We’re going to continue exploring the types of data we use to narrow in and refine your lead lists to maximize your outbound sales efforts. It’s all about finding the right people. Today, we’re going to dig into how to use technographics.
Previously on the Intro CRM blog, we covered how you can use firmographics and demographics to be more sophisticated in your outbound sales efforts. Better lists mean better conversion rates. These are just two different ways to slice and dice your understand of who your customer is while doing customer development.
This post is about a third way, we will cover:
What are technographics and why they matter
Like demographics and firmographics, technographics are ways to categorize companies and better understand their likelihood of buying your product.
Specifically, technographics are the technologies that a person or company uses—or doesn’t use. Think of it like the technology profile of an entity.
When you segment your lead lists using technographics, your sales prospects are one step closer to being your people. When you use technographic data in your sales cycle it helps increase your close rate, accelerate your sales speed and help secure better fitting, longer-lasting clients because you can speak to their specific situation.
For some companies, this may be obvious. If you make a software product that integrates with another software product, you obviously need to find users of the thing that you integrate with. By way of example, if you make a smartphone app that scans receipts and imports them into accounting software, you will need to find users of the accounting software that you support.
For others, it is less obvious. You may be able to infer things about a person or company based on the tools they use. You may be able to ascertain if they have a current, or a dated, technology stack. You may be able to tell if they’ll be able to handle certain types of data or support users in certain regions. Or maybe they’re using a direct competitor for something like productivity software and you want them to switch!
For many technology companies doing sales prospecting, knowing how to use technographics is the most important part of their outbound sales efforts. It could immediately qualify or disqualify a prospective client.
How to use technographics
If you ask us how to use technographics, our first response will start by telling you how we find them. Which is to say we use a variety of tools that help us discover this about our clients. There are proprietary databases, web scrapers, and even open source information that can answer these questions for you. (More on this later.)
Heck, you might even be able to tell by simply going to their website. Some tools are that apparent. Think a chatbot or a meeting scheduler.
Once you know what technologies your customers use, building outbound lead lists is an easy next step.
Knowing how to use technographics can actually useful across a few business functions. Below are examples focused on sales and marketing, but of course this type of customer development could also help you improve your customer support, product development, and more.
- Account-based marketing. We mentioned technographics could help extend your client retention, well, using technographics allows you to build deeper relationships with your clients, making it easier to understand the problems and solutions they are seeking out.
- Improved lead distribution. When using technographics, you have a better idea of what leads will convert, allowing you to share these leads to your team in a way that helps them play to their strengths.
- Relevant, information-based content. As you understand what your customers use and are interested in, it gets easier to share relevant content with segments of them, and that’s where you can take your relationship-building to the next level. It’s one thing to share an interesting article, but it’s another to share a piece that is precisely what they are interested in.
Ultimately, if you make a technology product, it matters which technologies your customers use. It’s that simple.
Where people get stuck when using technographics
When it comes to identifying the places where people get stuck, the hold-ups are similar to ones you have encountered before. The idea seems great, but it quickly becomes a data problem! Where do you find this information? Even if you’re sold, if you don’t know how to use technographics, then you’re stuck.
There are a few different ways to find out what technologies your customers are using, some are paid and some are unpaid. The biggest question is where does that technology lie, in other words how can you go about finding if it’s in-use, or not?
Other technologies are not so readily available, but they are hidden in plain sight.
A company might say explicitly on their site that they use, support, or integrate with certain tools. Others might not be immediately obvious, but you can intuit your way to the answer. If it’s a company that is using 3D printing, you may not know which hardware they’re using, but you can think about complementary tools where users can be identified—think 3D modeling and CAD software like Autodesk.
Other tools like Slack are used internally and are not going to be scannable from a company’s website. These can be the trickiest ones to find. Data sources like ZoomInfo, which we use, may have that information available for you.
In these cases, we’re talking about finding companies for what they do use. The inverse is true, too. We can find companies based on what they do not use. If you see that a company is not using the latest and greatest, say a frontend web development framework like Tailwind CSS, that might tell you more about their tech stack. Maybe it’s more traditional, legacy, or outdated—depending on how you think about it!
Of course, even if you are able to decide what you’re looking for (or not), confirm that they’re using it (or not), and are able to find contacts at the company…
You still have to ask yourself if you’re talking to the right contacts at the company!
It’s not going to do you very much good to contact their bookkeeper to ask about reducing their cost of hosting on Amazon Web Services (AWS). For that one, you will want to leverage the other area that we’ve discussed, demographics, to think about job title and probably find someone in an IT or DevOps role.
All in all, when it comes to investing in your sales prospecting and outbound sales, we can’t emphasize enough the benefits of improving your process through better prospect segmentation and research.
Hiring a virtual sales assistant can take a lot of that work off your plate so you can focus on asking the best questions, improving your pitch, and handling follow-up.
If you’re looking to level up in this area, but you aren’t sure how, or you’re only into DYI when it comes to house projects, we would love to talk!
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