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finding ideas for marketing contentAre your pitches, blogs, videos, podcasts and white papers rehashes of vague buzzwords like transformation and digital?

To avoid pumping out “me-too” messaging, push yourself (and your in-house subject matter experts) to dig deeper and come up with specific, actionable advice for your potential customers.

One great example comes from a story about data analytics on the TechTarget publishing and marketing site. Don’t let the fact it is old (December 2013) stop you from reading it carefully. The subject (data as a corporate asset) is as fresh as ever. More importantly, this story shows how to take a common, even overhyped, topic and bring fresh, compelling insight to it.

The secret: Asking tough questions based on real-world experience with customers — the kind your sales, support and marketing staff get every day.

Five Meaty Questions

After describing the new (as of 2013) trend of older industries such as manufacturing using Big Data, the piece gets to the good stuff – a five question quiz one vendor asks CIOs to see if they’re serious about treating data as a corporate asset.  The questions include “Are you allocating funding to data, just as you would for other corporate assets?” “Do you measure the cost of poor, missing or inaccurate data?” and “Do you understand the “opportunity cost” of not delivering timely and relevant data to your business?”

While each question has a “marketing spin” (a “yes” answer makes them a better prospect) each is also valuable because they help a prospect understand the real-life challenges of implementing new technology.  Note that each question:

  • Drills beneath good intentions to coldly measure how committed a customer really is. (How much are you willing to spend on this new technology?”)
  • Talks about the non-technical issues that often derail IT projects. (Does this initiative have its own budget?)
  • And describes specific processes (such as measuring the cost of poor quality data and the “opportunity cost” of not delivering high quality data) that can improve how a customer implements the new technology.

Providing detailed insights like this helps establish you as a trustworthy, experienced technology provider and makes it more likely customers will listen when you come to them with a more product-specific pitch.

Finding the Nuggets

Now, how do you wring such insights from your sales, marketing or product support staffs? Whether the subject is Big Data, security, containers or any other buzzword of the week, ask them questions like:

  • How do you know a prospect is serious about our product or service rather than just going through the motions?
  • What are the non-technical factors (such as budget, corporate culture, office politics or management processes) that make implementation of our product succeed or fail?
  • What words, phrases or questions do you hear from a customer or prospect that tell you working with them will be a nightmare, or a pleasure?

The answers to these questions are your “raw material.”  Your next steps are to decide which of the answers are most valuable and relevant, flesh them out with real-world examples and follow up questions from your SMEs, and don’t publish until you can provide detailed, specific and actionable recommendations.

Do all that, and you’re not just another echo chamber in the IT hype factory. You’ll deliver usable, actionable content that will keep your prospects reading — and buying.

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

My Kingdom for a Better Sales Pitch

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bigstock-Man-Standing-On-Street-Is-Aski-132268082A political fund-raising call I got the other day ended very badly. No, not because I wound up screaming at the caller, or even because I didn’t contribute.

It ended badly because the organization almost lost my contribution by boring me with a bland, “one size fits all” script and forcing me to go on-line afterwards to contribute, rather than letting the caller easily send me a follow up email.

The same happens all the time with B2B sales campaigns. Here’s what went wrong and how voters, and customers, could more easily vote with their wallets.

The Rigid Sales Script

I got the political fund-raising call when I was 1) busy working and 2) out of the country and thus charged mega-bucks for every minute of phone time. I tried to tell the caller I was interested but couldn’t take the call, and even offered my email address as a sincere expression of interest.

But the telemarketer sounded completely confused and continued with what was obviously a pre-programmed spiel. I wound up, unfortunately, hanging up on him. The script from which he was working, and his call center system, probably wouldn’t let him easily grab my email and send a follow up note with an easy link to contribute.

I wound up finding the organization’s Web site and contributing, but someone less motivated wouldn’t have. In addition, my call will be recorded as a “hang up” (and a failure) rather than a success (by reminding me of an organization I chose to contribute to.) That makes it harder for this political organization to track the effectiveness of its call banks vs. email or other communication channels, or to link my contribution to the call.

