It’s that time of year again: The leaves are changing color, pumpkin spice is on the shelves — and IT departments are getting ready to make their case for the gear their organizations will need for the new year.
Not only do IT decision-makers need to restock the tech tools end users need, they also have to take into account the software and hardware infrastructure that supports them.
Anything the organization buys won’t exist in a vacuum. From firewalls to server space to printers to enterprise software, the buyer needs to know what additional upgrades the new purchase will to run seamlessly and securely.
Marketers who can help navigate IT shopping season have an opportunity to make themselves indispensable to buyers.
Smart partners understand how long organizations tend to hold onto their hardware. When it comes to buying end-user systems — including mobile devices, desktop machines and peripherals — tech buyers have to consider whether new gadgets are going to outrun mission-critical systems if those systems aren’t upgraded.
There’s a handy rule of thumb when it comes to evaluating the expiration dates of those devices: The more mobile the device, the faster its life cycle. Organizations usually churn through laptops within a cycle of a few years, while desktop machines often hang around five years or more, and servers as well as peripherals like printers often push the 10-year mark.
Aside from actual equipment failure, what inspires these purchase decisions? The biggest motivator is the opportunity cost of maintaining systems that can no longer run mission-critical applications.
To earn your buyers’ trust, make sure you understand your customers’ IT ecosystems.
Consider the big picture. Whether you’re selling end-user hardware or enterprise-level infrastructure, understanding the organization’s overall strategic needs is key to winning the kind of trust that builds repeat business. If you’re selling your product in an information vacuum, chances are you’ll miss opportunities to find the perfect functional fit.
Think before you upsell. Sure, you may be able to sell the top of the line to a C-suite executive outside the tech stack. And that can be a short-term windfall. But if informed IT decision-makers conclude that you’ve sold them a product that won’t run with their current systems or packs power that won’t be needed until it’s almost obsolete, it’s unlikely you’ll get another opportunity to close a deal.
Patience is a virtue. As the year draws to a close, the pressure is on sellers as well as buyers to close business. But you’re not going to succeed for the long term by cutting corners to push the sale.
Learning about the problems your buyer is solving for, navigating compatibility issues to could impair and identifying the sweet spots where your product will enable growth without wasting bandwidth … All these activities require time and care. If you invest in building those bridges and tracing those connections, you can become the trusted source for buyers eyeing the calendar.