5 Directives for B2B Tech Sellers
The B2B tech industry is growing rapidly, and becoming all the more competitive for sellers. Make sure these five practices are part of your sales approach.
January 30, 2018
The technology industry is enormous, and a B2B mainstay. Companies spend an estimated $250 billion on software each year, and that figure keeps rising along with the number of new solutions and applications being continually introduced.
It’s a booming, competitive vertical -- and one that many of our readers operate in. So we thought it might be helpful to explore some insights and surface some techniques that are driving success for today’s B2B tech sellers, with an eye on giving you an edge in this crowded space.
Which sales tactics resonate most with buyers? What do high-level decision-makers consider in their evaluations? In a setting where autonomous research is the norm, how can you ensure that prospects with a need find their way to you?
Based on our research, these five directives stand out as critical priorities for selling B2B tech:
Focus on Reliability and Ease of Use
Last year, Phoenix-based agency LAVIDGE commissioned a survey of 400 technology product and service decision-makers throughout the United States in an effort to gauge their receptiveness to different kinds of marketing and messaging.
The report included a ranking of preferred claims about solutions and at the top of the list -- by a wide margin -- were “Reliable” and “Easy to use.” These beat out factors like “Low cost,” “Integrates easily,” and “24-hour customer support.”
Based on the feedback, it seems clear that in this era of complex and multifaceted tech tools, decision-makers are looking for something that won’t be a huge pain to implement, and can be trusted to function properly. They might even pay more for these things. As such, it makes sense to lead with these strengths when pitching.
Third-Party Reinforcement and Social Proof are Key
Nothing will verify your claims about reliability and ease of use more than authentic evaluations from people who have actually used what you’re offering. It’s natural for a buyer to be skeptical of any new tech solution, and the lofty claims of its sellers, so third-party validation is often impactful.
Among the findings from the LAVIDGE survey: 52 percent of tech buyers are influenced by consulting colleagues and friends. This means that if you can find a mutual connection who’s had positive experiences with your product or service, and they’re willing to share them, you can powerfully reinforce your benefit claims. In lieu of a known acquaintance, customer reviews from anyone in a similar position or industry will be helpful.
Don’t Get Caught Up in Buzzwords and Jargon
It’s sort of inevitable that when you work extensively within a certain niche, you’ll start adopting its lingo. There’s nothing wrong with that, but being over-reliant on buzzwords when engaging buyers isn’t always constructive. Professionals within the respective niche undoubtedly hear these terms all the time, and may have jargon fatigue.
In a recent piece for Martech Today, Josh Aberant points to “microservices” as one example of an overused shorthand. “Microservices are a real thing that real technologists do real work with,” he says. “But that doesn’t mean that namedropping the term is necessarily an effective way to appeal to a B2B tech buyer.”
In many cases, buyers will find straight talk that cuts through the esoteric language refreshing.
Know Your Accounts
Always important, but especially here. As tech buying committees become more elaborate and prone to change, it’s getting tougher to single out one decision-maker whom you can learn about and tailor your pitch around. As Aberant wrote in his aforementioned piece:
“You’re obviously aiming to connect with key influencers and decision-makers. Thus, you’re obliged to do a huge amount of research, networking, social media and industry outreach to figure out who it is you need to target within each organization and what their hot buttons/pain points might be.
Remember, though, that the final decision-maker may not be the person doing the assessment and testing, and he or she may only have a momentary presence during the entire buying experience. They may kick off the process and show up at the end, but somebody else is doing the grunt work in between. Even so, you’ve still got to educate and sell them when they eventually show up.”
An account-based pursuit, in conjunction with research on LinkedIn, can be advantageous for laying out the structure of an organization and identifying potential touchpoints. Targeted marketing efforts can build familiarity with your business throughout the company’s ranks.
Social Selling is a Must
A study by TechTarget and Google found that 95 of tech buyers conduct their own research online. No surprise there. Perusing social media is invariably a part of this process, so you’ll be bolstering your odds of generating recognition and interest by maintaining an active presence on key networks. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile so that it speaks directly to those you want to engage is a good first step.
Top Takeaways for Selling B2B Tech
It’s possible you’ve already checked each of these boxes with your sales strategy. If so, you’re ahead of the curve. But if you wish to adopt these five practices and are looking for a place to start, here are some suggestions:
- Work with your team to come up with compelling sales pitches centered on your solution’s reliability and ease of use
- Equip reps with a Point Drive content package featuring your most persuasive case studies, customer reviews, and testimonials
- Tweak your sales approach to be more conversational and less buzzword-heavy
- Identify priority accounts and research them to create informational profiles
- Optimize your LinkedIn profile and challenge yourself to post updates at least twice per week with insights or anecdotes useful to a tech buyer audience
The world of B2B tech is in flux. Make sure your sales tactics are adapting along with it.
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