B2B Demand Generation | What would you do if you were named Chief Marketing Officer?
Find New Customers is pleased to present this guest post by Kenny Madden of Spiceworks. I really like it because he asks actual buyers what they would do if they were Chief Marketing Officer.The comments here should ring true to all marketers – don’t BS us, build relationships, stop selling, etc.
We’re featuring a lot of great guest bloggers this summer. In addition to Kenny, we featured Joe Pulizzi of Junta42 and Content Marketing World – Developing an Integrated Content Marketing Strategy that Works. More to come.
We hope you enjoy it. We thank Kenny and invite you to check out his profile below the post.
After spending several years selling both enterprise & SMB infrastructure software I thought I had a good handle on selling and marketing to the tech professional. However, after spending the last 3 years engaging with a community of1.6 Million IT buyers, I realize I there is still a massive disconnect between IT marketers and IT buyers. Instead of me voicing my opinions (which I’ve learned are irrelevant ) I decided to ask 5 IT technology buyers what they would do if they were the CMO of a IT Vendor.
If you were CMO of a tech vendor. What would you advise you’re your sales and marketing teams to do more effectively when selling to the technology buyer?
IT Professional #1:
Get beyond cold calling lead generation and do warm lead generation. We as IT decision makers are overwhelmed with people following the old model of get a name, make a call, set a follow up, call back, make a pitch, keep calling sales and marketing. For marketers to follow this model requires a large time investment, you have to run a campaign to get leads, then sort and categorize and finally follow up. The bad part is most of these are cold leads and the sales rate is low. Instead of spending this time churning through business cards and registration lists look for ways to have conversations with potential customers. By simply talking to people informally at events or in online communities, you can see who is interested in what you are doing right now, who are potential prospects, and who are not in need of what you are doing at this time. Show competence, build trust, and engage. Form a true partnership, one where the vendor and partner have a mutually beneficial relationship based on trust and working effectively together, not a pseudo partnership based on being the person they usually buy from.
IT Professional #2:
Be upfront about the technology and pricing. Don’t make me jump through hoops to find out if it will work and how much it will cost.
IT Professional #3:
Help the customer don’t just think about the sale. For me if a vendor helped me go through the process, did things on my terms and did not hassle me – especially when their product didn’t fit my needs then I would consider them in the future I would not not just think “they were a pain to talk to I’m not going to look at them again”. Also I demo your product and it doesn’t do what I want it to when I first look at it, it’s not going to do it when you hard sell it by saying if you go into this hidden menu and press q l and y with your left hand while on your head it will bring up a new menu which allows you to hack into the applications core and make it do what you want. A product should be simple enough for me to look at and go..
IT Professional #4:
I would actually focus on helping your sales people with their tech skills. Not only educate but have them work some (lab type environments) with the technology they are selling. They don’t need to get into the fine details (that’s what engineers are for) but they should have a solid understanding about what they are selling. I would condemn the use of IT buzz words, usage of these words immediately turn the ears off of the people you are trying to reach.
- Sales: I would direct them to focus on developing relationships with their clients. Become their business partner. Learn their business, personal & business interests, likes & dislikes, etc. In other words be their friend. This is the only way you can truly offer solid solutions to them. I would have them focus not on sales, but on developing relationships. With a solid business relationship The sales will come.
- Marketing: Don’t produce Ads that provide little to no information. Ads are created for one purpose, to make the audience unhappy with what they currently have and attract them to what you are selling. But that only works for general public. The ads we need to produce are for professionals. These people are highly technical, professional, business people. The ads need to be adjusted accordingly.
IT Professional #5:
I would advise marketers to spend time on campaigns that keep the company and its solutions in peoples’ minds, not necessarily specific products. As far as sales goes, when someone is inquiring about our product I don’t want them to be pushy but use case studies and examples of why solutions make sense for the customer, especially if the competition includes OSS or free alternatives, as that can be attractive to IT people in order to keep costs down. Fortunately or unfortunately cost is often a major concern with small businesses and their IT projects.
Some great suggestions from a variety of IT professionals, who on average spend $275,000 per year on IT products and services. Folks that might even be some of your prospects.
Kenny Madden works in market development at Austin based Spiceworks, the fastest growing IT social business network. Kenny has spent his career helping accelerate sales of technology products at high growth companies including CA Technologies, Motive and AlterPoint. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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