IT Buyers in 2013 are Much Better Informed and No Less Willing to Spend

A lot has been written about serious changes in IT buyer habits in 2012 and 2013. The consensus is that IT buyers are not talking to sales personnel until much later in the sales cycle. One reason for this change, some contend, is tighter budgets in 2013. Tighter budgets aren’t driving less engagmement. Better informed IT buyers don’t have much to talk with sales people about.

Let’s look for a moment at spending levels. We think that total IT spending in 2013 will increase over past years. Enterprise IT spending will increase, as well. All of these buyers might not buy PCs, Laptops, or on premise software, but they will still buy tablets, phablets, smart phones, cloud services, or a combination of products and services (that may include PC hardware and software as well).

Products need to be promoted online. IT buyers are online researching requirements, solutions, and customer experiences with specific products or even solutions. Product marketers have an opportunity to present these buyers with communications copy to build their interest.

Here’s a design for this online content: start with a simple text statement that presents, broadly, a pain point typical of a buyer of your product or service. Display on the same page customer testimonials, awards and company news. Use back pages of your site to present your specific expertise, management team, etc. From this content design one can see that IT buyers in 2013 look for sellers with direct experience meeting their needs, who can be trusted to deliver, expertly, on requirements.

Of course, producing persuasive content is not so simple. The most important of the three design cornerstones that we just presented, presenting the pain point, requires that sellers thoroughly understand their buyers. Product marketing must produce a very clear picture of a promising prospect. It won’t hurt to display that picture to sales personnel, customer service, and even technical staff.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved


Best Practices: Outbound Teleprospecting for Complex Products Post #2 — Where Time Matters

When time matters (for a company with a complex product for enterprise customers), and capital is limited, the lead generation strategy should be built, at least in part, around outbound teleprospecting, but without an effort to survey prospects. I am not going to treat interactive tactics to augment outbound teleprospecting in this post, but will shortly write a series of posts describing the use of one set of interactive tactics–social media–within a powerful and comprehensive lead generation strategy. Rather, in this post I want to talk about variations on the survey approach to teleprospecting to hasten along the sales cycle.

The most obvious means of hastening a sales cycle is to focus sales efforts only on prospects with clear needs. Selling efforts should only be made on those leads where indisputable, confirmed decision-makers have been identified within companies. Further, these decision-makers must be managing funded projects that are scheduled for completion over the next near term (the actual length of the “near term” will vary depending upon the “typical” sales cycle for the product). For the record, the drawback implicit to this approach is that it eliminates the group of prospects who do not know what they need as well as those who think they need the wrong thing. But a company pressed for time and running on limited means must make some sacrifice in order to achieve sales goals. An additional drawback is that some of the projects identified through this process will be mature and at a level where the prospect is “shopping” a specific solution, meaning a commodity in the market.

Nevertheless, the hook for generating most of these leads will be discussions about well known solutions (effectively the highest quality commodities in a particular market) with interested parties. These discussions are not an optimum basis for a conversation, but at least a workable technique. Determining a reliable ratio between telephone calls and discussions will vary; however, as a rule, each set of 100 calls should result in at least 15 discussions. Further, 2 or more sales calls should result from 15 teleprospecting discussions at some point in the sales cycle. If actual efforts do not deliver results in keeping with these assumptions, then the lead contact list must be evaluated to ensure that the right contacts have been included.

Typically, utilizing this approach, a teleprospecting team will have to plan on at least one additional discussion with a prospect prior to passing along a useful lead to sales than would be the case for a focus on securing surveys with the same prospects. The script for this additional discussion will include questions to determine important information about a prospect and his/her company prior to scheduling a meeting with a subject matter expert. The result will be a considerably enhanced, and substantially narrower selling effort. This combination may provide a CEO with a viable solution to limited time and budget. Of course, the dialogue with the prospect may, over time, reveal opportunities to widen the lens and chase more lucrative opportunities based on what a prospect doesn’t know.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2011 All Rights Reserved