The One Size Fits All Script

The second mistake was that the “sales pitch” began with a general, high-level reference to themes from the previous night’s convention coverage. But just as product pitches need to tell me exactly how the product will help me, this call never got specific. What would have been even more compelling would be something like this:

As you know, funding for the endangered sea turtle will be a critical issue in the next Congress.  Rep. Joe Kelp in Maine’s 2nd congressional district is head of the natural resources subcommittee that will vote on such funding early next year, and is in a tight race with his challenger, Harriet Treecutter. We need only another $125,000 to fund a targeted direct-mail campaign to the 30,000 swing voters who can keep Kelp in this important chairmanship and move this funding forward next year. We’re currently $78,000 of the way there. Will you move us forward with another $50 contribution? If so, we’ll update you in three weeks with the results of the campaign.

And how would the organization know I care about the sea turtle? That’s where all the Big Data, micro-segmentation of voters we keep hearing about comes in. If you know what I care about (as a voter or a tech buyer) tell me very specifically what my contribution (or purchase) will do based on my specific desires.

The Turn-Off Follow-Up

Since contributing, I get almost daily emails form this group with subject lines like “BRUTAL loss,” “DANGEROUSLY behind,” and (which I love) “you haven’t answered.” Even in this election year, the sky can’t be calling every day – and it’s not my job to answer unsolicited emails.

What might get more contributions out of me would be an update on the results of the previous voter turnout campaign I helped fund. Tell me how the polls have turned, how many committed voters you have registered, and exactly how you would use my next contribution to make more progress.

In the B2B world, effective follow up means finding out if the customer is using the product, getting value from it, and is aware of how specific add-ons or upgrades could make them more money. For solutions sold in the cloud, sellers can track usage patterns, social media comments and other feedback to tailor their follow-up to each customer, suggesting products and services geared to their specific needs.

But as both an IT customer, and an involved voter, I keep seeing clumsy, unfocused and just plain irrelevant offers. In these days of Big Data and personalized messaging, why can’t we do better?

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

When to Stop Nagging and Other PR Questions

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how to pitch editors and bloggersWhat is the best way to pitch a writer – by phone or email? When should I stop calling to ask if you’ve seen my pitch? How much editorial control do vendors exercise over custom content sites?

Those were among the questions I got at a recent lunchtime talk at a Boston-area PR firm. I was invited to describe how I operate, as a blogger and free-lance writer, and how PR pros can work most effectively with folks like me.

For all of you who weren’t there for the pizza and my presentation (which you can download here,  complete with samples of PR pitches done right and wrong), here’s a synopsis:

Q: When is the best time to contact you with a pitch?

Q: There are no good or bad times, as my work schedule is completely unpredictable. Since I don’t cover a beat for a trade publication, or have a regular story submission schedule, there are no regular “deadlines” to work around. On the other hand, I often go from calm to overbooked within hours. What’s more important than the timing is the form of a pitch. (See question below.)

Q: What is the best way to contact you – email or phone?

A: Email. Phone calls are an intrusive interruption, no matter what I’m working on. Given the low likelihood a pitch will turn into an interview or, much less, a story the interruption usually isn’t worth my time, or, frankly, that of the PR person.

Q: What kind of story idea pitches are you interested in?

A: Right now, none. When I write for trade publications (click here to subscribe to my email update on such stories) it’s always based on an assignment from them. Pitching stories isn’t something I typically do, as it requires a lot of up-front work with an uncertain likelihood of a return. For other writers, though, that might not be the case. A quick email asking if they’re open to such story idea pitches, and what areas they’re most interested in, could be worthwhile.

Having said that, some vendor-sponsored sites such as TechBeacon (sponsored by HP Enterprise) ask writers to come up with a steady stream of story pitches in a specific area such as security or DevOps. The difference here is that the Web site promises a regular stream of work, as long as the writer does a good enough job pitching. To get your sources exposure on these sites, treat them like a trade pub: Monitor what your target editor and others are writing about on the site and pitch accordingly. If these sites offer a handy “trending” or “what’s popular” list all the better, as that shows you the topics the editors will want more coverage of.

Q: How much editorial control does the vendor have over a site they sponsor?

