New Service Aims to Ease B2B Tech Purchasing Process

TechTarget last week launched Deal ScoreCard, a quarterly report designed to help B2B technology executives make better purchasing decisions.

Deal ScoreCard covers 20 technology product market segments across the storage, data center, cloud, and end-user computing enterprise technology markets.

It leverages proprietary buyer-generated data across four categories:

  • Pre- and post-purchase data;
  • Web interest data; and
  • Buyer narratives.

“This content is specifically designed to aid enterprise technology buyers in making real purchase decisions,” said Bill Crowley, TechTarget’s EVP of data business.

Pre-purchase data is gathered from interviews and surveys with IT buyers after they have confirmed a project in the technology area of the research, such as converged infrastructure, but before they purchase the technology, he told the E-Commerce Times.

Post-purchase data is gleaned from IT buyers after they have bought technology.

For Web interest, Deal ScoreCard shows subscribers the relative interest in categories of users’ activity on TechTarget’s website and their email activity, Crowley said. It also indicates how the interest trends over quarters, which topics and articles are the most popular during the quarter, and which white paper topics are most popular in email promotions.

Deal ScoreCard reports verbatim quotes from interviews with buyers on major research topic areas for buyer narratives.

Focus on Information

Among Deal ScoreCard’s benefits:

  • It shows the ranked importance of different pain points, initiatives and features in buyers’ minds before and after purchase, and the relative strengths of a company’s products and those of competitors;
  • It lets sales leaders compare their companies to market leaders and the competition, understand what concessions competitors are offering in deal cycles, and get quarterly updates on the data directly relevant to decisions about training, as well as demo and pitch construction;
  • It helps content marketers improve positioning, message development and content by showing them the most important and fastest-growing topics, and by noting which topics their company is relatively strong or weak in; and
  • It gives competitive intelligence teams a more independent, detailed and regular view of market dynamics than available in customized reports by including pre-purchase shortlist insights, along with unbiased win/loss buyer data.

“We’ve seen a huge shift in both B2B selling behavior and in B2B buyer preferences, the former being driven by the latter,” said Joe Andrews, VP of marketing at InsideView.

Buyers used to “rely very heavily on the knowledge and charm of sellers,” he told the E-Commerce Times, but “today [they’re] much more informed when they enter the sales conversation and have higher expectations.”

TechTarget monitors online behavior across 140 enterprise technology-specific websites it owns, and more than 10,000 topics, TechTarget’s Crowley said.

“Since we own the content and can identify active users, we’re able to easily monitor visitors’ behavior and our over 18 million registered members, and catalog activity against specific topics,” he noted. “This is processed and made available to drive our portfolio of data-driven products and reports.”

Moving to Real-Time Data – or Not

Businesses increasingly seek real-time business data on which to base their decisions.

“It takes weeks to drive data into product and policy decisions,” noted Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

“If you already start a quarter back, by the time you respond to a market change you’ll likely be too late to truly benefit from it,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

However, TechTarget doesn’t publish in real time, “because we need time to do quality control on responses and bring the various types of data into a single report and create a cohesive package,” Crowley noted. “We collect data right up to the time we compile the report.”

Creating the data is the hard part, he pointed out, but network and processes that the company has put in place over almost 20 years allow it to produce and manage very high-quality data.

Richard Adhikari

Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.

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