HOW TO MARKET A TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS.

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1 HOW TO MARKET A TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS. An Incisive Edge publication

2 CONTENTS. INTRODUCTION. HOW TO MARKET A TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS

3 INTRODUCTION The UK Technology Sector According to KPMG, the UK technology market is growing and is more confident about the future of its business than in the last 5 years. London and the South-East have large concentrations of technology businesses and output is increasing. The Technology Sector comprises of the following industry groups: Software publishing (SIC 582). Computer programming, consultancy and related activities (SIC 620). Data processing, hosting and related activities; web portals (SIC 631). Manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products (SIC 26). Manufacture of electrical equipment The UK Tech sector is a vibrant and growing market, with a positive outlook on the future. However, marketing is an area for Tech businesses that needs to change in order for these businesses to succeed and compete effectively in the future.

4 How to market a technology business. Seismic Changes in Marketing The Internet has changed buyers and their habits. Even business to business (B2B) buyers now use the internet extensively to find solutions and research possible vendors. These changes have meant that marketing has also changed. Even over the last 5 years, marketing has changed dramatically. Some traditional marketing techniques and methods are declining - their use and the results that they can achieve are decreasing. B2B buyers are now acting more like consumers. The internet has removed the more formal barriers that were there before with networks such as social media removing the divide between personal and professional life. The Buyer Controls the Sales Process These changes mean that buyers now have more power in the sales cycle. You don t sell to them, they want to buy and be in control of the process. Buyers are now more sophisticated and have learned to filter out the thousands of marketing messages they are exposed to every day. Technology helps them eliminate unwanted marketing messages, s, and phone calls. This makes more traditional, outbound marketing less effective. The buyer uses the internet to drive the purchasing process. When they have problems, they search online for solutions and answers to their questions. When they ve made a decision on how to solve their problem, they use the internet to search for and evaluate vendors. All of this happens before they even speak to your business. By the time they contact you they have already made most of the buying decision already in fact, they re 70% of the way through their buying process.

5 Marketing Issues in the B2B Tech Sector The seismic shifts in marketing and the declining results from traditional, outbound marketing have been affecting the B2B Tech sector and will continue to do so. Compared to consumerfocused businesses, B2B Tech companies are set to suffer even more from the changes in marketing, unless they respond and make significant changes to their marketing. The B2B Tech sector now has issues with their marketing due to their: Over-reliance on outbound marketing Sales-focused, rather than buyer-focused approach Short-term view Inadequate web presence Over-reliance on Outbound Marketing The UK Tech sector has an over-reliance on using outbound, interruptive marketing to generate leads. Cold-calling and blasts are heavily used to help sales fill their pipeline. Outbound is now becoming less effective, as buyers change their habits, so relying on it as a long-term strategy will have a negative impact for B2B companies. Sales focused, rather than buyer focused B2B Technology companies tend to be more sales driven than other sectors and are focused on driving prospects through a sales process. The issue is that buyers now want to be in control to buy, not to be sold to with high pressure sales tactics having less impact. Short-term view Being sales focused drives a short-term view, quite rightly, on achieving monthly or quarterly sales results. However this means losing out on a lot of opportunities that do not fit into this short-term viewpoint. Prospects are devalued because they don t want to buy now and follow up of these prospects is often inadequate. This short-term view is reinforced by the use of manufacturers and distributors marketing funds e.g. The Market Development Fund (MDF). These funds are allocated on a quarterly basis and require lead numbers as an indicator of success.

6 Inadequate web presence B2B Technology businesses all have websites, but many fail to achieve basic requirements in terms of converting visitors to leads and clients. B2B, in general, suffers from low website traffic, especially the smaller businesses. Many companies resort to driving traffic through paid media (PPC) to boost this number. However even using this marketing tactic, many companies still drive traffic to their homepage, losing out on conversion opportunities and costing them significantly more money. Why? Because a Home Page is typically, not a landing page. Impacts for the B2B Technology Sector These changes and issues are having a profound impact on Tech businesses. They need to respond to them or suffer negative business results as a consequence. Later we ll go through how to respond, but first it s worth looking at the impact that these changes are having, or could have, on your business. Unpredictable pipeline Generating leads that positively affect the sales pipeline is still a big issue for technology businesses. Leads are generated and handed over to sales, but all too often, the volume and quality of these leads can vary widely. A good campaign can create a large glut of leads in one hit. At other times, lead numbers are too low. Sales pipeline waste There is inherent waste in the sales pipeline because of a lack of targeting and qualification of ideal clients. Many leads that enter the pipeline don t progress, or produce lower sales values, because they re not a good fit for the company. Focusing on targeting and qualifying ideal clients those with higher value to the business - is key to improving the quality of the pipeline and growth of the business.

