In the most successful relationships between IT marketers and buyers, both parties are speaking the same language — both figuratively and literally.
The people on both sides of the sale share a passion for technology and its application in a business environment. When they team up, it’s not just deal-making: It’s problem-solving that’s tailored to the tech, the vertical and the corporate culture.
But achieving that level of communication with customers takes care and feeding — and sensitivity to all-too-common marketing habits that will rub busy IT pros the wrong way.
Here’s a checklist of marketing tactics that are sure to alienate your buyers:
Abuse of buzzwords
Whether it’s a “single pane of glass,” “the cloud” or “hyper-converged infrastructure,” IT abounds with terms that can either expedite the conversation or turn your buyer off completely.
Enterprise technology lives and dies on precision, and imprecise use of language is like fingernails on a blackboard for tech-minded professionals who respect others who sweat the details.
That doesn’t mean those terms aren’t meaningful in the right context … But the temptation to introduce trendy terms into the conversation is a common trap in marketing, and it’s not going to win you any friends if you can’t prove you’re using them meaningfully.
Papering over gaps in your product
Again, precision is key when working with IT buyers who literally make their livings taking solutions apart and putting them back together.
Trust that any buyer worth their weight in hardware will identify missing pieces in your technology compared with your competitors. At the same time, they’ll appreciate that no vendor can be everything for everybody in every situation.
Be upfront about your competitive offering, and be ready to meet those questions halfway.
Skimping on technical details
Being a great tech marketer doesn’t require a degree in engineering — but you’re not going to succeed in making an emotional connection if you can’t connect the dots between product specs and the buyer’s needs.
Just as you can’t hide gaps in your product forever, you can’t expect to bluff your way through precise questions about applied technology. Do your homework on your product and its place in your buyer’s vertical — and if you’re stumped, admit it immediately and commit to getting the answer.
Not relating to your buyers
On the other end of the spectrum, IT buyers are people, too — and the success of major purchase decisions will ultimately have a major knock-on effect when it comes to their careers and lives.
Like the rest of us, IT pros care about the human side of professional relationships. Don’t rush to make a sale without taking time to know the buyer. Most IT pros already have to deal with end users who take them for granted — don’t be that person.
Contacting IT pros too often
This is another rule that extends far beyond tech to every marketing interaction: Understand the difference between follow-up and harassment. As IT buyers’ days fill with internal requests, their patience drains. Make sure you don’t hit the buzzer one too many times and turn a prospective partner into an adversary.
Finally, observe this golden rule: Do unto IT pros as IT pros would do unto their end users. If they don’t trust your commitment to be detailed, clear, honest and empathetic, your chances of extending that relationship are slim to none.