Marketing That Works For Complex Technology Sales

Posted by Joanna Conti on January 12, 2015 in Technology Marketing



Selling complex high tech products and services has always been challenging.  Not only are you often trying to convince people to pay a lot of money for technology they do not fully understand, but you are also dealing with multiple decision-makers who focus on different aspects of the purchase decision:

  • The primary concern of the technology buyer is performance-related – “Will the product solve the problem we’re experiencing?” and “Is this the best solution for our company?”
  • The economic buyer is primarily concerned with return on investment and how long the purchase will take to pay out
  • The end-user is focused on ease of use issues, such as how confusing will the product  be to learn and how difficult will it be to use on a day-to-day basis

Most Technology Buyers Avoid Sales Reps. Early In the Buying Process

These challenges have always been intrinsic to technology sales.  What has changed in recent years is buyer behavior.  Rather than picking up the phone early in the process and asking for help, research shows that most B2B buyers today will be more than half-way through their buying process before they will agree to speak to any sales representatives.

Today’s high tech buyers start by educating themselves online.  They will spend a lot of time browsing through your website and those of your competitors in an attempt to learn everything they can about the technology and to narrow down their search to the few companies which seem to have the best understanding of and solutions to their problem.  If your website doesn’t communicate these two things in a simple, compelling way, you stand a good chance of losing a potential sale without even realizing that the company was in the market for a product or service like yours.

Build Relationships with Buyers on Their Terms

This relatively-recent change in buyer behavior requires technology companies to drastically change their marketing approach.  Rather than relying on ads in trade magazines, trade show exhibits and cold-calling to generate leads, you need to focus on creating compelling, easy-to-understand content for your website that persuasively answers the different types of questions buyers are asking. 

For most companies, shifting to a content marketing approach requires not just the development of lots of new content for your website, but also a change in its tone.  Buyers aren’t interested in how great you think your product is or the awards you’ve won.  They want to know that you understand and care about the problems that are keeping them up at night.   Only then will they include you on their short list of potential providers.

Make Sure Your Marketing Addresses Key Emotional Concerns

This is not to say that you shouldn’t talk about your products at all.  You do need to communicate the unique and valuable benefits your product offers, but this needs to be done from the buyer’s frame of reference, not yours.  In addition to describing the complex differences between products in simple terms, your marketing needs to subtly address the key emotional factors that might keep any of the decision-makers from recommending your solution, especially:

  • The fear of making the wrong decision
  • A lack of confidence about achieving the forecasted ROI
  • Concern about whether your company can be trusted to deliver on your promises
  • A belief that the status quo isn’t so bad, so they can delay in investing in a solution for now

The strongest way to address these emotional concerns is to back up your claims with compelling case studies, instructional videos, and customer testimonials.

Developing Downloadable Content is Key For Lead Generation

Creating persuasive case studies, white papers and eBooks is crucial for a second reason.  Because of their high perceived value, potential buyers will be willing to trade their email address with you for the right to download them.  This allows you to start cultivating a relationship with the prospective buyer earlier in the process instead of waiting for them to (maybe) call you.  

But don’t blow this opportunity by emailing them an onslaught of “aren’t we great” drivel about every product your company offers.  Avoid turning off your prospective clients by using marketing automation tools to send them only well-written information about the specific products they have expressed interest in.   As they approach a purchase decision, you will be able to tell from their behavior on your website and how they interact with your emails when it is appropriate for a sales representative to contact them directly.   

To learn how to use content marketing to turn your website into a lead-generating machine, download this free eBook now: