As more and more organizations turn to their field service operations as lead and sales generators, it’s important for those departments to stay current on the latest trends in buyer behavior. In this post, initially published on his Eye on Service blog, John Ragsdale, the vice president of technology research for the Technology Services Industry Association, discusses some of the latest thinking about what tech buyers are thinking these days. Article excerpted with permission. Click here to read the original.

Buyer 3.0: Changes to Technology Buyer Behavior

This morning in my infinite spare time (insert eye roll here) I attended a webcast presented by Christine Crandell of New Business Strategies on “Buyer 3.0: The Buyer’s Journey.” This was by far the most interesting 30 minutes of my week. Since I spend all my time on the supply side, thinking about the changes to the demand side – in light of changing demographics and social media – really gave me a new perspective on some challenges technology services is facing, especially as services focuses more on revenue generation.

A few key points from Christine:

  • Customer experience: Today’s buyers are putting as much emphasis on the buying experience as they are the product features. This is something I hear all the time. I even have a section in my upcoming book about how often a rude or abrasive sales rep eliminates a “best fit” vendor from a technology project. If the customer doesn’t feel the love in every contact, you won’t be considered for the deal, no matter how good your technology is.
  • Informed buyers: According to Christine, 70 percent of the buy cycle is complete before the buyers contacts you, giving the traditional sales rep less influence, and making other touch points (web sites, demos, blogs, analyst reports, etc.) very important. Again, this is something I hear from TSIA members shopping for technology. We have conversations about project goals and best fit options, I line them up with other members using the tool for reference calls or visits, and they spend time researching Forrester Waves, Gartner MQs, and doing lots of reading of online communities and expert blogs–all before they speak with a sales rep. By the time they contact the vendor, they are usually down to two or three vendors and ready for a test drive.
  • Understanding influencers: What websites do prospects visit to learn about you? How big of an influence are social media channels and online communities? Are there particular people (press, analysts, bloggers) with a big sphere of influence? With so much research going on before engaging with a vendor, technology firms need to get much better at understanding how prospects form opinions about the brand and products, and look for ways to influence these influencers in your favor. To read the rest of this article, please click here.

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ABOUT John Ragsdale

Avatar photoJohn Ragsdale is vice president of technology and social research for the Technology Services Industry Association. He writes a regular blog, Eye on Service, for the TSIA.