A: This varies based on the site and whether the aim is to generate high-level visibility and thought leadership or to generate short-term leads. In my experience, most vendors downplay their sponsorship and hire IT trade press veterans to run the site. They want the site to look and feel more like a trade pub than a marketing site, tracking what stories visitors read to generate profiles and score them as leads.

Q: How do we pitch ideas or sources to editors of such sites?

A: First, make sure your idea or source can provide information that is original, detailed and timely (download my content quality control check list here). Then, make sure your source isn’t a direct competitor of the site sponsor, or that their messaging doesn’t contradict that of the vendor. You wouldn’t want to, for example, pitch a story about the continued value of tape storage to a vendor that just dumped their tape business.

The good news: Some complementary vendors are featured regularly in such sites (see one example here.) If in doubt, this is one time where a detailed, specific query to the site editor is worthwhile and shows you’re doing your homework.

Q:  I emailed you a pitch and you didn’t respond. How often should I call to check for a response?

A: This was the toughest question and one where I was caught in a lie. My immediate response was “Don’t call or email me again – if I’m interested I’ll call you.”  But one of the PR pros reminded me that sometimes such nudges have reminded me of a good idea I overlooked at first glance, or of a source I didn’t need when first pitched but can use as my deadline looms.

Bottom line advice: If you really think your idea or source is strong, limit the nudging to one email per week, focusing specifically on why you think it’s a good fit and asking what, if anything, could make it stronger. Then it’s in the editor’s hands to be courteous enough to at least respond.

Even if we can’t do lunch, email me your questions about best PR practices (or anything else) and I’ll answer them in a future post.

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

To Stand Out, Find Your “Micro Niche”

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how identify target customer content marketingGot a sinking feeling your marketing copy is too “me too?”

If so, you’re not alone, according to content marketing guru Joe Pulizzi. He did an excellent post earlier this year arguing that many campaigns fail because the material they offer is too much like everyone else’s.

I’m always surprised when I push a client to tell me what makes them different and they tell me (as one did the other week) that “When you really get down to it, all of us do pretty much the same thing.”

Granted, this person works in the execution trenches of a global service provider, which makes it harder for them to take a strategic marketing view. But I really had to push them to describe the software tools and skills that help them win deals from the competition.

Niches Within Niches

Pulizzi has some excellent suggestions to fix this. Among them is the need to focus more closely on your specific market niche. I’d go further and say every business has a hyper-niche or it wouldn’t exist. Some of these hyper-niches, and their marketing implications might be:

  • Geographic: “We’re the only bar on the coast within ten miles of a popular beach.” Promote how easy you are to find and plaster the walls with local memorabilia and photos.
  • Skills: “We restore 18th century books, which requires specific skills to deal with the chemicals used in making them.” Show before/after examples and blog about how different types of 18th century paper age over time.
  • Geographic plus skills: “We do pest control in southwest Florida, where the breezes from the Gulf of Mexico bring in pests you won’t see anywhere else.” Blog about those local pests, the damage or diseases they cause and how to fight them.
  • Geographic plus skills plus real-time insights: “We sell real estate north of Boston. We have unique insights into what the latest plans for a rapid transit extension mean for housing prices along the route.” Blog  about your thoughts or, better still, develop an interactive map showing projected price spikes in each community.

Enough About Pests. How About Tech?

If bars, pest control services and realtors and differentiate themselves, so can we in the supposedly sexier tech industry. Try these hyper niches:

  • Customer service: “We put a director-level manager on site to manage our projects with you, and to coordinate with our off-shore team.” Link to bios of these on-site managers and case studies of how they sped implementation and reduced costs for your clients.
  • Geographic plus customer service: “As the only full-service Cisco partner in the Mid-Coast, we can reach your office within two hours with the equipment needed to restore your network.” Link to an interactive map showing travel time from your your site to local customers, and to  testimonials about the quality of your local service.
  • Skills: “We find the right human resources management software for you by evaluating not only different products, but your corporate culture.” Link to an interactive guide telling customers which platform best fits their needs in “soft” areas such as collaboration, quality of life and employee empowerment.
  • Real-time market insights: “With the sudden upsurge in demand for “digital” branding, we’re seeing massive confusion over what this means and how to explain your message.” Provide your own insights* for writing about digital in ways that drive sales.)
  • Skills plus real-time market insight: “We monitor the current performance and price of cloud providers such as Rackspace, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure and proactively recommend when to shift from one to another.” Link to a free sample assessment and case studies of how you helped others.

