The End of "Buy or Goodbye" - Is it Time to Call Time on the Culture of "Buy or Goodbye" in the Technology Sector?

The unswerving focus on quarterly sales targets, which in turn drives slightly strange behaviour from marketing and sales alike (most of which goes against the human instinct of building relationships) is truly killing trust and long-term revenue growth across most technology sectors.

As a business, we run conferences that give us access to "end-user" decision makers from across many sectors, all the time. We speak to them without the filter of any commercial relationship - and every single one of them would say that there is a lack of trust between them and the technology vendors that they work with.

Why?

Here is a list - which we firmly believe GDPR will do nothing whatsoever to challenge:

  • Annoying at scale (also known as Inbound marketing)
  • Cold calling from internal BDR's who are untrained and measured by volumes of leads
  • Salesy events which do not encourage a return visit from delegates
  • A myopic obsession with functions, features and roadmaps
  • A desire to qualify within 10 minutes of a discussion, or even beforehand if possible
  • Amazingly – unresponsive sales teams who do not want any more “leads” because their measures do not encourage engagement without pipeline

There are stories to go with every one of these – from sales teams deleting leads “en masse” to hit target, marketing teams sending weekly emails to 100k+ lists where clicks are unmeasured and content re-used consistently.

It really, honestly, has to stop.

Instead – how about trying some different things.

We realise that we’re unlikely to persuade any technology firms to do away with a Q1/Q2 model when it comes to sales, so the “nurture” piece of sales will need to come from other functions (or very mature attitudes within sales – it has been known...).

Recommendations:

Technology Sales leaders:

  • Build a “nurture” team that is separate to your BDR function, and measure them on engagement, network building and intelligence gathered. ONLY allow them to work on Target/Key Accounts
  • Try to ensure your teams engage with each and every lead… we all know salespeople want to cherry pick, but long-term engagement suffers if leads are ignored
  • Build Target Account lists with marketing – and try a “gentle but persistent” approach – it’s what we at BuyingTime advocate and deals that build are simply stronger

Technology Marketing teams:

  • Stand up to sales, make them accountable for the leads (let’s be honest – these are people not numbers) that they do not touch because they’re chasing a whale
  • Refuse to re-invest if the basics of relationship nurturing are not met – by that we mean “check-in” calls, CRM updates, intelligence gathered
  • Measure yourselves not just on MQL’s and SQL’s, but on engagement, growth of the network and Target Account program success

Channel teams:

  • Qualify Partner relationships as much as you do your own friends and family. Too much money and time is wasted on partnerships that are “one night stands”… and encourage “Buy or Goodbye” at its worst
  • Invest in Joint Value propositions – and not just for convenience. If there isn’t one – don’t talk to prospects…. It won’t work and your partnership will fail before it has begun
  • Do not re-use content, it is insulting. Frankly, so little content is now read by prospects that whatever you do needs to contain 45 seconds of video – otherwise your investment will be worthless
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