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How to market to B2B technology buyers

By Ben Moore
Wed 20 Jun 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The Channel Institute partnered with Impertion, a channel-specific demand generation company, to discover what marketing content is most valued by business-to-business (B2B) technology buyers.

The survey results will add to the growing library of data for the B2B buyer’s journey, especially for the technology marketing sector.

Channel partners are typically less sophisticated than vendors in marketing techniques and also have much fewer resources.

Channel marketing teams need to find simpler ways for channel partners to implement marketing campaigns that better meet their buyer’s needs.

In particular, marketers need to build better stories and more compelling content around tools such as ROI and TCO calculators, vendor comparison tools, and workshops that combine use-specific demos with free software trials.

According to Channel Institute director Michael Kelly, a recurring theme from the research was the scepticism that B2B technology buyers have in relation to vendor content and claims.

This may be summed up by one respondent’s request for “The truth! Not the marketing angles where everything out there will reduce costs and improve revenues and profit".

It is clear from the survey that credibility of content is top of mind for B2B technology buyers.

Independence of source for marketing content is important, which is why they look to third-party communities to find content and discuss both content and solutions with their peers.

The Channel Institute and Impertion received more than 300 fully completed responses from senior technology buyers.

When asked to choose “Which educational content do you prefer to receive from technology vendors?” the results were, in order of preference:

1.   Free trials 2.   Demos 3.   Videos 4.   Calculators (ROI, TCO, etc) 5.   How-to Guides 6.   E-Books 7.   Case Studies 8.   Independent Research 9.   White Papers

The question was deliberately aimed at understanding the “Middle-of-the-funnel” - i.e. the “Evaluation” phase in the buyer’s journey.

The results show a clear preference for practical tools to help inform and evaluate.

When asked for general feedback on what other content would be useful for business technology buyers to shortlist vendors, responses included:

  • Comparison sheets versus other vendors and solutions
  • Cloud environments for testing
  • Proof of concept workshops on real use cases, and VM workshops
  • Customer results statements
  • Implementation history. What was easy, what was difficult, how did we overcome the difficulties?
  • Free and independent assessments
  • Webinars
  • Online buyer reviews
  • More information from the research is available from the Channel Institute.
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