The way organisations, particularly large enterprises, purchase technology is usually a long and complex process. But it’s vital for marketers to understand how this process works if campaigns are to deliver pipeline leads and actually generate revenues.
Perhaps the most important question that gets asked in this process is, ‘Who is my target buyer?’ It’s a simple question, but it’s definitely not a simple answer. We explored this in Kingpin’s recent report, ‘How organisations purchase technology – mapping the journey with real-life insights’.
One buyer to rule them all?
The research shows that no single person or job title holds the key to technology buying decisions. The target buyer might notionally be the CIO but, in reality, many people across different departments and at different levels of seniority will be involved at various stages as part of a buying team.
In the report, Kingpin data across different sectors of the IT market shows a wide range of involvement in the buying process by managers, the C-suite, department level and the board. That means: don’t obsess over one single job title when targeting buyers. Take an account overview, use all available data and use a range of content formats that are aimed at different people at different stages of what we know is a collective buying process.
The report also reveals how many people are typically involved in successful opportunities – with more than four people in both generation of pipeline and closed deals that were won. That compares to an average of just 2.47 contacts in deals that were lost.
It really highlights how much activity is going on behind the scenes during the buying process and why marketers must look beyond typical first- and last-touch contacts. For example, while one person might do some internet research initially there may then be four other people behind the scenes engaging with other content formats and marketing tactics as the buying cycle progresses.
A sweet spot for marketers?
Although there are multiple stakeholders involved in the B2B tech buying process, Kingpin data does highlight one potential sweet spot – the managerial level – which accounted for just over half (51 per cent) of content consumed in a campaign.
This probably isn’t a huge surprise. After all, managers are often the gatekeepers and the fulcrum of most tech rollouts in larger companies. A US tech buyer study by Kingpin found that almost a third of middle and senior management are involved in approving final purchases, as well as in influencing, evaluating and short-listing.
However, the message remains that it’s vital not to focus on one single person or job title in a B2B technology marketing campaign. Another danger of ignoring that rule is not only mis-targeting but failing to identify potential blockers. So it’s important to know who all the key stakeholders are in an organisation’s buying process. And, particularly for large organisations, be prepared for responses to come in from all levels of seniority and different departments.
Look outside – don’t ignore external influencers
It’s important for marketers to pay attention not only to the internal buying team but also to third-party channel partners and systems integrators (SIs). When our report looked at first touch and most recent lead source data for pipeline and revenue generated, channel partners was the best performing tactic, ahead of organic traffic and tradeshows or events. Prospects may carry out initial vendor research and engagement themselves but they use their incumbent SIs and other partners to validate.
There are also geographical and regional differences to factor into this. For example, Kingpin data on the sources of opportunity creation by region across Europe shows that, while channel partners are one of the top sources of opportunity in France, Germany and the UK, they aren’t in the Benelux and Nordic regions – and this is something we’ll explore in more detail in a future blog.
The takeaway for converting those campaigns into leads and revenue? Marketers need to ensure there is a constant flow of the right communications and content to hit different people at the different points in the buying cycle.
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For more insights into the B2B buying process, download the full Kingpin report here: How organisations purchase technology – mapping the journey with real-life insights