Technology marketers should be asking themselves a very important question: How well do I know the buying process of my customers? A recent study regarding who makes IT buying decisions may surprise you: CFOs authorize five times more IT investments than CIOs.
Given current profit pressure, this really is no surprise. Resources are becoming scarcer and purchases are more closely scrutinized. Companies now demand that expenditures provide maximum value, and investments bring a virtual guarantee of ROI. This has, of course, always been a corporate “rule”—but current financial concerns greatly increase its enforcement.
So problem solved, right? Convert all your marketing materials into spreadsheets and numbers—something a CFO can really sink his teeth into. Well, not so fast. The CFO is the one who makes the decision, but at what point? You may know when you’re talking directly to the CIO or the CFO. But what do you do when you’re talking to the CIO who is then taking your information and selling it to the CFO—without you? Especially when, as the same study points out, CFOs and CIOs have drastically different views on the value of IT and its contribution to the enterprise’s competitive position. Spoiler alert: One sees it as overhead. Can you guess which one?
This is where knowing your customers’ decision process comes in handy. When you know who you’re talking to, you’re better able to gauge when it’s appropriate to shift your IT marketing efforts to demonstrate more strategic value. You’ll be able strike the right balance between talking about your technology as an investment while addressing the more economically focused concerns of the CFO.