How to Market to B2B Technology Buyers

Tech and service providers who understand three key rules of B2B technology buying behavior can drive targeted interactions that lead to more high-quality deals.

When it comes to today’s B2B technology buyers, how you market your technology has become as important, if not more so, than what you sell. As a seller, you have to navigate customers’ organizational politics and help them make the business case to others for purchasing your technology. 

This means you must understand who your buyers are and what they want. Who holds the buying and decision-making power? What’s the budget? Is there a COVID-19 impact to consider? If so, what does that look like post-purchase? 

“When you can answer those questions you are better able to help your buyers buy,” says Derry Finkeldey, VP Analyst, Gartner. “As one B2B customer put it, ‘I appreciate a company that is able to create a customized experience to meet the needs of my company.’”

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Gartner has identified three fundamentals of B2B buying behaviors that sellers must understand and adapt to in order to ensure more high-quality deals — those that leave the customer feeling they have received the value they expected from their technology purchase. 

Read more: Technology CEOs: Create Valuable Buyer Urgency for Shorter Sales Cycles

Organizations buy technology in teams

B2B deals of any significance are bought by cross-functional teams, not individuals. This means organizational practices and perspective override individual stakeholder preferences. Selling technology to such teams can be tough to navigate given that the average tech purchase involves between 14-23 people, the majority of who (80%) are in senior operations or product roles. And, as the spend increases, so will the size of the buying team. 

Appeal to the buying team, not the individuals on it. This is not to say you should discount central IT. That team remains vitally important. While the organization will be focused on outcomes, IT will be focused on how those outcomes are achieved. You have to sell to both dimensions.

“Although counterintuitive, having multiple stakeholders from multiple functions on the buying team makes for more high-quality deals — if you have done your job and satisfied them all,” says Finkeldey. “Your customers might not have figured this out, so encourage them to do so.”

Read more: Technology GMs: Adjust Your Product Strategies and Vision for COVID-19

Nothing significant is bought without a business case

Within the enterprise, any tech purchase usually indicates cost and change. The majority of B2B buyers (93%) require a business case for all technology solutions. Organizations need to see that investments will have a measurable impact on their metrics. And although this has become extremely important amid the current crisis, don’t expect the enhanced level of scrutiny to ease off moving forward. 

Buyers are open and looking for help to develop the business case. In fact, successful B2B tech providers participate in business case development in nearly half of all deals. The easier you make it for the customer to buy, the more likely you’ll secure the win. 

Don’t just focus on winning the business. Focus on how to make the customer successful

Start by helping your customers understand how your offering drives organizational-level objectives and why the investment needs to be prioritized now. You want to sell the value of your offering, not its capabilities. Doing so can also help unite diverse stakeholders on the buying team.

 “Show them that your offering is worth any changes it causes,” says Finkeldey. “Most importantly, don’t just focus on winning the business. Focus on how to make the customer successful.”  

Read more: 3 Actions for Cloud Providers to Support Customers Through COVID-19

Organizations struggle to buy technology effectively 

Organizations continue to increase their tech investments, but most struggle to do so effectively. They have difficulty building teams, managing complexity and dealing with competing priorities. According to Gartner research, 74% of B2B tech buyers found the buying process complex; only 27% reported achieving a high-quality deal.

Their challenges create an opportunity for technology service providers. The most successful help customers overcome their buying challenges by sharing these best practices, which reduce the complexities of purchase decisions: 

  • Build confidence in the buying process

  • Visualize the steps to change to capture value from the investment

  • Encourage best practices in decision making and behave as though you are on the decision-making team 

These best practices not only reduce the complexity of the B2B buying process, they inspire better buying that leads to renewal and growth opportunities. 

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Some Gartner clients can learn more in the Executive Summary Video: The Big Book of Technology Buyer Behavior by Derry Finkeldey, et al.

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