- August 14, 2013
- Content Marketing, Demand Generation, Market Intelligence, Sales and Marketing Alignment
Marketer misalignment #1: The IT research and purchasing process
Marketers are always trying to align their strategies with the needs and behaviors of their target audience. Leveraging resources such as research reports, industry experts, success stories of peers all can assist marketers in effectively building their marketing campaigns. With so many resources and insights available, it is sometimes hard to believe how far apart the strategies of tech marketers are from the preferences of IT buyers.
This will be the first of a series of posts exposing the misalignments between tech marketers and the IT professionals responsible for researching technology products, solutions and vendors at their organizations. All the findings discussed in these posts are taken from TechTarget’s latest Media Consumption Report, Marketing strategies vs. IT buyer demands. The first misperception that tech marketers have is the amount of time IT buyers have to conduct research, build their short-list and make a purchase decision.
Globally, the research and purchasing process for IT buyers is, on average, only six months or less. Prior to 2011, this process has always been between six and twelve months. With the rise of leveraging online sources such as IT-related editorial and vendor websites, social communities and events, IT buyers are self-educating themselves on the solutions and providers that will best match their technology needs, with little to no interaction with vendors (we’ll be discussing that in later posts). This self-education is allowing decisions to be made at an accelerated rate. However, this concept appears to be lost on many marketers in regards to how they are planning their nurturing process.
While 74% of IT buyers have a research and purchasing process of six months or less, 43% of marketers indicate that the time from first identifying a lead (often from one interaction or interest indicator) to closing a sale takes more than six months. So what does this disparity mean? Are marketers aligning their nurturing strategies incorrectly to the accelerated rate that IT buyers need to consume content to make an informed decision about a vendor or solution? Or are marketers identifying leads too early and passing them to their sales rep rather than nurture them at all?
Regardless of the reason, there are changes to be made. One, marketers need to adjust their mindsets and provide more content to nurture IT buyers in the quest to self-educate themselves at an accelerated pace. Second, if you are immediately passing on leads after one download or engagement, stop and nurture. IT buyers want content that explains your solution, your expertise, and your competitive advantage to guide them through this process. Having your sales reps step in right away is proving to be a lost cause. Nurture your leads with content, but do it faster!