceive Google as their most valuable content resource followed by vendor websites directly. So work with your pre-sales or engineering/support team and sub-edit the work they provide to maximise SEO and AdWords performance.
Specifically, this will take the form of eBooks, solution guides, white papers, calculators, assessments, research guides, tip sheets, evaluation guides, educational videos, landing pages (solution specific) and more.
Finally, it's the Decision stage. Well done if you are still on the radar and at the table for this stage. Your Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) will be popping up as the buyers start to make contact with your website and sales team.
This is where final pricing, logistics, testing, trials and negotiations are going to be engaged. Your business buyers are back, and your user and economic buyers (the people who sign the cheques) may be involved too. The recommendations are in, and everyone wants to know:
- technology and solution
- budget and business outcomes
- technical issues/approach
- migration process/legacy impact
- business impact
- risk exposures
- personnel requirements
- outsourced partner requirements
- legal issues and considerations
- timeline and more.
The content here must take the form of sales enablement and business case materials. This includes business presentations, trial engagements, proposal formats, case studies and customer video testimonials, quote tools and configurators, calculators, research comparing your brand on brands, brochures and datasheets etc.
To finalise your needs, ask your sales people what they feel they need to close deals more often and more efficiently - and create it for them.
By taking a buyer journey approach, you can see that when selling business technology to technical people, youcan improve your approach when you:
- focus on the technical buyer as well as the business buyer overall
- give special focus in the middle of the Consideration stage of the total buying journey
- create the content to build trust in a logical, transparent way
- consider leveraging your own tech people for tech-to-tech communications
- always remember the original business buyer as they will loop back in at decision stage
- never forget the Economic buyer as they will pop up in the final stage
- most of all, use a variety of content that beats your competitors in search.
Contact our team of content marketing consultants if you need some assistance.