Don’t call me, I’ll call you
Findings from a marketing study released yesterday by MarketingSherpa and KnowledgeStorm say that IT buyers are twice as likely to give vendors a valid email address than a valid phone number. Working with client demand generation programs in the IT market, these findings came as no surprise to me. It is a trend we have been seeing for quite some time, but these numbers do validate what has become a reality for many marketers – you are no longer in control of the IT Purchasing relationship. IT Buyers have more sources of information at their fingertips than ever before to perform research and educate themselves regarding your product – without ever speaking to a representative from the company. Armed with the information they need, IT Pros can afford to pick and choose when and in what format they want to engage with you – and by all reports its not via phone. If you have ever asked a question on a registration form that asks if you want to be contacted by a sales representative, you already know this.
So what are the new rules of engagement within a changed dynamic? There are many, but here are a few thoughts to start:
- Understanding that the user is in control of the engagement dictates that content and marketing efforts be designed with utility in mind.
- During initial follow-up to online responses, it is best to “stay within the medium.” Downstream lead nurturing should also be conducted online until you are able to build trust with your prospect. Again, utility is key to building trust throughout the nurturing process.
- If at all possible, avoid blanket telequalification. There are certain “hot” leads that require immediate phone follow-up but as the study suggests, these are a smaller percentage of your leads. Putting all leads through telequalifying runs the risk of turning away many potential buyers downstream.
If you have any information or insight to share about marketing within this new buying framework, we would love to hear your thoughts.