Digital transformation is more than just a buzzword – as Forbes found, 70% of companies have already implemented or are actively working on a strategy to improve the acceptance of digital services and solutions.
In 2019 alone, companies worldwide spent more than $ 2 trillion to drive digital adoption and improve overall organizational performance.
This offers an opportunity for product and service providers in the technology industry: If B2B sales teams can determine where companies are struggling with digital transformation initiatives, they can improve targeted marketing efforts and increase overall sales.
But how do they bridge the gap between potential conversions and real world insights? Technographic data. In this article, we're going to break down what's technographic (and what's not), how companies can capture this data at scale, and why this data is important to improving B2B sales efforts.
What is Technographic Data?
Technography is a portmanteau of the words "technology" and "demographics" and refers to information that describes the use of technology solutions, their adoption rates, and the potential challenges they pose for businesses.
The challenge? This technographic definition isn't particularly useful without context.
First, let's talk about what technography isn't:
Demographics focus on information about people – how many people are employed in a particular organization? Who are the contact persons? How have company sizes and employee configurations changed over time and what is on the horizon? This information is important to identify potential leads and develop initial marketing efforts, but does not provide insight into technology usage.
Firmographic data relates to information such as company size, product offerings, industries served, total sales and even physical locations. This data is useful for creating targeted campaigns that drive interest in B2B sales but do not include technology metrics or measurements.
What exactly is technographic data? Put simply, it is the practical application of information about the technology stack used by a prospect – everything from the infrastructure and network tools they use to the applications they prefer and the adoption rate of those applications at scale.
Technographic data that is used effectively can help companies align their product range with the requirements of digital transformation and arouse customer interest.
Worth mentioning? A distinction is made between pure technographic data and social technographic data. While technographic data relates to the use of software, hardware and network technologies within a company, social technographic data focuses on the consumption and use of social media technologies within a company.
While this is useful for social marketing efforts, it does not perform the same function as technographic data for B2B marketing efforts.
How to collect technographic data
There are three general methods of collecting technographic data:
The most direct method of collecting technographic data starts at the source: employees at target companies. Companies use phone or email surveys to try to gather information about how technology is being used, deployed, and used to fuel B2B efforts. The challenge? Most companies do not respond to cold call surveys, and many are unwilling to provide certain usage data through email response templates. While this method provides some general usage data, it is often more difficult than it's worth.
2. Website scraping
Website scraping tools extract specific information from company websites about the apps and services used by companies. While this can produce more accurate results than survey data and without calling companies, it does require technical expertise to ensure that tools are collecting and reporting relevant data. In addition, security controls on websites can limit the type and amount of data that can be collected and the information available may be out of date.
3. Third Party Purchases
The easiest way to get technographic data is to buy from a reputable data collection provider. With the rapid adoption of cloud-based SaaS, PaaS and IaaS solutions, both service providers and data analytics companies now have access to much more robust and reliable technographic datasets than can be purchased by interested parties.
While there are some limitations to this data collection – for example, personal data must be anonymized to ensure compliance with local and global data protection laws – organizations can access large amounts of usable technographic data with the right third party vendor.
However, it should be noted that not every provider is created equal. Some promise but fail to provide massive data sets, while others cannot provide real-time information. Best bid? Do your research before hiring a technographic data supplier.
Why technographic data is important
Technographic data in and of itself provides insight into the use of corporate technology. Combined with targeted marketing and sales efforts, this information provides an opportunity to significantly improve conversion results.
The four actionable benefits of technographic data include:
1. Improved segmentation
With accurate data on technology usage and usage in potential customer organizations, companies can better define more detailed customer segments based on current needs and ongoing priorities to ensure that sales resources are being used effectively.
2. Improved specificity
Sales leads are often inundated with spaces for new technologies and services. With the help of technographic data, sales teams can address specific problems potential customers face and quickly capture their interest.
3. Increased prioritization
Not all leads have the same potential value to businesses. However, it is difficult to differentiate between the leading priority, especially in an increasingly competitive technology market. With the help of technographic data, companies can quickly assess which leads are more likely to be spent on new solutions and which will take longer.
4. Reduced lead time
Speaking of time: Announcements about new technology solutions, mergers and acquisitions or product launches offer starting points for successful sales discussions – but only if the teams are equipped with relevant technographic data to establish the connection between press releases and customer requirements.
Tactical technical targeting
Technographic data enables marketing and sales teams to create tactical, targeted campaigns that address the real-world problems faced by businesses in the digital age.
By prioritizing in-situ problems and providing comprehensive solutions to emerging challenges using technographic data, B2B efforts can stand out from the crowd and contribute to sustainable customer conversion.