The purchasing cycle for IT consulting can be divided into two segments. The first is with reference to the targeted persona within the IT consulting firm, and the second is with reference to the thinking process that goes before the purchasing decision is made by the Chief Information Officer (CIO) or IT Project Manager (ITPM).
If marketing and sales staff intends to target management consultants for acquiring IT projects, the staff should carefully follow the thinking process that goes into the decision. If the staff is directly targeting the ITPMs and CIOs, the persona attributes can help to align sales and marketing activities accordingly.
The thinking process of a S&M business starts from the point that the focal person of that business does not realize that a problem exists in which IT can help. At this stage of thinking process, content related to awareness stage can help the businessman realize that IT can help in fixation of the business problem. After the awareness stage, the businessman realizes that he/she needs to consider alternatives to select a product/service that appropriately solves the business problem. At this stage, marketing content delivered to the prospect should contain product/service comparisons t help the business buy one of the compared services or products. The customer may select the relevant IT product directly or chose a partner (usually an IT consulting firm) for selecting, building and implementing the IT solution. At this stage, marketers should deliver build and operate related content.
Two main personas that make buying decision in an IT consulting capacity are ITPMs (domain-specific managers that are on the payroll of a business) and CIOs. The CIO of Vice President IT will look for solution to the predetermined business need. Both these personas should not be targeted with awareness level content as they are already aware of the benefits of adopting IT solutions to complex business problems. If marketers are providing content to ITPMs and CIOs, they should do so by delivering content developed for the consideration stage.
One aspect that marketers should be aware of is that the lower that their content (activities) is aimed at in the content marketing chain, the lower are the chances that marketer’s company will win the IT project. The main reason is that only CIOs and ITPMs are in an authoritative role to make decisions regarding the outsourcing of their work. Thus, the higher in the decision chain that marketers target their marketing efforts, the more chance they stand to win the contract. To understand the personas in detail, please visit the in-bound marketing section.