What to do and what not to do in marketing for senior IT executives. At last year's annual ROI Summit in London, two IT leaders from different industries - nonprofit and big oil - spoke as panelists.   Although they represented opposite industries, there were many similarities in how the panelists researched IT and made decisions that ultimately led to IT purchases.

 The proper data practices to help you always be on the lookout

The buying process is no longer linear and doesn't focus on a single data source. It used to be simpler to: 

(1) identifying a need, 

(2) product sourcing, 

(3) implementation.

But nowadays, IT acquisition becomes part of a company's existing IT ecosystem, and it's changing all the time. Analyzing how a product can be implemented seamlessly and with maximum functionality into the ecosystem is a significant part of the research and decision-making process. IT vendors that help solve this problem end up on the top list.

Another driver of change in the buying process is the essence of the problem encountered. Every purchase begins with the question, "What is the problem?"

1. Is it that something is defective?

2. Is it that the business is changing?

3. That technology is solving a problem you didn't even know you had?

Defining the problem allows you to determine the urgency of the purchase and generally prioritize it within budgetary constraints and the company's overall IT strategy.

For example:

For marketing and sales teams to successfully engage with top executives and their buying teams, they need to arm themselves with the right data to:

1. Identify when an account goes to market based on the frequency and dynamics of activity. Buyers need to establish the root cause of their problem, which requires a study, which is always done by senior leaders and/or their teams. More often than not, this study starts with Google. Since buyers typically perform 12+ searches before getting to a seller's website, you won't even see a significant segment of their buyer journey. However, if you expect the buyer to come to you on their own, it will already be too late. You need to find information about buyer intent to identify the active demand in the marketplace, which you cannot see in your systems as it is being generated. If you identify a dramatic increase in content consumption on specific topics, you can find consumers in the active phase rather than missing out on a shortlist.

2. The suitable sources of information on consumer intent provide insight into current interests, vendors under consideration, and technologies currently installed in companies. A proper understanding of how a given product will fit with the current environment plays a critical role in purchasing. Marketers and sales managers can use intent data to tailor mailings and have productive conversations based on customer and buyer needs.

 Case study analysis plays a crucial role in helping IT leaders build a vendor list

 Comparative data is an integral part of the research that goes into the buying process. Consumers do a tremendous amount of research in an independent environment to make purchasing decisions. By the time they start interacting with you, they assume that you already understand their requirements, which you already have because of the suitable data sources. At this stage, they no longer need questions from you or your sales managers, and they want answers in the form of case studies or proof concepts.

 Prepare to take advantage of case studies late in the promotion and make sure your sales team is set up to interact with customers based on specific facts, according to particular inquiries, and based on successful work with previous customers.

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