How to buy B2B tech the right way
Choosing the right technology and tools for your B2B organisation is a process you must follow. If you charge into buying B2B tech just because it’s the latest thing or your competitors have it, you’ll end up wasting time and money without seeing any extra benefit.
This article presents a 9-stage sequence to follow when buying B2B tech. Go through it step by step and buy your tech according to this best practice.
The steps are:
- Find a problem to solve
- Audit your existing tech stack
- Map your tech to your sales and marketing process
- Set up a buying committee
- Investigate your options
- Arrange demos
- Sign up for a free trial
- Make the purchase
- Evaluate and improve
1 - Find a problem to solve
There’s a reason we often call B2B software ‘solutions’. They’re there to solve specific problems that prevent your team from achieving its full potential.
Examine your revenue generation process from marketing to sales to customer success. Let the data show you where you could improve. Then, think about what’s holding you back from improving right now. Could there be a tech tool that could help?
Don’t try and solve all your challenges at once. Instead, take them one at a time in order of urgency.
Tech should always be solving a problem. When you’re looking at providers, ask yourself: what difficulty is this going to solve for me or my team? What value is this solution going to deliver for my organisation?
If the tool isn’t going to provide anything extra for you or give you any benefit, then there’s no point in buying it.
2 - Audit your existing tech stack
Before entering the marketplace, check your tech stack to see if you could solve your problem with a tool you already have.
So many B2B teams have solutions lurking in their tech stacks that people either don’t use fully or don’t use at all. Some extra training on your existing tech could solve your problem faster and cheaper compared to bringing in something new.
Before you buy any new tech, do an audit of your current tech stack. Chances are, you’ve got tech that can solve the problem already, but you’re not using it properly.
You want to be aiming for full utilisation of your current tech stack. Make use of what you’ve got before adding anything new. Don’t let your tech stack grow out of control. A good tech stack should be working for your business, not the other way around.
3 - Map your tech to your sales and marketing process
Now you have an idea of the type of tech you need, map it back to your B2B sales and marketing process. Ensure the two are aligned. Pinpoint which part or parts of your sales cycle your new tech will improve and think about how it will affect the rest of it.
Remember, successful B2B organisations have their marketing and sales functions working together towards common goals. Make sure your tech doesn’t create silos between the two.
Work out how much time your team spends on certain tasks, such as prospecting, presenting, admin etc. Then take a step back and ask yourselves: can you use tech to get the time you spend down? Is there a way to work smarter and automate the more time-consuming tasks?
All sales tech should be geared around giving sales reps more time to sell.
4 - Set up a buying committee
It may be just your sales team who will use this piece of tech but buying it, implementing it and dealing with its results could affect everyone in your organisation.
Form a buying committee with people from all your major departments, including:
- Customer success
Whenever someone suggests a new piece of tech for their team, put it in front of the buying committee. Let the committee review it and make a unanimous decision about whether the business should implement it.
Consider the impact that technology can have on the wider organisation. Sometimes, the tool that looks perfect for a sales team will have negative implications on marketing, on product or CS. Don’t sign up to use a solution if it hasn’t been thoroughly tested.
5 - Investigate your options
In the old days, at this point, you would draw up a shortlist and start calling salespeople to find out more about their solutions.
Now, you have the internet - and you hold more of the cards. Currently, buyers complete 60% of their buying process without talking to the vendor’s salespeople.
Conduct as much research as possible into the available solutions. Here are three ideas you can try:
- Visit company websites/LinkedIn pages to find out how each vendor promotes itself
- Read the user reviews on G2 to see what people who actually use the products have to say
- Talk to peers in your industry to find out what they use and how it works for them
At this stage, if you can, look at the prices of each solution (many vendors display prices on their sites - another recent development in B2B) and see how it fits in with your budget.
6 - Arrange demos
After your research, you should have a shortlist of B2B tech that you believe may be the answer to your problem. Now, it’s time to get hands-on.
Call up the outbound sales teams for the solutions on your shortlist and get them to demo their products. Come to each demo with a list of questions for the vendor. During the demo, focus on the benefits of each product (what it can do for you) rather than product features (how it works).
7 - Sign up for a free trial
Some (but not all!) vendors will offer free trials of their products. These are designed to give you a taste of how the product works and what it will do for your organisation.
If you can, commit to free trials. That way, you can A/B test the different technologies and evaluate what will work best in your company.
8 - Make the purchase
Once you’ve decided what solution would be the best fit for your business, it’s time to do the deal.
Make sure you negotiate with the vendor as you may be able to get a lower price or some add-on extras. But after that, it’s time to sign on the dotted line and get started with your new B2B tech.
Ensure everyone who uses or is affected by your new tech goes through a detailed onboarding process; it’s vital that everyone is able to use it to its full potential and get the best results from it.
9 - Evaluate and improve
Making the purchase isn’t the end of the buying process. You need to confirm the tech you bought is working effectively and solving the problem you bought it to fix.
Conduct regular reviews to ensure you are getting what you need from your tech. Talk to the people who use it every day and study its analytics features. According to the data, what impact is it having?
If it’s working well, look at other parts of your sales process where improvements may be necessary - and start the buying process again.
Buying B2B tech: key takeaways
- Only implement new tech if it solves a problem
- Before buying new tech, audit your current tech stack
- Ask peers in your industry for their tech recommendations
- Map your tech stack to your sales/marketing pipeline
- Assemble a buying committee to review new tech
- Make use of the tech you’ve got already. Don’t let your tech stack grow out of control!
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