How big are your financial services prospects’ buying committees?
A few months ago, I blogged about a recent study on how financial institutions buy technology. The study interviewed key senior-level buyers at financial institutions with more than 25,000 employees who recently made large technology investments. According to the study, 52% of these institutions have more than 10 people involved in the purchases process, and 31% said buying committees include more than 20 people! The blog post talks about how to use content marketing to target financial institutions.
FinTech sales and marketing teams are often unaware of the complexity of the decision process taking place behind closed doors for their customers. But it’s important for us to understand what it takes to build consensus amongst a group of people with widely divergent needs, preferences and experience.
In most cases, your sales team is only going to get access to a few members of the buying committee, so it’s incumbent on marketing and sales to arm advocates within the prospect organization with the information they need to educate and sell internally. But most FinTech firms are not providing the information and insights these advocates need.
How to Use Content Marketing to Build Advocacy
There will be certain members of the buying committee who have a preference for your approach to solving their business problem. In order to make the deal happen, they need to convince the other buyers. So marketers can provide content that helps them do this – either by educating them and arming them with insights they can share – or by providing targeted content that they can forward directly to the other committee members.
Let’s look at the kinds of information needed by various players in these large buying committees.
Internal Business Analyst
According to the research, during early stages in the buying process, the most important influencer on the buying committee is the internal business analyst. These internal analysts are charged with investigating new technologies and business processes, based in part on information they obtain from industry analysts and trade publications. They need insights into new approaches,
Your content strategy should include analyst relations, as many financial institutions rely on analysts to help them think through their business problems. In addition, make sure your PR strategy is aligned with your content program. Effectively leveraging media can help these internal analysts discover your story as they read trade publications.
Syndicating your content in industry publications will also help you reach these important influencers. But make sure you’re publishing material that is educational in nature. Promotional content will be rejected by the publications and ignored by the audience.
Your content strategy should also leverage influencer marketing – targeting important industry thought leaders with the goal of building awareness and advocacy amongst the internal analysts’ peers in the industry. Next week, I’ll write more about how to leverage influencer marketing.
Executives with P&L Responsibility
This is the most common target for most marketers, so I won’t spend a lot of time here. But remember to focus on the overall needs of this audience as you’re developing content. Remember that if your target financial institution is multi-national, then your buying committee will probably include people from the various regions impacted by the problem and your solution. Each region has its own needs, concerns, regulatory environment, and market maturity. A white paper on electronic trading targeted to heads of trading desks in the US will often need to be completely revamped to be relevant to someone in South Korea.
Compliance officers have very different needs, and again, their needs are regionally diverse. They have dozens of regulations to comply with, many of which are very difficult to implement technologically. They need to be able to understand how your solution will help them comply. Don’t get tunnel vision when creating content for compliance. Many vendors focus on a specific regulation without taking into consideration the other older regs that also impact the compliance officer’s ability to approve a technology investment. These departments are usually stretched pretty thin, and they might resist anything that will add to their already heavy workload. So show how your system fits into their workflow, how it can integrate with their existing compliance systems, or how your firm can help make their jobs more straightforward.
The global financial industry is being forced to make their operations safer and simpler following the 2008 financial crisis. Before 2009, if a risk officer argued against a business strategy, he or she would be part of the debate, but only one voice. Today, if a risk officer says “no,” then the organization will say “no.”
A big challenge for risk officers is knowing how to measure market, operational and systemic risk. Your content should take this into account, educating risk teams on how your solution can be used to understand and manage risk. The better they understand the system and its impact on their business, the more comfortable they’ll be signing off on the initiative. You should also address how the system will fit into their existing risk management platforms, dashboards and workflow.
The technology team needs details about how your offering will help them achieve their goals and meet the needs of their business customers without making their lives more difficult or forcing them to lay off lots of friends and colleagues. This audience needs detailed, technical content. Your content must demonstrate that your organization both understands the challenges and priorities of this audience, and has the capabilities to meet these needs.
They’re not going to be satisfied if all they get from you is what they consider shallow or business-oriented content. Provide insight into how your offering will fit into their existing infrastructure, how they would support it, and how it will work with the rest of the technology in production. Vendors who not only demonstrate a deep understanding of the issues, but are able to provide pragmatic solutions will win trust among these members of the buying committee.
Building Advocacy Among the Buying Committee
Once you’ve developed this content, you can start to share it with the various target audiences in your prospect organizations. If you don’t have access to certain members of the committee, coach your internal champions so they can anticipate common objections, proactively bring up issues and share content to address the concerns.
You can also use email marketing, influencer marketing, content syndication, events, social media and your sales team to get the materials distributed to the right members of the buying committees. The easier you make it for the various constituents to find the information they need, the more influence your content will have on driving revenue.
For more information on using content to influence the buying process, check out these resources, or give me a call at +1 970-300-2280.
Here are some additional resources to help you:
Facilitating the Buying Process at Financial Institutions
How Financial Institutions Buy Technology
FinTech Marketing – No Field Of Dreams
What’s the Difference Between Thought Leadership and Content Marketing?
Facilitating The Buying Cycle With Content Marketing
Content Marketing for Objection Handling
Content Strategy: Stop Feeding Your Audience Dog Juice White Papers
Content And Thought Leadership To Support The Buying Cycle