It’s difficult to find a company mission statement that doesn’t at least allude to digital transformation, or the application of technology in all aspects of business. The right technology can be a differentiator for any size company. Even small businesses are demanding solutions typically associated with enterprise customers and high-tech firms. Business intelligence and advanced metrics for a donut shop? Why not? Cloud integration for a pet store? Sure. Big data for an online delivery service. Definitely. Advanced security for a law office? Of course!
What does this mean for business-to-business (B2B) technology? First, it’s a huge opportunity. Second, marketers need to figure out how to get customers who aren’t necessarily high level CIOs or IT professionals to connect with highly technical products.
So, how do you engage customers before their eyes have a chance to glaze over? Try the “four P strategy.”
1. Be Prescriptive (the donut shop)
When it comes to complicated solutions, customers want you to show them the way. They want you to show them what success looks like. For instance, if you want to market business intelligence solutions to a small retail business, like a donut shop, show them what life could look like with metrics and visualizations tracking daily sales, monthly costs and quarterly trends. Provide short-term, medium-term and long-term implementation plans. Providing a path that maps to business success takes the focus away from the complexity of the product.
2. Persistence Pays Off (the pet store)
According to Forrester Research, 82 percent of buyers viewed at least five pieces of content from the winning vendor. Providing a constant stream of helpful content will not only help teach the customer about the product, it will help customers become more comfortable with the underlying concepts. A pet store, for example, might struggle at first to understand how cloud integration solutions could help their business. Try engaging them with a short video or a high-level infographic. Next, try an interactive walkthrough or a webinar. You never know which touchpoint will bring them in and help make the sale, so keep trying. The more knowledge you impart through great content, the more likely you are to convert them into a great customer.
3. Personalize Your Approach (the online delivery service)
Of course, this is a good strategy regardless of product, but it is even more important when marketing technology. Don’t make customers wade through multitudes of high-level services for relatable information. If a small online delivery service wants to understand how big data can help grow their business, they don’t need examples of enterprise implementations. Gather information through surveys and target specific needs that will help build a connection between tech and customer. Utilize your best account-based marketing skills to help close the sale. If you can convince the online delivery service that they need big data to quickly and consistently optimize its app, the company will see the immediate value.
4. Be Patient (the law firm)
Marketers are always looking for ways to shorten the buyer’s journey. While it’s certainly important to identify those that are ready to act and move them quickly to close the sale, there are some inherent traits of technology products that can make it difficult.
We’ve already covered how important it is to educate the customer in multiple ways, but it’s important to realize that it can take more time than expected for customers to process that information. Second, technology is typically a big investment that requires more deliberation. It may not be difficult to convince a law firm that security is essential, but it will likely take time to move them to a sale. Give your campaign enough time to nurture them through the consideration phase. Send follow-up emails with incentives and special offers. A big sales opportunity for an expensive product is worth the wait.
If you are prescriptive, persistent, personalized and patient, you can help remove the confusion, indecision, and complexity often associated with selling highly technical products.