3 Ways to Shorten Sales Cycles Your CEO Will Love
Recently I was poking around TechTarget.com and found
a research brief entitled “Marketing Strategies vs. IT Buyer
Demands” particularly insightful.
Just as it sounds, this brief looked at the factors that help high
tech marketers align their marketing and sales efforts with the
IT buyer’s actual buying timeline.
After reading it, I realized how high tech marketers can either
completely out-market their competition or tragically experience
that fate themselves.
Here are three ideas on how your marketing team can shorten
high tech sales cycles:
Target All Your IT Decision-Making Audiences
One of the revealing bits of data in the “Marketing Strategies vs.
IT Buyer Demands” brief was how we target IT decision makers.
TechTarget tells us that IT buyers take a team approach to
researching, evaluating and purchasing technology products. To
put it in perspective, 96% of decision-making teams include more
than 1 person, with 51% having more than 4 people.
The research also shows there is a common misconception that
many buying decisions related to technology products are made
by senior managers.
In reality, 96% of senior IT managers say they trust the insight and
research of their team to make a final decision and 65% of decisions
are made by IT staff and IT management.
What does this mean for high tech marketers?
Missed opportunities. TechTarget points out that approximately 50%
of marketers only develop materials for senior IT managers and only
21% focus on all members of the IT department.
Ouch! That is a lot of missed opportunities for something as
preventable as targeting all buying influences in the decision-making
Some influencers such as direct users want to know how the product
or service will be easier to use, others will want to know how long it
will take to fully implement, while more senior managers or senior
managers will be more interested in how much the purchase will tap
their IT spending budget.
Leave some influencers out of the decision making process and your
company will lose sales to your competition who satisfies all concerns
of both influencers and decision makers.
How can you do that?
Give More Relevant Content at The Right Time
It seems like a logical connection that if you address the concerns of
everyone on the decision making team, they will be more likely to buy.
IT buyers are more interested in certain content pieces at completely
different rates throughout the buying cycle.
Give them what the right content at the right stage of their buying
cycle and you’ll speed up your sales cycle.
For example, the research shows white papers are preferred 67%
of the time at the awareness stage, 57% during consideration, and
only 48% at decision-making time.
On the other hand, product trials, vendor comparisons and case
studies round out the most important content pieces by the decision
You might notice that vendor comparisons at the decision stage will
reinforce what was subtly communicated in your white paper; that
your product stands above your competitor’s offering.
Now the vendor comparison can be less subtle by naming competitors
not mentioned in your white paper. What’s next?
Keep Leads Away from Sales Until They Are HOT
Only after targeting all the right influencing audiences and giving each
of them the right content at the right time can you be ready to pass the
lead over to Sales.
Another finding from the “Marketing Strategies vs. IT Buyer Demands”
brief reveals that IT buyers only want contact from Salespeople 7% of the
time after registration completion.
On the other hand, 39% of marketers pass the lead to Sales and make
contact rather than send more relevant content to help make the decision.
Oops! All that work for nothing. No positive result in the end. It’s
unfortunate that more of the most relevant content for each buying stage
would have saved the day.
What are your thoughts on shortening the sales cycle? Let me know your
thoughts in the comments below.