Knowing how the tech buy goes down can go a long way toward garnering new customers. As can knowing what NOT to do. Here’s a closer look at a few “don’ts.”
Not too long ago we blogged about UBM Tech’s “Mind of the IT Pro” research survey. More than 400 IT pros were involved in the survey—giving us insights into the collaborative IT purchasing process, and how vendors can influence and profit from understanding that process.
Another quick look at those respondents:
- All have IT purchasing responsibility for at least their department, their work group—or more
- 83% are from IT, 17% from corporate
- Of the IT segment, almost 30% are directors/managers of IT or security.
- The rest of the segment is largely composed of CIO/CTO/SVP , IT staff and IT architects
Best of all, the IT pros we surveyed run the gamut across virtually all industries, ensuring a good breadth of data. From government to manufacturing, telecom to healthcare, financial services to business services to education and more, we discovered a consensus of opinions.
DON’T Miss the Boat
Above all, our survey revealed a real need for speed. When it comes to implementing an IT project—and the purchasing process it entails—IT pros are moving more quickly than ever from one project to the next. Thanks to such diverse phenomena as cloud computing, agile development and always ongoing competitive threats, almost 60% of our respondents said that the time devoted to the implementation of a tech solution has sped up.
The tech purchasing process cycle now usually takes as little as 3-6 months, with very few lasting more than a year. And more than half of those surveyed said that vendors are identified very early in the purchasing process, with only 3-5 vendors making the short list when the time quickly comes to consider RFPs.
The message is clear. DON’T miss the boat. Which means you must be a factor early if you hope to be in the running later. The purchase process is well underway before any contact is initiated with a potential vendor, so it’s important to engage your target audiences with the right kind of informative content to help your chances of being on the short list. Which leads us to…
DON’T Sell. Educate.
Once again, trying to sell too hard to a prospect rather than taking the time to educate them ranked as the runaway winner in determining what to avoid when engaging an IT pro. Some 62% of those surveyed cited it as the leading deal breaker—which means, ironically, that while you need to move quickly and not miss the boat, you also need to exercise patience in observing the tenets of the buying cycle.
That means you must start by creating awareness and recognition, educating your audience with agnostic and objective content that shows an understanding of business needs and technological requirements. Make sure that you’ve laid a good foundation before you finally provide them with content that touts your solution. Above all, don’t oversell—or sell too fast.
DON’T Adequately Address Risk and Compliance
A few more deal breakers emerged in the survey when engaging with vendors in the technology purchasing process:
- 61% pointed to a failure to address risk and compliance
- 55% said the vendor didn’t provide adequate SLAs
- 46% cited a vendor’s reputation tainted by a security breach
- 42% said the vendor didn’t provide adequate ROI info
Other typical comments we received complained about a lack of technical expertise on conference calls, as well as a lack of experience in their particular industry. One respondent said, “They say ‘yes’ to everything we ask without explaining how or why.” And the complaint we heard most often was that “the vendor doesn’t listen to our requirements.”
So to sum up: DON’T miss the boat. DON’T oversell. DON’T fail to provide ROI.
And DON’T listen—if you don’t want to close the deal, that is.