Tech Bytes & Insights

The Evolution of Buyer Behavior in B-to-B Technology

Posted by Jason Bell on Wed, Oct 19, 2016

Pramil Jain co-wrote this blog post with Jason Bell.

This post is the sixth in a seven-part series examining top trends that are reshaping the high-tech industry. 

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the past few years, you’ve probably noticed that customer buying behavior has been shifting from traditional channels (including sales) to digital channels. Customers are increasingly going online to inform their technology procurement decisions, and it’s happening throughout the customer journey. According to Accenture, 94% of B-to-B technology buyers do online research, and 68% have purchased goods online. It’s becoming increasingly common for businesses to make B-to-B technology purchasing decisions before they even make first contact with a sales rep. In fact, by 2020, Gartner Research estimates that customers will be managing 85% of their relationships without talking to a human.  

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, B-to-B, seismic shifts, Jason Bell, buyer behavior

Teaching New Dogs Old Tricks: How to Enable Outcome-Based Selling

Posted by John DeSarbo on Thu, Oct 06, 2016

Leon Wei and Samuel Yeung co-wrote this blog post with John DeSarbo.

This post is the fifth in a seven-part series examining top trends that are reshaping the high-tech industry.

The concept of selling outcomes is anything but new. Some of the first recognized “salesmen” in the U.S. were peddlers who traveled from town to town offering a variety of goods to frontier families. Many of these early traveling sales reps offered cure-all elixirs that promised to remove the aches and pains of rural life. The most successful hucksters focused on selling the benefits of their potions and spent little time discussing the unnamed ingredients in their products, which, unfortunately, were often harmful substances such as lead and mercury.

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Topics: John DeSarbo, ZS Associates, ZS, High Tech, seismic shifts, outcomes-based selling, talent management

The IT Buyer Is Changing: Why Are High-Tech Vendors Slow to Adapt?

Posted by Brandon Mills on Tue, Sep 27, 2016

Chengappa Kodira co-wrote this post with Brandon Mills.

This post is the fourth in a seven-part series examining top trends that are reshaping the high-tech industry.

Historically, selling IT products and services has been pretty straightforward. All that you had to do was call on the IT department and convince them that your solution satisfied their requirements and budget. Maybe that’s oversimplifying it a bit, but the reality in the B-to-B high-tech industry is that selling has become more complicated because a new decision maker has entered the picture: the business buyer. CIOs and IT organizations are moving to more of an influencer role, while more IT budget control shifts into the hands of business or functional leads. 

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Topics: technology, ZS Associates, Innovation, ZS, IT, High Tech, Brandon Mills, seismic shifts

Betting Big: Four Keys to Unlocking Growth During Restructuring

Posted by Kyle Heller on Thu, Sep 22, 2016

This post is the third in a
 seven-part series examining top trends that are reshaping the high-tech industry.

The tech industry, much like technology itself, is based on an equilibrium of constant change and innovation. While each year feels familiar, new technologies, competitors and evolving customer engagement requirements create an ever-changing set of challenges and opportunities for tech companies seeking sustainable and profitable sales growth. In response, tech companies continue to search for new routes to market and sources of growth through both organic and inorganic means. This has created a subtle but powerful restructuring of the tech industry over the last several years as companies bet on new sales strategies and modes of growth.   

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Topics: Kyle Heller, technology, ZS Associates, Growth, ZS, High Tech, m&a, restructuring, seismic shifts

Technology Innovation: Microsoft’s High-Tech Reinvention

Posted by Alex Southworth on Wed, Sep 14, 2016

Samuel Yeung co-wrote this blog post with Alex Southworth.

This post is the second in a seven-part series examining top trends that are reshaping the high-tech industry.

