Marketing to B2B Tech Buyers and Decision Makers

March 6, 2018 by Intelemark

How to Reach Technology Decision-Makers Online

B2B tech buyers and decision-makers need to be on the leading-edge of their industry so they can stay up-to-date with emerging technologies and find the right solutions for their organizations. Considering the amount of content these buyers must slog through to find the information they need to make a purchasing decision, the companies that end up with the big contracts are the ones that deliver the right message at the right time.

The Best Content for B2B Tech Buyers

As important as what you say is how you say it. Eccolo Media asked technology buyers, from engineers to C-suite executives, how much content they consume and what content they pay attention to the most. The top content assets tech buyers prefer, according to the survey:

  1. Products/Brochures – 39%
  2. White papers – 33%
  3. Case studies/success stories – 31%
  4. Detailed technology guides – 23%
  5. Competitive vendor worksheets – 22%

If you aren’t creating assets like these, you should be; if you are, you should probably be doing it better. Here are some tips to help strengthen your content aimed at B2B tech buyers.

Address Buyer’s Need and Pain Points in Your Product Sheets

Product sheets and brochures provide opportunities to summarize your solution’s key features and explain how it specifically addresses B2B tech buyer’s key pain points. The goal is for buyers to understand your product enough to explain it to other stakeholders involved in the buying decisions and envision how it will meet their needs. This is where knowing your audience—really knowing who they are, their pain points, and their needs—is critical.

Write White Papers to Position Your Company as the Authority

In-depth and well-researched white papers can have a significant impact on reaching B2B tech buyers online. These people are actively looking for a solution to a specific problem, but they don’t have time to track down or go through all the information they need to make a decision. That’s why white papers are valuable to decision-makers, since they act as information “hubs” that address all their concerns. Gated white papers can also help you generate B2B tech leads that you can nurture toward a conversion. Just make sure your white papers are authoritative and don’t come across as a sales pitch.

Celebrate Your Wins with Compelling Case Studies

One of the best ways to prove your worth and earn the trust of B2B tech buyers and decision-makers is through compelling case studies. They showcase how real users have benefited from your product or service. Case studies also get B2B tech buyers to start thinking about how they can experience the same results by partnering with your company.

Provide Apples-to-Apples Vendor Comparison Charts

Companies are hesitant to make vendor comparison worksheets for fear of “advertising” their competitors, but this is information B2B buyers are looking for, and you run the risk of losing out if you don’t give it to them. Creating your own comparison charts also allows you to control the narrative and highlight those features that give your product or service the edge in head-to-head comparisons.

Content for Each Step of the Technology Buying Process

According to a report by research and advisory firm Forrester, the six stages of the technology buying process are:

  1. Needs Analysis,
  2. Defining Specifications/Determining Funding,
  3. Vendor Selection,
  4. Implementation,
  5. Management, and
  6. Renewal

Sales and marketing departments that take the time to create a catalog of content for decision-makers at each stage of the tech buying process are in a better position to deliver the information buyers need when they need it.

These stages can be mapped onto the to help tailor your message so you deliver timely and relevant information buyers are looking for. Here’s a quick introduction (or refresher) on the four stages of the content marketing funnel according to MOZ, an inbound marketing and marketing analytics software company:

  • Discovery – Buyers in the discovery stage are at the beginning of their journey and are just becoming aware of a problem that needs solving.
  • Consideration – At the consideration stage, buyers are considering solutions and providers that best address their needs.
  • Conversion – The bottom of the funnel, where buyers are ready to make a purchase.
  • Retention – After getting customers, the goal is to keep them, and the retention stage is all about turning one-time buyers into repeat customers and advocates for your brand.

Below are recommendations for how you can serve up the best content that addresses the needs, considerations, and objectives of B2B tech buyers at each stage of the buying process, from discovery through retention.

Needs Analysis

At this stage, tech buyers are identifying and defining their organization’s specific need to resolve a critical business issue. They likely do not  know the specific product or service they need. . In either case, buyers at this stage are looking for a solution that solves a problem or meets an organizational goal or objective.

  • Funnel Stage: Discovery
  • Tactic: Educational content, viral content
  • Types of Content: Blog posts, webinars, long-form content, white papers, videos

 Defining Specifications/Determining Funding

Decision-makers at this stage of the tech buying process have defined their problem or objective and are now prioritizing specific features and requirements they are looking for in a solution. They are likely defining a budget for the acquisition of said product or service. This stage is also considered “top of funnel” as buyers are still researching all possible solutions and discovering products/services not originally  contemplated.

  • Funnel State: Discovery
  • Tactic: Educational content, viral content
  • Types of Content: Blog posts, webinars, long-form content, white papers, videos

 Vendor Selection

Buyers in this stage can define the product or service they are looking for to meet a specific need, and are now identifying a short list of possible vendors. Suppliers are evaluated based on any number of factors, such as cost, level of service, implementation/delivery time frame, and references, depending on the evaluation criteria of individual buyers or a buying committee.

  • Funnel Stage: Consideration
  • Tactic: Solution-specific content
  • Types of Content: Case studies, product sheets, comparison charts, demo videos

Implementation

A technology product or service has been chosen and is now being implemented within the buyer’s organization. The same buyers who were researching solutions in the previous stages may now be looking for technical documentation, troubleshooting-related content, or tips for getting the most from the new technology. 

  • Funnel Stage: Conversion
  • Tactic: Value propositions, calls-to-action
  • Types of Content: Testimonials, reviews, offers

Management

The solution has been implemented and buyers (or other enterprise users) are now managing the usage of said technology. Common issues and concerns at this stage include adoption, customization, maintenance and support. If users are unhappy with the product or service, buyers may also start looking for information on alternatives. 

  • Funnel Stage: Retention
  • Tactic: Help, support
  • Types of Content: Technical documentation, insider tips, email follow-up

Renewal

The solution has now become outdated or obsolete. Buyers are looking for a replacement, thus initiating the buying process again. They may begin with the “Need Analysis” step, or if they are looking for a straight replacement may skip to “Vendor Selection.” 

  • Funnel Stage: Discovery, Consideration, Conversion, Retention. Note: This stage will depend on whether you are trying to keep existing customer (Retention) or acquire new business (Discovery, Consideration, Conversion).

Types of Content Throughout the Product Lifecycle

Savvy marketers know how to align their messaging to where a solution is in its product lifecycle. If you need help coming up with a strategy for reaching B2B tech buyers, a good place to start is by looking at the phase each solution is in and deciding the best type of content to promote them.

  • During the introduction phase, the goal is to raise awareness of the new product and seek sales among early adopters
  • During the growth phase, the goal is to expand the market for the product into new segments, usually either geographic or demographic segments
  • During the maturity phase, the goal is to differentiate the product from the competition and increase market share
  • During the decline phase, the goal is to maintain the product’s residual reputation

What kinds of content are other tech companies producing at these stages? A survey of 640 senior marketing executives and business leaders from a range of US and international B2B technology companies, including those specializing in software, hardware, cloud computing, and mobile, provides some insights.

B2B Technology Lead Generation Services

Each piece of content you create gives you the opportunity to win the moments that matter with B2B tech buyers, but there’s more that can and should be done if you want to fill your sales pipeline with quality leads.

That’s where Intelemark can help.

We’ve been in the trenches with our technology clients, helping them create demand, build their pipelines, drive revenue, and support their sales at every turn. We offer multiple services to help position your brand and your solution in front of the right people in charge of technology purchasing decisions. For lead generation, appointment setting, event registration, client reactivation, and more, contact us today!

 

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