No matter what you sell or who you sell it to in 2015, you have to assume that you're dealing with well-informed buyers. Even the average consumer, with little more on the line than personal satisfaction, can easily research any product, service, or company in which they have interest. Your average B2B buyer will be even better informed, especially when they represent a tech company that slants naturally toward modern purchasing and distribution channels.
Reaching the B2B tech buyer starts long before first contact is made. With the right sales and marketing tactics, you can leverage current purchasing habits to the benefit of your business. Let's take a look at five practical, actionable sales tactics you can use to reach and convert purchasers from B2B tech companies.
1. Respect the research process
No matter which B2B survey you prefer, one clear trend has emerged over the last few years. Customers spend more time researching products than ever, and they start long before they ever reach out to your company directly. That might sound dire. It's not.
You can put your company in position to be a trusted part of that research process, with some careful lead generation and sales tactics. The key is to offer valuable content in the places where it will be seen. By embracing SEO, you fit your content naturally into the prospect's research pattern and generate qualified sales leads. Quality content builds trust and goodwill in prospects.
2. Go where they're looking
There's a pretty widespread misconception that B2B purchasers don't use social media for research purposes. That's simply not true. While social may not be the first place to pour your resources, its presence is a reality of the modern purchasing cycle. And it's not just a place to chase sales. Your social accounts can provide some of the same trust and relationship-building benefits as your content.
It's also good to remember that each social network caters to a different audience. You might not find many B2B buyers conducting intense research through Facebook, but visit LinkedIn and you'll see a totally different story. So consider adding social to your sales tactics, but do it in a focused way to avoid wasting time.
3. Warm leads up with content
Sometimes, simply offering useful information is not enough to get the job done. It turns out that B2B buyers, like most Web users, are more likely to share certain types of content than others. Among text-based content, blog posts are the safest bet to be shared. The lesson there is that readers prefer relatively short, easily scanned content.
Teach your sales team to share content to warm leads up. Share relevant blog posts to help them understand the problems they're facing. Share case studies to show them how you've helped others solve problems. With good content that solves problems, you create sales-qualified leads that are ready to talk about buying your solution and are receptive to sales outreach.
4. Embrace modern communication channels
Try to give buyers as many methods as possible for contacting you, within reason. This is especially important when targeting tech buyers, who are likely familiar with the wide variety of channels for making direct contact. If your buyer prefers to chat through instant-messaging through their favorite social channel, or through video chat, why not accommodate them? Limit your contact options to traditional channels, and you might miss out on your most tech-savvy potential buyers.
5. Recognize their research
We've talked about positioning your content so that it's part of your target's research process, but there's more to it than that. If your customer spends a lot of time researching, even through a website other than your own, it's important to recognize that effort. In other words, give your buyers some credit when it's time to speak directly.
In the modern buying cycle, the sales rep's role is often to answer questions with clarity and confidence, rather than to explain everything outright. If a buyer comes to you with a fully researched purchasing plan, trying to upsell might spoil the sale entirely. Be sure to consider where your customer is coming from before you plan your strategy for closing the deal.
Variety in sales tactics is the real key to reaching the B2B tech buyer. You want to give them as many means as possible for learning about your company, and for contacting you when the time comes. The best way to accomplish this is by getting sales and marketing on the same page. Your inbound sales and marketing tactics will overlap, and collaboration is the surest bet to get the most out of both.