In the information age’s infancy, two Stanford graduate students created a simple directory to help users navigate the Wild West of the internet. They called it “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.” Within a decade, the duo’s pet project would become valued at more than $100 billion and would rebrand itself as Yahoo. Yahoo’s search engine, e-mail service and newsfeed covered almost all of the major services needed by the millions of new PC owners, and as a result, it was one of the hottest companies on the NASDAQ. Yet the next decade would see this icon of the industry be surpassed by younger startups, and in July 2016, it was bought out for just $4.8 billion.

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, High Tech, Alex Southworth, Samuel Yeung, technology innovation, trends, seismic shifts, Microsoft

Seismic Shifts: Five Trends Reshaping the Technology Industry

Posted by John DeSarbo on Wed, Sep 07, 2016

Noreen Nagji co-wrote this blog post with John DeSarbo.

This post is the first in a seven-part series examining top trends that are reshaping the high-tech industry.

Over the past two decades, technological innovations have forever changed how we create, share and consume information. We’ve transitioned from listening to cassettes and vinyl records at home to streaming music online everywhere. Gone are the days when students flipped through encyclopedias while writing research reports. Instead, kids today start every school project by first Googling their topics and reading Wikipedia. Parents no longer carefully pick and choose when to photograph family gatherings with analog film cameras. Preserving memories is as easy as pointing our smartphones and recording high-resolution videos that are instantly shared on social media. All of this has happened in a remarkably short period of time.

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Topics: John DeSarbo, ZS Associates, ZS, High Tech, seismic shifts, Noreen Nagji

Five Ways Tech Companies Go Wrong in Cross-Selling

Posted by Ashish Vazirani on Wed, Aug 24, 2016

For most, March Madness is a distant memory. However, as an avid college basketball fan, I’m already looking forward to next season. Of course, that also could be influenced by my wanting another shot at bracket predictions after enduring total disappointment with my predictions this year. Maybe I’ll fare better during fantasy football this fall. 

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Topics: Ashish Vazirani, ZS Associates, ZS, march madness, High Tech, cross-selling

For Tech Companies, Analytics Success Comes Down to Time, Talent and Treasure

Posted by Ashish Vazirani on Thu, Jul 14, 2016

You’d think that high-tech companies would be further along in their use of sales and marketing analytics than companies in other industries. After all, high-tech companies live and breathe technology and have an institutional understanding of data, but while they might be a bit further ahead than some industries, it’s not by much.

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Topics: Ashish Vazirani, ZS Associates, ZS, Analytics, High Tech

Four Reasons Why Your Analytics Efforts Aren't Making an Impact

Posted by Ekaterina Mamyshev on Fri, May 27, 2016

“I see dumb people, walking around like regular people. They don’t even know that they’re dumb, and they all work here.”

Have you ever felt this exasperation in the office? If so, you are not alone. As a ZS consultant often working to give research and analytics a seat at the table, I’ve heard this grievance from my clients many times—particularly from research and analytics leaders, some with Ph.Ds, who say that their insights are not being acted on. In the quote above, one of my clients, in particular, has taken a few liberties with a quote from the movie The Sixth Sense to capture his vexation.

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, Analytics, insights, Ekaterina Mamyshev

Is Your Business Ready for the AI Apocalypse?

Posted by Samuel Yeung on Mon, May 02, 2016

You’ve read it in the news. You’ve seen it on TV. Every other week, artificial intelligence (AI) triumphs over feeble human intellect. The latest and most publicized victim is Lee Sedol, the former world champion of the ancient Chinese board game Go, who was trounced in a best-of-three competition by Google’s AlphaGo AI. With a magnitude of more abstract variations and subtleties than chess, Go was supposed to be beyond the grasp of machines for the foreseeable future, which reassured us that we could all rest easy at night, safe in the knowledge that our robot overlords are still quite a ways from gaining sentience and plugging us into the Matrix. This calls for a more serious look at a future in which the little computer in our pockets not only has surpassed us at every board game ever invented, but also could potentially do most of our work for us.

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, artificial intelligence, computing, machines, Samuel Yeung, AI, apps

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