A lot of time and energy is spent by cloud technology marketers creating catchy subject lines for emails. Some may even cross the line and send out-and-out teasers. You would think members of corporate buying committees, who have been tempted to open up thousands of these kinds of promotional emails by this point in their careers, would have just gotten over the tendency to click. But, according to a new study (sponsored by InsideUp), entitled “Cloud Technology Buying Committees: New Decision-Making Dynamics”, hope for insightful content springs eternal. Most study respondents report email, as well as social media posts, are still strong communications channels if the content offered is considered valuable and relevant to their use case.
Helping companies make prudent evaluations of new technology has proven to be an increasingly daunting task for IT professionals and, as the pace of innovation accelerates, they truly believe the answers are still out there. With a shortfall of in-person events in 2020 (and continuing into the current year), email has become even more important as a mechanism for staying in touch with what’s going on in the industry and how peers are responding to new pressures for digital transformation. So, email is one of the very effective ways to increase sales.
In this study, senior IT executives in US based, mid-sized companies were surveyed about how and why buying committees are formed and function. A total of 226 completed surveys were returned and 14 follow up interviews were granted by respondents to the survey. To complement this buyer side research, B2B Buyer Insights also conducted interviews with senior marketing executives in cloud-based technology companies. The IT survey and all subsequent interviews were conducted between September 2020 and December 2020.
When respondents were asked if emails from vendors (with links to informative and educational content) was a preferred channel of communications, over 50% of them stated that it was, and still remains one of the preferred strategies to increase sales. Nearly 50% also reported that emails (with links to peer-based content) sent to IT professionals, known to have participated on buying committees in the past, was also a preferred method of engagement. Further one-on-one interviews expanded this list of preferred channels to also include posts on social media. This is most likely because vendor content can be either forwarded to IT professionals by known members of their personal network or strategically placed in their news feed based on the interest they exhibit in certain related topics.
Implications for Vendors
Asynchronous direct marketing tactics (e.g., email and posts on social media leading to “how to” content tuned to various buying committee roles) should precede any form of synchronous direct marketing (telemarketing, in-person events, interactive chats, sales calls) but the sequence of activities must stay dynamic based on prospect input. Accounts change quickly and the last thing you want is to be married to an automated series of outbound activities that don’t fit the current state of the prospect. The posting of a series of informative and educational articles can lead to more engagement by a prospect who may enter the series at any point based on which email sufficiently encouraged them to click-through. Also, do not underestimate the power of implied recommendation that results from the forwarding of vendor content by an IT professional who is cited in the article. Success stories are very powerful vehicles, made even more so when they are distributed over social media by the participants themselves.
For more information on this study, and to access articles summarizing interviews with marketing leaders and CMOs of cloud technology providers, click here. To download a copy of the whitepaper “Cloud Technology Buying Committees:New Decision-making Dynamics, that summarizes the study results, please click here.