Marketing to technology buyers has come with a long-standing set of issues. The bumps in the road to implementation traditionally include:
- Budget constraints
- Extended timelines due to legal, training, and compliance constraints
- Difficulty convincing committees and decision makers of the value of the software
- Maintaining awareness of available and future technology resources
- Planning transition through implementation, training, support
And today’s tech buyers face even more issues that have very little to do with corporate red tape. Recent months have shown some cracks in the ways we have traditionally done business. These new issues may include:
- Uncertain markets affected by entire industries pausing their purchase power
- Uncertain budgets due to restricted income
- New security risks for remote, mobile, and distributed workforces
- Product delays caused in a pivot to new use cases
- Reduced or temporary workforces
- Disrupted supply chains
These issues don’t replace the previous problems; they add to them. Buying technology is harder than ever, and the difficulties for marketers and technology providers have increased.
You have to change your messaging and your targeting to meet those changes. By better serving your technology buyers according to today’s needs, you improve your brand strength and hopefully fill some of those revenue gaps that may have opened up.
This article gives you three steps to understanding the current climate your technology buyers are living in, and how marketers and products can fulfill changing needs.
Step 1: Step back and SWOT
You probably survey your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) every couple of years or so. But the best time to perform a SWOT analysis is in the middle of a crisis, when your users change their habits and the industries you serve experience upheaval. At these moments, the edge cases you may have overlooked before could start to look more appealing.
Today’s SWOT analysis should include new disruptions to your supply chain, workforce shortages, and industry pauses. It should also include the ways that your product is already set to provide value to users that you may not have invested in in the past. There are no bad ideas in a SWOT analysis. Remember: you’re brainstorming possibilities and limitations, not assigning value to those possibilities or limitations, yet.
Once you’ve identified your new strengths and opportunities, use those to identify marketing targets that minimize your new weaknesses and industry threats.
Step 2: Identify new benefits
Technology holds the enviable position of being able to provide value to a changing society. Whether it’s facilitating remote work, providing security to newly online businesses, or other benefits that are unique to your customers, it’s time to start finding the silver linings.
Consider everyone’s favorite pandemic winner: Zoom Video. While the company did pretty well for years as a video meeting and collaboration software, it wasn’t until the pandemic put everyone inside for two months that customers took full advantage of Zoom’s capabilities for remote yoga classes, online guitar lessons, virtual book clubs, and digital dance parties. The expansion of use-cases took off out of necessity, not marketing.
What necessity-driven use cases can you identify for your product? These may be hidden within your SWOT analysis’s lists of strengths and opportunities, or you may need to infer them as happy accidents that would be considered a weakness during more “normal” times.
Step 3: Use health checks to identify new power users
This is a great time to institute ongoing health checks to help all users maximize their use of the tool. During these conversations, you can find out a lot about how different teams use your tool, troubleshoot issues, and discuss upgrades that might improve workflows. A health check gives you the opportunity to build trust with your users and strengthen your relationships for the long-term.
If you have BI software or another data analytics tool that can track app usage, this may be a good time to identify customers who have recently increased their time in-app. Then schedule a conversation with them. Try to ask probing questions and solicit honest answers.
- Has their use of your product changed?
- How can you better serve them?
- Have they found gaps in your product?
- Where have they needed to use outside tools to enhance your product’s capabilities?
Take what you learn from these conversations into your marketing, product, and sales plans. How can you better serve these customers, and how can you attract more like them to your product?
Follow up with targeted marketing
Your work doesn’t end at discovery or planning. Marketing to these new users and building the trust in new marketplaces may prove difficult. Partnering with a trusted marketing company that’s committed to connecting technology companies with their ideal buyer can make this transition easier. TechnologyAdvice can help you find your perfect audience, and we’ll even help with coaching, tools, and education to get you there.