By Ellen Carney Insurance IT buyers have distinct preferences when it comes to how they learn about new technology. Tech vendors think IT buyers learn about the hottest technology because of the bright, shiny stuff that their marketing organizations spend all kinds of time and money producing. Wrong. Like most other industries, insurance IT shoppers do surf the Web, read the tech trade and business rags, and visit trade shows. But unlike other industries, insurers are much more likely to want to take someone along on the shopping excursion, leading Forrester to call them conversational shoppers. Often, that someone is the tech vendor sales rep. Forrester recently sat down with a few insurance CIOs and asked what they got from vendor sales reps, and what they wished they got. Here are two examples: I get all kinds of business examples, case studies and examples of other companies using their stuff. What do I wish I got? I want to know the next big thing I should be thinking about now. I can usually tell pretty early if they understand my business. What I wish is that theyd be more comfortable talking about price, since I need to know if Im in the ballpark. The ones that are comfortable talking price know they have a good product that they can stand behind. Insurers frequently turn to their vendor sales reps to fill in a big missing piecewhats out there that can solve my business problem. But too often, the opportunity to build a deep and trusted relationship with an insurer isnt seized. Rather, the sales rep essentially reads the prospect the collateral when they could be providing that insurance buyer with something more valuableinsight about the technology, and how other carriers, producers, and even other industries, are using it. Tech marketers need to provide their sales teams with the kind of insights that can turn their sales reps into information authorities. That means building confidence in their industry, and technical knowledge by arming them with primary research, analyst reports or even capturing snippets from the sales organization that can be shared to prove that they really get the insurance biz, and the technology that theyre trying to position. Ellen Carney is a senior analyst with Forrester Research. She focuses on how the financial services industry researches, procures and deploys business technology, and is responsible for developing the global forecasts for IT budget and spending forecasts for insurance and banking. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article can also be found at InsuranceNetworking.com.
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