What are the top marketing challenges facing technology businesses and how to fix them?

Paul Crabtree 18th January 2022 Customer Experience, Integrated Marketing, Technology

Technology is a dominant sector, with more spent online, on software and tech subscription and investment in business tech, at an all time high.

Technology companies often appear to be incredibly marketing savvy. 

Deliciously minimalist and easy to navigate websites. Very clear propositions, often focusing on a single point of customer pain and transformation. Conversion based with a very low start point to arranging a demonstration of free limited time trial. 

They are masters in convincing high numbers of website visitors to create a free trial account and sample their software.

But this is where the problems start. Especially for complex HR, finance, sales and marketing based technologies, the reality is migrating a company to a new enterprise technology requires much more effort.

 

In this article we discuss the biggest marketing challenges facing technology companies and how they can be tackled.

 

The five biggest marketing challenges facing technology businesses

 

Challenge 1. Learning how to service the market, not just marketing the service.

Whilst we’ve indicated above that clear and coherent websites have an alluring pull that achieves the objective of positioning the product and a free trial/demo, it does have its drawbacks. 

Stripped back, conversion based websites lack the deeper information needed for a more involved enterprise level considered b2b purchase. 

The lion’s share of the marketing activity and focus is on acquisition. Technology websites contain strong messaging supported by user testimonials, reviews, awards and accolades, designed to stimulate a feeling of FOMO – that this product will make you more efficient, more effective, more creative, more in control. 

The website and the resulting nurture process that kicks in following the demo/trial – starting with live chat messaging before progressing to phone calls and emails – is all geared towards achieving a sale. It is often led by sales people rather than product specialists and customer experience professionals. 

So the experience is nearly always slanted towards making a sale, rather than helping a customer towards the right and best solution.

Question: Are you spending a disproportionate amount of resource on acquisition and conversion rather than the actual total, life-time customer experience?

 

Challenge 2. Assuming customers know what they want.

Technology marketers can sometimes be guilty of speaking to prospects as if they are a knowledgeable insider – someone with detailed knowledge who spends their days using and reviewing technologies.

By doing this, they make two dangerous assumptions:

  1. “Prospects already know my products”. This assumption negates the need for marketing entirely. Marketing is asking them to “just try it and you’ll like it. And if you have questions they are in the FAQ. Buy here”.
  2. “Prospects are willing to spend their valuable time working it out for themselves”. Customers are more sophisticated and don’t want to enter a sales conversation too early, but this doesn’t mean we can provide “service support”.

Technology marketers spending masses on top of funnel activity to draw people in, consequently risk squandering the opportunity they create if they don’t then take the time to provide guidance. Worse still, a lack of conversion means the cost per lead (CPL) and cost to acquire (CTA) both increase.

Question: Are you monitoring your conversion? Is your CPL and CTA going up or down? If yes, the chances are it’s down to your user experience (UX) design.

 

Challenge 3. Improve communication and support. 

Technology companies don’t communicate terribly well with established customers.

According to a Slideshare study, inefficient support is often the primary reason why upto 67% of customers cancel a technology subscription.

If we assume that most of the marketing resource is focused on up-front trial stimulation, the bulk of technical resource is spent on developing and improving the product in real-time.

This often means that there isn’t enough front end customer support to deal with support tickets as more and more customers interact with the software.

More customers also means more requests for specific features which often go into a black hole of development “to do” tasks. Some technology brands do work with founding or “super” users as an advisory board on product development and improvement to get some representative customer feedback. 

But in reality, technology platforms can fall a little flat on the service and communications side when they fail to communicate meaningful updates to users in a timely way. 

Investing in dedicated customer onboarding and then ongoing communications – putting on special customer events or running success story initiatives – would go a long way in improving this.

Question: Do you have a higher than desired customer churn? How well targeted is your ongoing customer communications?

 

Challenge 4. Helping prospects to find value in your product

Technology companies are very good at locking into the specific individual user benefits of a specific offering. There is often, then, a link made to benefits on a company wide scale, for those making buying decisions and managing the implementation.

But technology businesses can miss important metrics that would mark them out from their competition – that are essential to securing larger enterprise contracts.

Technology companies that are winning at enterprise level go further with their messaging, talking about the total cost of ownership and specific metrics measuring progressing towards efficiency and effectiveness. 

They also face up the known challenges of migration and set up, making lots of content and feedback from existing customers available to prospects and new customers as part of their marketing. 

In this way, they are always acting more like a guide and less like a salesperson. It’s a mental shift, but it works.

Question: Are you positioning to win the hearts and minds of the Csuite as well as the commissioning department? 

 

Challenge 5. Moving prospects from trial to sale

We’ve talked about how an almost slavish focus on achieving as many new trial accounts as possible is a dangerous strategy without a very clear conversion process that helps customers make the right decision.

A truly integrated marketing and sales machine for a technology brand needs to have equal focus on acquisition, conversion and retention to ensure a high quality through-life customer experience. 

Investing as much resource in conversion – by providing more support around conversion, acting as a guide and answering questions, supporting with set up and migration – and then communicating with customers on an ongoing basis improves all performance metrics and keeps happy customers longer. 

Question: Could you be doing more to support prospects convert? Could you be doing more to help customers stay loyal? 

 

Summary

There is no disguising the fact that many technology companies do “top of the funnel quite well”. 

But the conversion and customer experience elements of turning into a trial into a long term profitable customer and then into an advocate is fraught with challenges because many are playing a numbers game. 

Paying more attention to what customers are asking, liking and struggling with and becoming a trusted partner in making them more efficient and effective will help technology brands really elevate themselves above their competition.

 

What are your technology business marketing challenges? Are you achieving impressive trial numbers but your conversion and retention is less impressive? Do you have the in-house capability and skills to be able to resolve them?

 

If you’d like to see how we can help, take a look at our industrial work here https://www.velo-b2b.com/our-work/technology-sector/ 

Check out the Velo formula here https://www.velo-b2b.com/our-formula/   

Or start a no-obligation conversation click here.

Paul Crabtree

Paul Crabtree

Managing Director