How to Engage Tech Buyers and Avoid the Content Gap

By Tom Pisello | October 7, 2020

It is more challenging than ever to engage tech buyers. Why? Today’s technology buyers struggle to make purchase decisions because they have to gain consensus from a larger, more diverse group of stakeholders, often including cross-functional COVID committees.

According to Gartner, “Due to the complexities of the buying cycle, ensuring that buyers have access to compelling content throughout the buying journey is critical. A lack of relevant content simply elongates an already complex and lengthy buying cycle and may eliminate your organization from consideration altogether.”

To effectively engage tech buyers, solution providers need to get content right.

Engaging tech buyers starts with content

Gartner found that content provided by technology solution providers is critical to a buyer’s decision-making process. But, there is a disconnect between the types of content buyers seek and the types of content vendors deliver via marketing programs and sales engagements.

For example, solution providers prioritize investments in blogs and videos over other content types. Yet, buyers in an active buying cycle say they rely less on these content types to make confident purchase decisions. There is a disconnect between what solution providers deliver and what buyers want or need.

Buyer preferences don’t align with what technology solution providers are delivering, with buyers preferring the following content types to inspire and make purchase decisions:

  • #1 – Independent 3rd Party Created Thought Leadership Content – 43%
  • #2 – Value Assessment Tools (ROI / TCO Calculators) – 42%
  • #3 – Case Studies / Success Stories – 40%

Use Value Selling Tools

Gartner listed the number one content type that improved solution provider performance as Value Assessment Tools. Companies that use Value Assessment Tools to engage tech buyers improve the likelihood of being a top performer by nearly 3.3x.

Learn more about Value Assessment Tools.

Offer the right content at the right time

Not only is it critical to make sure that the right content is delivered, but that it is shared either via marketing or sales at the right stage in the decision-making process.

Early in the decision-making process during the exploration phase, share thought leadership content, webinars, Ebooks, and case studies to help buyers investigate challenges and potential solutions.

In the middle of the decision-making process, during the evaluation phase, value assessment tools and product information are preferred, as buyers seek out content to help understand the potential business value outcomes and narrow solution choices.

In the later stages, buyers prefer and leverage value assessment tools to create a CFO-ready business case, technical documentation, product guides, and implementation guides.

Engage Tech Buyers with Personalized Content

As buying becomes more digital, not only are content type preferences changing, but delivery is advancing as well. Engage tech buyers with the more personalized content they crave. A 2019 Gartner Technology Buying Behavior survey indicates that 96% of respondents were more likely to agree with the statement “I frequently engage with supplier content” when they perceived the content to be personally relevant to them.

Personal relevance of communications includes information that:

  • looks different for your buyer
  • contains references to your buyer
  • explains how the info relates to your buyer’s priorities
  • provides information when needed
  • explains how the purchase benefits your buyer, and
  • contextualizes information for your buyer’s business concerns.

One way to personalize content is to make it interactive. That means providing content based on the buyer persona, their industry, and the challenges they want to learn more about. Tune the insights, challenges, use cases, recommendations, and success stories to match.

Presentations and content where the buyer and seller can “choose their own adventure”, exploring vignettes about their challenges and use cases, are popular, engaging, and effective.

The Bottom Line

Gartner’s research clearly indicates that a content gap between what buyers need to help facilitate their decision-making and what technology solution providers deliver exists.

Buyers are demanding more consultative and advisory content, especially value assessment tools. Ensure you provide the right content at the right time to help guide an ever more complex process and make content more personalized and interactive.

Technology solution providers that effectively engage tech buyers with this content see a dramatic increase in sales performance compared to those who rely on traditional content and formats.

Need help creating content that sells? Download our guide How to Create an Effective Virtual Sales Presentation to get started.

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