Communicating With the New Buyer in the B2B Tech Industry

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Companies grow accustomed to certain types of customers, but B2B tech buyers of today are vastly different. They’re more connected, more emotional, and more self-aware of their learning needs. As Baby Boomers begin to retire, high-tech brands are discovering they now face a new set of trailblazers taking over leadership positions: Get ready for Generation X!

What to Expect
When communicating with Gen X, you can anticipate a more digitally-savvy buyer who uses social media 40 minutes more per week than Millennials. In addition, Gen X leaders are known for “hyper-collaboration.” They work relentlessly to break down organizational silos. 

To address this shift in buyer expectations, it’s vital to understand the changing expectations of these digitally savvy buyers. Marketing teams need to develop strategies that engage them at each stage of the buying process. ABM: A Stronger Pipeline and More Closed Deals
While the opportunities for reaching Gen X prospects can be far-ranging, many high-tech companies today are taking an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) approach. What does this mean for building relationships with these B2B buyers? 

Creating an ABM strategy goes well beyond the scope of this article, but it’s certainly applicable as we delve further into the specifics of B2B buyers. For example, by tiering and prioritizing accounts, outreach (and therefore marketing spend) focuses on the right companies.

Choosing the right buyer personas starts with utilizing focus groups, existing client interviews and  customer analytics to gather data on decision-makers within target companies as well as traditional data from market research. From there, marketers can leverage these personas on all channels—from personalizing their website and ABM tech platforms to delivering customized content through outbound campaigns.

According to a study by DemandGen Report, 95% of buyers choose a solution provider that provides ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process.

A coordinated ABM effort between Marketing and Sales can also identify the companies and specific buyers who present the most lucrative business opportunities. This allows businesses to facilitate more personalized conversations and relationships with best-fit prospects. The approach also leads to more effective pipeline generation and a better conversion rate to closed deals. Moment-Based Interactions Increase Conversions 
Gen X buyers expect rich, relevant content throughout the buying lifecycle. But brands targeting this generation don’t need to be everywhere at once—just the places that matter at the right time.

To satisfy these criteria, high-tech marketers can create compelling content experiences for each unique buying persona—such as IT influencer, business champion, or executive decision-maker. As Gen X B2B buyers continue to rely on a committee approach for their technology purchases, personalized content and messaging will then become a necessity in order to gain credibility among multiple stakeholders during extended buying cycles with many touchpoints.

According to Content Marketing Institute, 89% of B2B marketers use content marketing.  Of the 11% who don’t currently use content marketing, 52% plan to begin using it within a year.
Measuring the effectiveness of the content requires tracking how the content drives leads and revenue. The easiest place to measure these KPIs are websites and custom landing pages. Analytics can be leveraged to track progression through multiple content items or by simply validating the ROI of a specific creative piece.

The question then becomes what type of content is most effective across the buying lifecycle? Sirius Decisions research determined it’s different at each stage. However, there are a couple content types that are influential at every stage: analyst research and sales presentations. 

Since a Gen X buyer may not want to talk directly to a salesperson in the early stages, the most critical and influential analyst reports should be distributed through media campaigns, partnerships, or direct lines of communication. High-tech marketers can also elevate their industry voice and brand visibility by delivering third-party endorsements.

These endorsements—coupled with an ABM targeted approach and an emphasis on building multi-level relationships with buyers—helps companies expand their reach and increase their success rate for conversions of Gen X prospects at all stages of the buying journey.