The Tech Buying Revolution will be Anonymous
Today’s tech buyers are looking for inspiration and are passionate about the difference your technology can make – just don’t expect them to tell you who they are… yet
04 Minute Read
As B2B tech marketers, our role is to generate leads. It’s what we’re measured on. It’s what we do. The problem is that most of today’s tech buyers say they would go out of their way to avoid becoming a lead.
The dream scenario for a tech marketer goes something like this: a buyer sees our content, hands over their name and contact details to access that content, reads it, is impressed by it, and then gets a handy call from sales to close the deal.
However, data shows that the dream scenario is more and more of a pipe-dream. In LinkedIn research, only 25% of B2B buyers say that they’re willing to share details to access interesting content. We’re preventing people engaging with our content even when they find the content engaging.
Why is this happening? It’s happening because the nature of the people driving B2B tech buying has changed. Once we dealt with a handful of easily identifiable IT decision-makers. It was these people’s job to consume our content and talk to our sales teams.
Today, four out of five employees are involved at some point in the tech buying process, and 50% of those tech purchases never go through formal approval. IT buying has become a company-wide endeavour, and it’s difficult to know who’s really behind a new purchase. That’s because the one thing these new types of buyers have in common is their desire to stay anonymous.
Meet the Anonymous Buyer
The person finding your website through a search or clicking on your update in the feed could be in any number of different roles. They could be a sales leader fed up with her team’s complaints about the CRM system, a CMO wondering why they can’t have a better chatbot on their website, or a developer struggling with a brief to upgrade an email system. They could be one of the growing ranks of super-users with the tech savviness to suggest alternative solutions to their colleagues’ frustrations.
These people don’t consider themselves IT buyers. It’s not their responsibility to sign off on a spec or sign the cheques. They don’t fill in forms, because the last thing they want to do is spend time having a conversation with a salesperson. However, the fact that they are anonymous doesn’t exclude them from investigating their options, trying new solutions, and driving the buying process forward.
To compete effectively, tech marketers need to start working with this new type of buying journey rather than battling against it. Once they helped sellers sell, by handing them a list of specific contact names and details. Today they need to help anonymous buyers buy – and do so on anonymous buyers’ own terms.
What anonymous buyers really want
LinkedIn research shows that anonymous buyers don’t focus on the same things that a traditional IT decision-maker would. They’re driven by Reputation, Recognition and Reviews: what they’ve heard about a brand, how they experience that brand and what others tell them about experiencing that brand. To earn the right to generate leads later, B2B tech marketers have to deliver in these three areas first.
All too often, this isn’t happening. Currently, only a quarter of B2B tech buyers say that it’s easy to find the information they need about suppliers. That’s largely because B2B tech marketers keep insisting they become a lead before they can access their content. Your anonymous buyers are desperate for you to make it easier for them to learn about your business.
It’s time to flip the tech marketing model
We shouldn’t be waiting for someone to share their details before we start nurturing them. We need to start delivering positive experiences before we even ask for those details. Today’s most successful tech businesses share a vision of their solutions, and an experience of doing business with them, at the start of the buyer journey. That gets them to the end of the journey a lot more often.
When we take every opportunity to treat anonymous buyers as anonymous customers, we earn the right to their contact details since they no longer see the risk in sharing them. And in doing so, we can generate high-quality leads from people who feel they already know our business. We’re handing the sales team opportunities who already think of themselves as working with our business, and are open to how they can get more from the relationship.
Leads who think of themselves as customers and expect a consultative, value-adding experience from speaking to someone in sales? At the end of the day, that’s what every lead generation marketer in tech should be working towards. The good news is, you’re not alone. Anonymous buyers don’t want to stay anonymous forever. They want you to give them a good reason for getting closer to your business.
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