How Well Do You Know Your IT Buyer?

IT Buyer

Every strategy for improving recurring revenue depends on one critical factor–your existing customer’s buying behaviour. A good understanding of your buyer is the foundation for all renewal sales success. When it comes to the technology buyer, the vendor/buyer relationship is particularly complex.

And in today’s cloud-dominated world, many initial B2B purchases are driven by the business and later managed by IT as part of the renewals process. So, the better you align renewal sales with their needs, the more successful the relationship will be. Here are three essential facts to remember about the IT buyer.

1. IT Buyers Are Busy People

Yours is not the only vendor relationship they manage. They are handling many important initiatives – your renewal deadline probably isn’t top of mind for them. To succeed with the busy IT buyer, you need to make the renewal process as easy and streamlined as possible. Reduce the barriers to action, and they’ll be more likely to act.

  • Do your homework: The IT buyer doesn’t have time to hunt down information about their assets. Make sure that when you contact them, you’ve got all of the information you need at your fingertips.
  • Work around their schedules: You may not be able to reach the IT buyer the first time you try – or the second. 25% of cancellations happen because the renewal sales rep never managed to reach the customer!

2. Their Lives Are Complicated

I’m sure you’ve noticed that the technology landscape is changing. Show some compassion to the IT buyer handling multiple different technologies and vendors, with constantly-changing needs.

  • Make it your business to understand their business: Renewing with you might or might not fit their technology needs – you’ll never know unless you have that conversation. 57% of respondents say they only hear from the vendors at renewal time. It’s essential to ‘institutionalise’ the memory of what’s happening with their business, so it doesn’t get lost between sales reps.
  • Understand how they use your solution: Detailed usage data can give you the insight you need for the renewal or to make the right cross-sell/upsell suggestions.

3. They Are Very Attractive To Your Competitors

Your customers are still alluring prospects to your competitors. And in relationship terms, they may be playing the field. Even if they plan to stick with you, they’re happy to use your competitors to gain concessions from you. Nearly half of the respondents in our survey took sales meetings with competitors to negotiate better terms from existing vendors. Ouch! Don’t imagine that customers will remain loyal through inertia alone, if your competitors are courting them.

  • Be there at the right time: Track how they’re using your solution. Use predictive analysis of data to identify customers likely to defect – and take action at the right time to keep their loyalty.
  • Make the right offers: With insight into their needs and usage, you can make the right cross-sell or upsell offers, without being overly aggressive and alienating the customer.

By putting yourself in the IT buyer’s shoes, you can get a better sense of how you need to interact for a successful ongoing relationship. So, whether you’re a new subscription business or you’re looking to transition your current business, it’s important to understand the buyers of the recurring revenue economy. Once you know what you need to do, the next step is empowering the renewal sales rep.

Jim Dunham

James Dunham, SVP Product Management at ServiceSource, has extensive enterprise software experience addressing market requirements leveraging new technologies and business models. Ground up experience building new solutions, consuming acquisitions and creating new SaaS offerings.