Differentiate Thyself

Given the complexity of technology, the rapid pace of change and the wide range of customers, there are plenty of micro-niches for us to work with – if we put in the time and work to identify and then exploit them.  To get started, download my free checklist for evaluating the  depth, originality and timeliness of your content.

*Shamelessly self-serving link to my own site.

 

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.
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Businessman Keeping Protective CaseDragging real insights out of subject matter experts (SMEs) for white papers can sometimes seem like pulling teeth. One of the most common excuses I get is some variation on “We don’t want to give too much of our solution away.”

In other words, if you share too much of your intellectual property (IP) with the customer about how you can solve their problem, they won’t call because there’s nothing left to talk about. That never made much sense to me. When it comes to software, the more completely you describe the problem and your solution to it, the more likely a customer is to buy. (Are they going to go off and re-code your software themselves?) And if you’re selling services, every customer is unique enough that even the longest white paper won’t teach them how to do what you do.

I’ve always urged my clients to go big with the details describing how they’re so smart and their competitors are clueless. Here’s how a recent white paper from security vendor Cybereason (no, not written by me) did a brilliant job of promoting their expertise by going deep into the details.

Dirty Rotten DGAs

Cybereason provides a “real-time attack detection and response platform that uses endpoint data to detect and remediate simple and complex threats.” To showcase the specific skills they bring to this somewhat generic area, a recent white paper shared what they learned about a specific type of attack called Domain Generation Algorithms (DGAs.)

DGAs get around conventional security software that blocks down malicious domains by, as the name implies, generating as many as a thousand fake domains per day. Here, in my view, is what Cybereason did right in educating its prospects about them.

If You Know It, Flaunt It

If your internal experts are good at their jobs, they’re the best source for compelling content. In this white paper, Cybereason relied heavily on its own work finding and fighting DGAs. You may not have an in-house security lab, but you probably have:
Field engineers who see common configuration errors customers make with your hardware or software.
Salespeople with insights into what tools, technologies or issues are most important to customers and why.
Your own engineers who have creative ideas about what new capabilities customers might like and could use a reality check by blogging about them and asking for feedback.

Lesson: Don’t underestimate the amount of valuable insights within your own organization and don’t be afraid to share them.

Grisly Details, Please

Just like in a movie or book, it’s the details that make your story real. Rather than cower in fear it was giving away proprietary goodies, Cybereason dove deep into the workings of eight DGAs ranging from “Necurs” to “Pykspa” to “Unknown Punycode-like.” It shared everything from screenshots to examples of fake domains and the associated country codes, including .ga (Gabon), .im (Isle of Man) and .sc (Seychelles). Note this is detailed information you could argue a customer could use without buying their product. But in reality, this level of detail does more to describe the urgent need for a solution like Cybereason’s than eliminate the need for it.

Lesson: Share the real-world details that show you know your stuff.

Don’t Forget the Newbies

Before the deep technical details, Cybereason set the stage with a review of where DGAs fit in the overall security picture (by establishing command and control over the affected system.) It also explained why DGAs are so hard to detect with traditional security methods.

This context and background is essential because not all of your prospects (or everyone involved in the purchase) will have a deep background in security. SMEs are often so close to their subject matter that they dive right in with acronyms, formulae and frameworks before telling the reader why they should care.

Lesson: Write the white paper so your significant other, spouse or parent could get the point.

A Real Screen Turner

Overall, this white paper felt almost like a news story and kept me reading. If anything, it could have been a bit more promotional with more details on how Cybereason fights these pests. But that can be the hook for the next white paper.

Have you found “more is better” in sharing your smarts or did you get more follow-ups by leaving prospects wanting more?

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.
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transformationMany marketers talk “transformation” but fewer can deliver it – or even define it. Look beneath the covers, and what sounds so impressive turns out to be only incremental cost-cutting.

