Building Relationships Accelerates Sales
Congratulations marketers, brand-recognition campaigns and relationship building has been paying off. According to IDG Enterprise’s 2014 Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker, brand recognition and relationship-building accelerate the sales cycle. For example, when working with a familiar vendor, the average purchase cycle for major enterprise IT purchases is 3.3 months; the cycle almost doubles in duration for unfamiliar vendors to 6.2 months. Additionally, tech decision-makers spend almost 4 ½ hours meeting with their current vendors compared to a little more than 2 ½ hours with vendors they aren’t doing business with currently. Breaking into accounts can be difficult and take time depending on the industry, but once accomplished can have significant benefits for time spent with vendors and cutting down the purchase process. This is especially important considering the number of influencers that are part of today’s major enterprise technology purchases. At enterprise organizations, the average number of people involved is 17, holding steady from 2012.
With so many individuals involved in the purchase process, who is driving the process at what stages? Different stages of the purchase process are driven by groups within the IT organization. For example, Mid-level IT leads when determining technical requirements, but IT professionals take the charge when evaluating products/services. Also important to note, Executive IT and IT Management have more involvement in more steps of the IT purchase process than business management. And while IT drives the activities you would expect, including setting IT standards and policies, setting IT project goals, negotiating vendor contracts, and budgeting within the IT department, their influence extends to the business side as well (particularly at the executive level), with a high level of engagement in business project steering committees, setting business standards and policies, and setting project goals.
It is important to market to all levels within the IT organization with messages tailored to the essential steps they are most involved in driving. How does your organization stack up?