If you want to generate leads and make sales, understanding your target audience is vital. For B2B tech brands, this means getting to know IT decision-makers inside and out. But this isn’t just a one-time process, as the Loudhouse team has discovered from the many interviews we carry out every year. As technology changes, so do buying dynamics. So, make sure you’re up to date with buyers in 2018 with the five key trends we’ve observed by surveying tech decision-makers.
- Buying cycles are getting longer
Looking forward, you should expect your lead nurturing process to take longer. Change is afoot in the buying cycle, with 56% of buyers saying it takes more time to onboard suppliers and partners than it did 18 months ago. It’s hardly surprising. With an abundance of choice and a never-ending stream of content to consume, tech buyers have got a lot more to consider than they once did. As a result, internal decision making is becoming more complex and taking longer to complete.
- Choice means nothing without context
With so much choice on offer, buyers need suppliers to give context and clearly explain the applications of a service or product – particularly if it’s a complex area, like AI, IoT or the cloud. These technologies are exciting, and lots of businesses want a slice of the action. But tech buyers won’t bite on a buzzword alone. When they’re investing in new technology, CIOs need to be able to explain precisely what the business value is. This means you need to provide context and explanations, illustrating exactly how your service, solution or platform will alleviate a pain point.
- Buyers want intelligent solutions that’ll help them keep pace with the times
Modern tech buyers want intelligent and preferably future-proof solutions. As anybody who’s ever owned a smartphone will know, technology can become outdated at an alarming rate. Tech buyers are especially sensitive to this fact, so they’re seeking out intelligent solutions that’ll help them keep up with the competition in the long term. It’s also worth noting that they’re keen to buy these solutions from a vendor, rather than develop them as needed. This is because building a solution from scratch is costly, and businesses will only do that if they have a niche requirement which can’t be met by off-the-shelf solutions.
- The end user decision-maker is on the rise
End user departments, like marketing and sales, are taking ownership of the specialised tools they rely on. So, the actual job title of the tech buyers you’re marketing to could be changing. Increasingly, tech decision influencers aren’t just sat in the IT department – they’re penning a blog in the creative department, or chasing a deal at a client meeting. The usability of cloud-based applications like Salesforce, Hubspot, Rant & Rave and Shopify has prompted this shift. End users are taking on tasks they previously would have relied on programmers, designers and database experts for. Which means you need to keep their preferences in mind.
- Businesses are looking to get ready for the unknown
Instead of helping businesses react to events, it’s increasingly likely you’ll be asked to help them deal with the unknown. This means they might be shy of big investments. Take Brexit as an example. At first, UK businesses talked about ‘being ready for Brexit’. But it didn’t take them long to realise they had no idea what they were actually preparing for. So, businesses quickly stopped thinking about Brexit and started to prepare for the unknown. In an environment that makes it so hard to predict who the winners and the losers of the next decade will be, scalability has become a watchword for IT managers. In the face of uncertainty, CFOs have less appetite for big ticket IT projects, forcing CIOs to look to SaaS (Software as a Service) and other solutions which can adapt seamlessly to new market conditions.
Seems like a lot to take on board? Remember, you don’t have to implement action plans for all of these points by tomorrow. You simply need to work them into your strategy for the year moving forward, whether that’s working on web copy to explain your offering, or researching what marketers and salespeople want from their platforms. Because as we discussed in the first point, consumers have never had more choice – so if you want to make sure your brand is their go-to choice, aligning your strategies with today’s tech buyer is the way to go.