Sales teams can be very quick on the draw to reach out to potential leads. That is, after all, their business. But sometimes that sales call may be too soon for the customers. When does that outreach look more like nagging and less like effective nurturing during the journey through the sales pipeline? A recent survey by IDG—a technology-focused multimedia company whose publications include Computerworld, NetworkWorld, CIO, and a range of other magazines—offers valuable insight into the process. IDG surveyed more than a thousand IT decision-makers to get their perspective, and some of the findings should provide some guidance.
Two of the more interesting findings show the difficulty in making the judgment call between nagging and nurturing. Nine out of 10 survey respondents said that speaking with a knowledgeable company representative increased their likelihood of making a purchase. However, before you pick up that phone too quickly, only three percent of respondents want to be contacted by a salesperson after receiving just one piece of content related to that purchase. That increases to 34 percent after downloading between two and four pieces of content. But on average, they need to have consumed five pieces of content related to the sale before they are ready to talk with a sales rep.
Those are numbers worth pondering. This research suggests that every campaign should have multiple selections of content that are timed to educate and inform the buyer. Here’s what Bluetext recommends for our clients’ campaigns:
During the early phases of the decision-making process, IT buyers are determining their needs and requirements, and should be served general information including articles about trends and strategies, management and technologies. This is a good place to be seeding case studies and use case examples.
· As they move through the process and are trying to narrow down potential vendors and evaluating possible solutions, their needs evolve to information more specific to the solutions our clients have to deliver. Test results, product reviews and independent opinions will keep the vendor top-of-mind when the decision-maker creates their short list. More case studies can also bolster the vendor’s standing.
· In the later stages, IT decision-makers need to make the business case for their decision. At that point, we recommend ROI tools, product demonstration videos and calculators. Our clients need to make it easy for the customer to get buy-in from their own team.
In our next blog post, we’ll discuss how companies can leverage social media to engage with IT decision-makers throughout the process, and will offer other tips for providing customer leads with the information they want when they want it.