The Marketing Strategist:
Research Highlight: Prove your Worth!
This article is Part 4 in a series that digs deeper into four elements of marketing content that emerged from research we conducted on How Buyers Consume Information. Highlights can be found in Connecting with Customers: The Four P’s of Content Marketing.
Buyers have always been interested in a solution provider’s track record—can they do what they say? Will they deliver on their promises? ITSMA’s buyer research revealed that quantifiable results and a proven track record are among the top selection criteria. In the past, proof points were limited to testimonials, references, and case studies. But now, as more of our engagement with customers is digital, we are seeing more data-driven metrics and benchmarks. Post-sale, buyers and solution providers alike want to maximize and document value realized. Metrics and proof points are becoming even more important for managing adoption, utilization, retention, and expansion.
ITSMA’s buyer research shows that buyers seek proof points at all stages of the buying process: conducting the initial solution research, selecting the shortlist, and evaluating and deciding on the solution and solution provider. Some proof points are more useful at certain stages. For example, buyers rely on case studies and peer referrals in the initial research and evaluation stages. Demos and workshops are most useful when selecting the shortlist as well as the evaluation and decision phase. And benchmarks are particularly important in the evaluation and decision stage.
The need for proof points does not end with the sale. Buyers look to solution providers for tools and templates to help them monitor their usage and return on investment. Interest in benchmarks and best practices continues into the solution adoption and ongoing usage phases of the customer life cycle.
Interested in more details from our buyer research? The full report is available at no charge to ITSMA members and for sale to others. A complimentary abbreviated summary (PDF) provides highlights, as well.