Dear technology marketer, you may have found that more executives outside of the IT department are now the new face of your customers. Digitization continues to combine both business and technology, putting more business executives at the forefront of IT buying and influencing.
And for you, dear IT professional, you may have found that marketers are catering to your Line of Business decision-makers or CXOs within your organization. These decision-makers feel they have found the perfect product to help meet their business outcomes, however these products may or may not meet with your current IT infrastructure.
What does this mean for you both?
Line of Business decision makers are now the new face of customers.
The challenge technology marketers and IT professionals face is the ability to explain product capabilities to these new Line of Business buyers. The days of CXOs just deciding on a product or service and then having their IT departments 'just make it happen' is nearly non-existent. LOB professionals are more interested in business outcomes - it doesn't matter the product or service - as long as it accomplishes their end goals. This can be anything from increasing productivity to improving the company's bottom line, all helping to further the goals of the organization.
For example, a tech marketer can sell the Microsoft Office suite, while an IT professional may need to explain Microsoft Office as a suite of applications, servers, and services.
Business decision-makers just want to know what they can do with the suite itself:
These how, why, and what questions often form a communication barrier between tech companies and their users – decision-makers may feel as though tech marketers don't really understand what the ultimate goals and outcomes are for their business. And they may also feel that their IT department speaks another language, often speaking above their heads on technical matters. Meanwhile, IT professionals can feel frustration in explaining how this new product can or cannot fit within their organization's current infrastructure.
So how do these two groups manage to speak to the new face of business technology buyers?
As mentioned, the primary LOB buyer is no longer situated within the IT department or heads a team with only a few IT staff as members. In the video below, Mark Brinda, of Bain & Company, explains how this change has shaped the way technology companies are selling to new buyers:
Technology marketers struggle in their communications with LOB decision makers, especially those leaders who are not as technically savvy as their IT department staff. They know what their goals are, but aren't aware of the best ways to reach that goal. For you, tech marketer, you need to be able to translate your services into solutions that will solve their challenges and produce the business outcomes they expect. Here's how you can perform the role of technology translator:
Technology Translator - Tech Marketers: Target the right decision maker, understand their business outcomes, and set realistic goals
For you, IT professional, you need to be aware of not only the influence tech marketers have on your business leaders, but the ultimate goal and outcome your leaders want to achieve. Often IT professionals are met with the dreaded 'eye roll' - the reaction given when they or their staff begin a lengthy discussion on how a product utilizes processor cores or how cooling affects a server hard drive; to a LOB decision maker, none of this matters and doesn't tie in with the business outcomes they want to achieve.
Making business leaders understand how company architecture and infrastructure work in conjunction with the very goals they want to achieve is one of the biggest challenge you and your staff face. And that means translating the highly technical language into something LOB leaders can understand and relate to.
Here are some ways for you to become a tech translator:
Technology Translator – IT Professionals: Don’t assume, explain technology simply, plan to re-educate, and understand your business outcomes
An important factor to remember for both the tech marker and IT professional is this: for some of your business leaders, technology might be a frightening thing. The shift from manual to technical and digital has been dramatic and trying to learn new devices, programs, applications, and more can lead to frustration when they can’t figure out how to use it.
For you tech marketer, helping business leaders understand technology through your product will help them become more confident. And for you IT professional, helping your business leaders understand how this technology fits within your infrastructure and how it helps achieve business goals decreases the intimidation they might have when approaching your department.
Our content creation team have both technical and non-tech experience to help deliver your message to both audiences, making sure to reduce the complexities of technical jargon. To explore the many ways we can help, give us a call for a free consultation.