Many resellers probably wish that their suppliers did a better job of getting their message across to prospects and customers. More awareness of products and the potential
benefits they have for a business makes selling them easier. But where should you encourage your suppliers to target their efforts?
It is often assumed that a mention in a high brow business publication such as the Financial Times or the Economist has to be worth more than many mentions in the IT specific media. But recent Quocirca research suggests that this is certainly not true when it comes to IT investment decision making.
We spoke with 300 senior managers from UK businesses and asked them how influential different publications were when it came to keeping up with matters to do with IT. The weekly and monthly IT press were rated ahead of the business press by a significant margin. Of course this just relates to understanding IT, not advice on how managers should run their business – we should never lose sight of the fact that IT investments should really only ever take place if there is some value to the business.
But getting positive coverage in any publication is hard and even when you do it is often lost in a morass of other news and commentary and it has a pretty short shelf life. What other ways are there of getting the message across to those decision makers? The 300 managers we spoke to considered communication with peers in other organisations to be one of the best ways of keeping up with IT – they like good independent references. The obvious message for all is to cherish existing customers.
But after this the next place managers were most likely to go to find information on IT was internet search engines. And if you are thinking of investing time and money to become prominent on any particular one the decision is easy. We asked our 300 interviewees to name the site where they would start a search for information on the internet – almost 5 per cent said Google, way ahead of MSN, Yahoo and others.
However, here are some sources of information that it can be dangerous to rely on. Vendors’ web sites are not considered to be valuable sources of information. Presumably they are considered too partisan. The message for resellers here is that you should not just point your prospects to a vendor’s web site and hope they will find what they need – you need to make the effort to educate the prospect and inform them of the value of an IT proposition to their business.
Fairing even worse than vendors web sites are their events. Most of the managers we spoke to considered them to be pretty much a waste of time. That is not to say that events themselves are not worthwhile, just that events aimed at end-users and focused on a single vendor are unlikely to get a useful message across and will be considered far too partisan.
And, if you are planning to start a blog thinking that this is a cheap and easy way to get to the huge audience of IT decision makers out there on the web, forget it. Blogs were considered to be far and away the most useless source of information.
Colleagues were also considered to be pretty influential in keeping up to date with matters relating to IT, so don’t underestimate the value of total account selling. It is easy to forget the old maxim that there may be only a few decision makers who can say “yes”, but there are plenty of influencers who can say “no”.
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