Tech CEOs Must Reorient Product Messaging to Business Priorities. Here's How.

March 22, 2021

Contributor: Ashutosh Gupta

Reorient your overall messaging and differentiation strategies to address the business priorities of multiple buying teams.

See the latest:Tech CEOs: Grow and Expand Your Business

In short:

  • As tech CEOs anticipate increasing demand for technology solutions, they need to pivot their messaging and differentiation strategy around buyers’ business priorities. 
  • Your product and service positioning should be purpose-driven and focus on increasing revenue, improving employee productivity and customer experience, building new business models and delivering new digitally enabled products.
  • Target multiple buying teams such as IT departments and line-of-business (LOB) leaders who look for cost-effective IT operations and solutions that deliver the best business outcomes, respectively.

The current disruptive environment is creating uncertainties as well as opportunities for technology companies. With disruption being the “new normal,” tech CEOs need to forecast and set targets for the upcoming fiscal year, realign their operational, product and marketing strategy, and create more focused messaging to address business priorities of buyers. 

In the Gartner Technology Service Provider (TSP) Strategic Planning Survey of Tech CEOs (of small or medium technology businesses), 50% of respondents indicated that in 2020, they made a minor shift in their differentiation strategy; 29% stated they made a major shift. Eighty-one percent of respondents expect an increase in demand for their solutions in 2021 compared to 2020.

The action plan for tech CEOs

Given the expected increase in demand from existing and new customers, be prepared to change your messaging and differentiation strategies for three reasons:

  • Every competitor is screaming for attention, making it critical to position and message around the value of products, services and solutions.
  • Clients and prospects are focusing on their specific needs. The Gartner Industry Line of Business Buying Survey indicates customer satisfaction and increased revenue growth are the top two priorities of business units.
  • Both business and technology audiences are involved in the decision-making and buying process. As a result, you need to create relevant messaging for multiple buying teams.

Tech CEOs should focus on specific business priorities

Besides lending attention to digital initiatives that improve productivity and reduce costs, emphasize new digital revenue sources and engage more closely with clients and prospects. Your product and service positioning should be purpose-driven, targeting initiatives such as:  

  • Increasing revenue/value
  • Improving employee productivity
  • Creating better customer experience
  • Developing innovative business models that make money in new ways
  • Building operating or service models to deliver value in new ways
  • Delivering entirely new digitally enabled products and services

Your differentiation and messaging strategies should not start with technology, which is just a means to an end. Instead, define a strategy connected to business priorities and then meticulously align your product/service messaging with the “why” behind those priorities.

Download now: Gartner Priorities Navigator™ for Tech CEOs

Tech CEOs must consider multiple buying teams 

Buying teams are a group of personas frequently teamed to drive business or technology initiatives. The grouping is categorized by use cases, industries, operational departments and/or technology domains that can be addressed by multiple products and/or services in the portfolio. The definition and composition of the buying teams are specific to the tech CEOs and their existing portfolio. 

Buyers from different parts of the organization have distinct preferences and needs in the buying journey. For example, those representing business functions tend to be more focused on industry context and outcomes and are less aware of IT buying risks than their IT counterparts. 

Your client segmentation must take into account the type of outcome clients seek, not their understanding of technologies. The Gartner Industry Line of Business Buying Survey shows that the two core buying teams in most enterprises are: 

  1. IT department. Headed by a CIO, the IT department buys emerging technology solutions for its own use. It is also usually involved in buying technology solutions for the rest of the enterprise.
  2. Line of business. (LOB) As technology becomes integral to business processes, LOB leaders are increasingly funding and engaging service providers to implement business technology solutions. They may include IT representatives in their buying process.

Examples of messaging based on personas  

Traditionally, marketing teams position technologies focusing solely on the CIO or other technology leaders. The emergence of cloud-based applications, however, has empowered organizations to adopt new technology solutions independent of IT. Therefore, your strategic messaging must support more immediate needs that create a business-relative narrative.

Your broad set of target audiences can include LOB leaders, sales, marketing, finance and HR, and the messaging for each of these buyers can vary. 

  • For IT buyers, use messaging related to issues such as reducing infrastructure, building scalability, supporting branch operations, speeding up application deployment or hastening disaster recovery. 
  • For business buyers, use messaging around better customer understanding, quicker time to market, ensuring business continuity, positive return on investment or improvement of market expansion. This paves the way for long-term storylines that help to create product and service stickiness in the business as it grows.

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