Last month, ARPR surveyed 99 IT and innovation executives from across the U.S. in order to understand how COVID-19 changed tech buyers’ needs and expectations.
What we found was that 63% of respondents said their IT budgets have increased slightly or significantly due to COVID-19. And this same percentage – 63% – of CIOs and CTOs said their companies now make procurement decisions quicker than they did pre-pandemic. Coincidence?
For software marketers – a buyer that has more cash and wants to participate in a shorter sales cycle is nirvana.
WHAT’S CAUSING THIS ACCELERATION?
COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation initiatives, bolstering the perception and priority of corporate technology departments. In fact, a recent McKinsey report found that “companies have accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions and of their internal operations by three to four years. And the share of digital or digitally enabled products in their portfolios has accelerated by a shocking seven years.”
Our survey further validated this notion with 75% of respondents reporting that IT and innovation are now viewed as more important to their companies’ futures.
HOW SHOULD TECH MARKETERS AND PR PROS ADAPT TO NEW BUYER JOURNEYS?
With tradeshows cancelled and travel budgets frozen, COVID-19 moved IT buying cycles into purely digital ones, which fueled them to be faster. And this trend isn’t going anywhere. In order to capture this marketplace momentum, tech PR and marketing teams should:
- Generate more top-of-funnel content in order to improve SEO and engage buyers in the first phase of their journeys. However, this content shouldn’t just be blogs and whitepapers. PR must be included in the mix, because our survey found that the #2 most preferred method for discovering new tech products is online media articles.
- Create a strong lead nurturing program that personalizes content based on buyer interests to move them down the funnel as quickly as their procurement process will let them. Our survey also found that the #1 most preferred method for learning about software products was vendor emails.
Our new data report, ARPR’s 2021 Tech Marketing Report: The Post-Pandemic B2B Sales Environment, also includes results from a survey we conducted among 75 tech sales leaders. Combined, the dual sets of data give a holistic view of how COVID-19 impacted the way corporations buy and sell software – and glimpses of how these behavioral and organizational shifts might persist long after the pandemic is behind us.