Five Insider Tips for Talking to Technical Decision Makers


Here are five insider tips on how to get (and keep) the attention of technical decision makers (TDMs).

Recently, I was on a call with a client who’s responsible for developing technical content assets targeting pre-sale and post-sale audiences (late sales cycle assets as well as implementation guides, trouble-shooting info, etc., respectively.)

He noted that, so often, these assets focus on “telling the story of company x” instead of focusing on customer pain points.

I was thrilled to hear him say that. His awareness of this quintessential problem allowed us to focus on customer needs as we began discussing his content strategy.

But it also raised an important question:

When preparing content for a technical audience, how can you ensure you’re providing what they need and want to know?

Let’s answer this from both the planning and development perspectives.

Planning content: The customer is always first.

The ideal content focus: the customer comes first

This diagram shows the ideal path of content planning. Naturally you do need to take into account the needs and goals (and limits) of your organization when planning content—but that’s the secondary consideration, not the first.

For example, instead of saying, “We need to create content that will promote our solutions,” the goal should be, “We need to create content that will help prospects and customers solve their problems (ultimately via our solutions).”

Further, you’ll want to ensure you’re aligning content to the buyer’s journey (and mapping the buyer’s journey based on key personas).

These guidelines apply to all B2B audiences, but even more so to technical decision makers (TDMs). Why? Well…read on.

Developing content: Five tips from a TDM

For some true insight into what gets and keeps a TDM’s attention, I turned to VP of Technical Services Joshua Siler, who recently wrote a blog post explaining how technical audiences learn about new technology solutions differently than their less technical counterparts. Here are his five keys to crafting effective content for TDMs:

  • Be clear about what your product is and what it does.
  • Make technical information easily available upfront. You might think that generally prospects don’t want detailed technical information until later in the buying cycle, but for TDMs there’s value in making it available earlier, just in case. Also, note: even the top TDM wants access to the tech info, not only the researcher or influencer.
  • Give them a technology tease.
  • Provide the business case and success stories.
  • Don’t make questionable claims. “My business users may like the sound of ‘solves problems automatically,'” Josh says, “but I know better.”

Let’s hope we all know better now!

Related Posts:

Five Tips for Marketing to Technology Audiences (Joshua Siler)

How Busy B2B Marketers Can (Still) Use Personas

The Buyer’s Journey Diagram for B2B Demand Generation (and More)

2 Responses to Five Insider Tips for Talking to Technical Decision Makers

  1. Mark McClure says:

    Another important need of technical decision makers is staying one step ahead of their non-IT counterparts.

    I’ve heard many a story where CFOs (procurement managers are the worst…!) gave IT TDMs a rough ride during sign-off review meetings because they had done just enough tech homework to be ‘dangerous’.

    In theory, the stakeholders of an IT project are acting for the common good of customers, shareholder and staff etc. In practice, egos and career point scoring can get in the way.

    From experience, I think that many TDMs are subconsciously aware of this and look more favorably on vendors who make their roles easier.

    My 10 yen…

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