7 Lack of ROI Return on Investment (ROI) is a term that has been discussed over the years. Reviewing actual ROI i.e. net gains as compared to marketing costs there is still room for improvement. The short-term view misses long-term ROI results, as activities that do not produce immediate benefits are discounted. Poor website conversions Many B2B Technology businesses have neglected their websites. Although there has been a big focus on SEO and PPC to drive traffic to the site, online conversion rates are still poor (<1%). Websites are not focused on conversions, so most of the traffic they attract fail to progress. Lower competitive placement online The competitive landscape is now online. Technology businesses who want to be successful need to focus on improving their competitive visibility online. It is now not enough to just use SEO or PPC, as search engines are now looking for signs of online engagement, content quality and social proof. Old looking websites Your website is a hub of your business online and many companies have older websites that need updating, not just in terms of look and style but also structurally, to improve the way their website works. Consumers are used to sites like Amazon and the BBC which provide tailored content. This will be more of a requirement for B2B sites in the future. Lack of online assets to drive leads The web offers the potential to drive traffic and leads to your business 24/7, with very low acquisition costs. Many businesses fail to invest in building up its online assets to attract

8 more traffic and more leads. If they did, then they could benefit from higher ROI and lower costs over the long-term. Increasing costs of outbound lead generation As outbound lead generation is becoming less effective it will, over time, become more timeconsuming and therefore more expensive. With higher costs and declining results, your lead generation is tied directly to paying more money. Focusing on your website to drive leads can counteract this trend and generate leads at a lower cost in the future.

9 Six steps to improve your marketing in If you don t contact them, most buyers will find out about your business online. Once they find you, they end up on your website. Well, what do you want them to do? You want your visitors to take action. If 99.5% do nothing, then either they shouldn t be on your website or you re not making the most of the visitors you do get. 1. Focus on website visibility How easy is it to find your website? Most importantly, how easy is it for your target clients to find your website, using the terms that are relevant to them. This is not just about SEO but it s also about having a web presence that marks your business out as an authority in your marketplace. Is your website a go-to resource for your clients that helps them and answers their questions? Improving web visibility is an important factor to attract the right traffic to your website not just any traffic but also to be able to compete effectively with your competition online. This is not about becoming number 1 in Google for a broad search. That s a sign that your ego is driving your marketing, not your buyers. How you re found is driven by your clients and what s relevant and important to them. 2. Understand your buyers (personas) Most B2B segmentation or buyer analysis is simple often just using job title, company size and location as parameters. Although it is useful to buy a data list, you need to understand your buyers at a deeper level. Building up a buyer profile, or persona, helps you understand their problems and the motivations behind their purchasing decisions. Using this persona to target your prospects with the right messages and offers, produces powerful results. It attracts your target clients to your business and engages them using the language and issues that are relevant to them.

10 3. Focus on website conversions Once you have traffic finding your site, focus on converting them to leads. Focus on getting them to take action. Many websites overwhelm their visitors with multiple choices and confusing messages. Make it clear what you want them to do and guide them to an appropriate call-to-action. An effective website that converts will help your sales pipeline far better than driving more money into a marketing campaign. Your website is on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Even small increases in conversion rates can help accelerate your business forward. 4. Focus on inbound Outbound marketing gets quick results, but an inbound enquiry is more valuable. In fact, for many B2B businesses an inbound enquiry is like gold dust. If a prospect has found you and has read enough to convince them to contact you, then the sales process is easier and far quicker. So being able to control the amount of inbound enquiries you get can revolutionise your business. Rather than your sales team chasing leads created by outbound activities, they could be following up with interested, engaged buyers, who are ready to buy. Begin to transition your marketing towards encouraging inbound enquiries and leads. Not only will this help your sales team, but the cost per lead of inbound enquiries is significantly lower, over time, than an outbound lead. 5. Use conversion content Content is used online to drive conversions. Offering downloads ebooks, whitepapers and speaking directly to the needs of your buyers helps move them through an online funnel. It s important to match the right content to the right stage of the buyer s journey. Make sure your content has a conversion goal and test to see if it achieves this.

11 6. Nurture leads to qualified opportunities A significant percentage of your leads are not ready to buy now. The simple act of following up with them can help nurture them until they re ready to buy. You can use this nurturing process to gather more information, providing qualification and insight into your target clients. Buyers feel more in control and enjoy receiving valuable information that is relevant to their needs. You also get the opportunity to position your business as a thought-leader, an expert and a trusted solution provider. Inbound Marketing The problems that are common with B2B technology businesses, with poor pipeline, a lack of web visibility and low conversion rates, can be solved using the six steps and by implementing inbound marketing. Intelligent Integrated Inbound is a framework created and implemented by Incisive Edge to help businesses grow and increase their sales revenues. Inbound marketing drives sales revenue in a controlled way. It uses data analysis and insight to create buyer engagement. It then aligns the buyer s digital journeys, using marketing platforms, to deliver communication that drives traffic and conversions. This traffic together with conversions, ultimately delivers consistent, reliable sales revenue. Inbound puts your business and your marketing in the driving seat. Rather than declining lead generation and marketing results it delivers reliable and consistent results for your sales team. They can focus more on selling, rather than wasting their time and effort chasing leads that are simply not interested.

12 ABOUT INCISIVE EDGE Incisive Edge do just one thing. We identify the inbound activities you actually need (and get rid of those you don t) to meet your commercial objectives. We work with you to create your strategic marketing and communications plan. We then execute that plan to drive brand awareness, interest, engagement and ultimately, conversions. No need to brief multiple suppliers, no juggling of channels, communication, results and reporting. If you feel we can help you, please do contact us on:

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