But one recent case study I wrote for a global professional services company got me thinking of the “T” word. The reason: The “transformation” we described delivered substantial, ongoing improvements as well as permanent changes in how their customer operated.

Angle One: Beyond Cost-Cutting

That customer was a major telecommunications provider with hundreds of applications and tens of thousands of servers and databases. It was looking for a new outsourcer to take over and improve its operations, cut its operating costs by at least 30% and reduce the number of service outages and the delays in fixing them.

What makes this “transformation: The goals went beyond just reducing the costs of normal IT operations. The customer wanted fundamental change and improvement in the quality of service the business providers its customers.  

Angle Two: Working Differently

The customer’s goals included overhauling many of its internal processes. This included improving communications among its internal and external support staff, increased consistency among their support processes and establishing and enforcing service level agreements (SLAs). The customer also wanted its support group to be able to scale up the amount and type of services it provides. On the measurement side, the customer needed to assess the outsourcer’s work by its impact on the business, not just IT. One example: The ability to easily ramp up infrastructure to meet the traffic needs of big revenue-generating events such as major league games or concerts.

What makes it “transformation?” Making permanent, significant changes in internal work processes, not just doing the same old things a bit more quickly or inexpensively.

Angle Three: Ongoing Benefits

The customer wanted the service provider to do 15 percent more work while reducing costs by 15 percent each year. The service provider is achieving this through, among other things, increased automation of IT processes and shifting from a traditional time and material model to managed services linked to business needs.  The service provider also has a road map for taking on the support of additional systems, is broadening its SLAs to cover additional metrics, and training first-level service teams to handle more problems.

What makes it “transformation?” Improvements that keep giving over time, not just a one-time cost or performance boost.

Uncovering the “Transformative” Angles

In working with clients or your internal subject matter experts, try these questions to better uncover how you’re doing “transformation” for your white papers, case studies and other collateral.

  • How are we permanently changing our customer’s systems or processes for the better?
  • How will our product and services deliver ongoing (not just one-time) benefits for the customer?
  •  What is fundamentally new and different for the customer after the implementation of our product or service?
  •  Draw “before” and “after” pictures of the customer’s systems, processes or business structure to show what you’ve changed. If you don’t see much difference between the two, make sure you’ve captured all the real changes by re-asking the questions above.

And finally, if it ain’t transformation, don’t pretend it is. As Gartner noted several years ago, transformation can sour outsourcing deals by leading customers to expect more than they’re really getting.

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

Stop the Video Madness!

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when to use video If I have to sit through another vendor video full of bouncy music, cute special effects and a happy-talk narrator when I’m trying to learn something I’m going to scream.

And I’m not (just) speaking selfishly as someone that still gets most of their assignments producing old-fashioned word documents rather than video. I’m speaking as an information consumer that, just like one of your prospects, needs to quickly learn about new technology, rather than be “entertained.”

Almost everyone uses video in B2B sales these days. But here are six ways it gets in the way of educating these busy customers and steers them to your competitors.

  1. They have to wait for the video to load and buffer.
  2. They have to sit through the afore-mentioned theme song, graphics, cute jokes or happy talk before they hear anything worthwhile.
  3. Once the voice-over starts they need to toggle between the video and their word processor to take notes. (No way to easily cut and paste information as they can with text.)
  4. If the customer misses an important point, or the speaker mumbles or speaks too quickly, they have to rewind the video to listen again. This usually takes two or three tries to get to the right place in the video, forcing them to sit through the same video again and again.
  5. There’s no way to quickly scroll through the content to find what they need. With video, you force the customer to sit through the whole conversation before finding if their question was answered.
  6. The content is often presented out of sequence or full of vague jargon such as “solution,” “optimize,” “transform” and “digital.” The reason: The vendor didn’t properly script the interview and prepare the presenter, meaning they had to choose from whatever good video they got. With text, there’s more opportunity to push for more detail and reorder the content to focus on the most important points.

When Video Works

Having gotten that off my chest, here is where video is as good as, or even better than plain old text.

