How can marketers navigate the new IT buying process?
September 30, 2015
Last year, we released our IT Buying Committee study, with huge implications for Tech marketers. Where once they had to target one department, potentially just one ‘IT Guy’, they must now rally an entire cross-functional crew of influencers to help them navigate the purchase journey. The question is: How?
In this year’s study we’ve gone deeper to reveal exactly what it takes to become the supplier of choice in IT. It’s a complicated voyage, but the right course can land rich rewards.
Our previous research looked at startling trends across IT as a whole, with representatives from several different departments each bringing their own budget, purchase authority and influence to the buying decision. These were key findings but they raised many more questions for Tech marketers: Who is on the buying committee for different tech solutions? At which stages of the purchase decision do they wield their influence? And what do tech marketers need to do in order to convince them?
To answer these questions we took an in-depth look at four of the most important IT sub-verticals: the supply of hardware and software for end-users, and the supply of hardware and software for data centres. In doing so, we discovered that today’s IT buying journey is even longer and more complicated than we first thought – and it’s not for the faint-hearted. Success depends on supplying more relevant content, at more stages of the purchase journey, to more potential influencers than ever before. Chart a smarter course to influencing the IT Committee though, and the rewards can make it all worthwhile.
Amongst the key findings of this year’s study are:
- The tech buying process is completely different to a few short years ago: it’s both longer (an average 12 month buying cycle) and more competitive, and that makes retaining business every bit as important as winning it. Share on LinkedIn or Twitter
- The IT Committee is huge, diverse – and often hidden: it includes up to 14 different departments. And besides committee members themselves, you need a strategy for engaging the wide range of influencers they increasingly turn to. Share on LinkedIn or Twitter
- Committee members are hungry for content throughout the process, typically consuming between 2 and 4 pieces of content at each of six buying stages. We often hear that buyers don’t reach out to vendors until the decision-making stage, but our study shows that the right combination of content and expertise can open doors earlier. Share on LinkedIn or Twitter
- Tech buying never sleeps, and neither should tech marketing – an always-on content strategy is essential for keeping the right content readily available when the IT Committee needs it. You’ll also need to synchronise with sales and support functions to ensure a consistent experience – and to bring your specialist expertise to the fore. Share on LinkedIn or Twitter
- The buying journey is an endless loop – and marketers can’t afford to focus solely on the decision-making stage. Incumbency brings huge advantages – but these precious opportunities can be lost without proper attention and support as the IT Committee embarks on implementing and managing technology. Share on LinkedIn or Twitter
Crucially, we also found that membership of the IT Committee, the issues that motivate it, and the content its members seek from potential vendors, all vary hugely according to the type of technology it’s buying. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to contact strategies or content; instead it’s important to plan your approach around the specific needs of your sub-vertical. By looking more deeply at what makes the IT Committee tick, our new study provides you with all of the insight you need to do so.