  1. When you have emotionally or visually engaging images to help tell your story. Think of showing patients helped by your Big Data diagnostic software, the factory equipment that stays running thanks to your Internet of Things sensors, or customers responding to real-time offers from your marketing software on their smartphones.
  2. When a moving image helps explain the process improvements you delivered or the unique benefits of your technology. Think of before and after flow charts showing agile application development, how Big Data analysis finds security breaches and how your advanced algorithms improve route planning.
  3. And when you have that rare articulate, passionate speaker whose presentation and presence adds to, rather than harms, your ability to tell a good story.

Being an old fuddy-duddy, I’m probably missed other areas where video trumps the written word. But for someone (like a customer) that needs to find very specific information very quickly, I beg you to at least offer them a transcript of the video so they can scan it quickly rather than sit through your entire spiel.

Anyone else out there agree that video can be incredibly annoying, or do I need to lighten up and enjoy the show?

 

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

Tailoring Content to the IT Buying Cycle

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content marketing for IT vendorsIt’s no surprise that the IT sales cycle is getting longer and more complex, with more and more players involved all the time. The move to “digital” means not only IT, but sales, marketing, operations and finance is and should be involved in everything from setting requirements to agreeing on budgets.

But specifically what content do each of these players need, at what stage in the sales cycle, and for what type of IT product?

To the rescue comes business networking site LinkedIn, with a survey of how 8,600 professionals in 11 countries purchase four types of products: Hardware for end users, software for end users, hardware for the data center and software for the data center. While it’s a long (76 pages) read, (and covers only products, not services) its well worth the time if you’re looking to fine-tune content in these four categories.

Until you download the report, some highlights.

The Problem

The report found that IT sales are getting more competitive, with less than one in five large companies even willing to consider a new vendor. That makes it even more important, if you’re trying to crack a new account, to engage everyone involved in the purchase with engaging, relevant content.

Across all four product categories, the critical “vendor selection” stage typically involves four or more people, with any individual often engaged in more than one stage at any time. For every product type, the three stages that involve the most players are 1) the up-front needs assessment, 2) determining specifications and budget, and 3) implementation.

Although many vendors don’t consider this last, post-sales period part of the sales process, it’s actually critical, according to LinkedIn. That’s when, the report says, those who chose their product “…are very exposed and vulnerable…and need to know that the vendor” is there to help them prove to their bosses that they made the right product choice. Successful customers are more likely to stick with you for upgrades, and to recommend you to their peers – word-of-mouth that is often the most effective form of advertising in this social media age.

Some Suggestions

With my analysis in italics:

  • When talking to the finance types who influence the sale, “Be up front about the costs of implementation, not only financially, but also in disruption of productivity or operational downtime.” I think such honesty is a compelling draw for customers. But good luck getting your product managers to fess up to this, or your other customers to share such painful data.
  • Customers researching end-user software prefer Webinars over white papers. Makes sense as it lets the customer see the software, not just read about it. Webinars also makes it easier to get user feedback.
  • In the implementation stage, customers “…are the hungriest for rich content and information (but) are rather quiet” about asking for it. “Make it easy for them to self-educate and learn on their own. Maybe we should ask our technical writing peers for help with implementation guides, FAQs, best practices and ROI calculators to offer customers after, as well as before, the sale.
  • Data center hardware buyers are very closed to new vendors, and “prefer in-depth articles and engineering terminology over events, conferences or social media…” Ramp up the geek speak, but team your CTO or engineers with professional writers so their insights can also be shared with less technical folks on the evaluation committee.
  • Buyers of data center software find events and conferences more valuable as they move from determining the need to defining specifications and budgets. In-person schmoozing is where you get the real dirt about what works and what deals you can get from vendors. Rather than fight this, maybe facilitate it with your own networking events for customers?

Brave New Whirl

This is all a far cry from the relatively simple days (if they ever existed) of finding “the IT decision maker” and hammering them into submission over lunch or golf. It also makes for quite an uphill struggle, when so many companies struggle to produce enough content to support simpler sales cycles.

What’s your take on whether the buying cycle is indeed this complex, and on LinkedIn’s recommendations for navigating it?

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.
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