Technographic Data: What Is It, and Why Should You Be Using It?
December 29, 2019
In a world driven by data, knowledge of the technology used by companies gives you a clear competitive advantage.
In this article, we’ll examine what technographic data is, where to find it, and how technographics will help you increase sales, improve marketing results and elevate company performance.
Whether you’re seeking to improve your company’s account targeting and sales intelligence, or simply trying to better understand best practices around customer acquisition, we hope that this article helps you understand why you should be using technographic data.
What Are Technographics?
In its broadest sense, ‘technographics’ is a shorthand term for ‘technographic segmentation’.
It’s the means of analyzing statistical data, produced by a population or group, based on their ownership and usage of technology. It is a class of market segmentation such as Demographics and Firmographics.
Technographic data is a means of understanding a company’s technology stack:
- What hardware and software they are using?
- Which tools and applications?
- How they are implementing and utilizing their varying systems and platforms?
Technographics is the next step in the development of market analysis after Demographics, Firmographics, and Psychographics.
Why You Should Care About Technographics?
The thing about evolution is that there is no resisting it.
You adapt, or you perish.
This holds true if you are a business reliant on accurate prospecting data to drive your marketing, an established brand looking to identify niche personas, or a startup yet to make your first sale.
Like it or not, if you want to survive, you must give yourself every available competitive edge.
After decades in the shadows of its siblings, it is in the age of big data that the full potential of technographics can be realized.
And, be in no doubt about it, the explosion in data we’re currently experiencing is mind-blowing.
In 2018, global IP traffic from cloud data centers hit 10.6 zettabytes according to Statista. That’s ten-point six sextillion bytes, or 10,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes, if you prefer…
Consider that over 90% of the world’s data was created in the last three years alone, and by next year it’s predicted that each person will generate 1.7 megabytes of data per second.
With the global population sitting at above 7.8 billion in 2020, that’s a hell of a lot of data.
The full implications of all that is happening here are genuinely unfathomable. But, one direct consequence of all this is that the corporate ecosystem is transforming and a company’s growth will depend on that company’s ability to leverage data.
The biggest challenge most marketers face today is that of distinguishing themselves from an ever-expanding pool of competitors.
If we look at the landscape of tech startups in the UK we discover persuasive evidence to support the claim. RSM, a professional services company, recently carried out a study that revealed nearly 12,000 software development businesses were registered in 2018 alone.
As for the solutions, consider the current state of marketing technology solutions for one point of reference.
There were 3,874 MarTech solutions available in 2016. By 2018 that number had reached 6,829 meaning the market had nearly doubled in size in less than two years.
This is, arguably, the primary pain point that possessing technographic capabilities can ease.
With a better understanding of a prospective customer’s technology stack, technographics enable greater personalization of the customer journey. In a world of all but equal solutions and services, those who provide a superior customer experience will win out every time.
The Benefits of Technographic Segmentation
“Enabling greater personalization of the customer journey” is a phrase that’s worth unpacking.
Yes, it smacks of the marketing jargon that infects the industry, but beneath it there is genuine substance.
Let’s examine what occurs before any customer engagement: prospect and opportunity identification.
Finding prospects that meet your ideal customer profile can be a long and trying process.
The more obvious benefits of technographic data—for example, a SaaS marketing content provider knowing that a prospect has a particular marketing automation solution—don’t need spelling out.
But, there are some ancillary advantages.
1. Improve Sales Productivity
According to a recent study, 63% of a sales rep’s time is spent on work that doesn’t generate revenue. One-fifth of that is spent on contact and account research alone.
Technographics can nullify this wasted time by ensuring that salespeople spend their time selling rather than finding people to sell to.
By incorporating technographic data into account profiling activities you achieve a more accurate representation of your Total Addressable Market (TAM).
This improves the efficiency of the sales function by narrowing your prospect base and providing focus to sales reps.
2. Reveal New Opportunities
Technographic segmentation can also reveal opportunities in new markets that you wouldn’t have discovered without access to technographic information.
Once you know a prospect’s technology stack, you can better customize your marketing content for your initial contact.
By tailoring your messaging to the specific requirements of the customer you improve the chances of a positive response, as it demonstrates you have taken the time to understand their current challenges. In fact, 92% of companies say they see higher conversions from personalized emails.
So, better messaging is one aspect of improving customer engagement. But it doesn’t stop there.
Once your message has prompted a response, technographic data can then inform the conversation your sales agent has with the prospect.
Your sales agent’s time will be spent more productively and they’ll see higher conversion rates from their sales engagements.
3. Improve Account-Based Marketing Campaigns
These benefits should be clear to anyone that practices Account-Based Marketing (ABM).
Technographic data to augment a company’s existing firmographic knowledge will help improve messaging, as well as synergy between your marketing and sales departments.
You’ll be able to target companies based on their tech stack and create ads or emails that match what your prospects hope to hear.
Your lead scoring will improve as you learn more about prospects, and more time can be spent chasing valid leads that are truly an ideal fit for your solution.
4. Improve Customer Retention
Having prospects become customers is great. Keeping them and forging long-term, mutually beneficial relationships is the ultimate goal.
You’ll have improved market forecasting and will be able to preempt market-driven issues impacting at-risk accounts. You may also use your insight to drive product development (for example, if you see your customers adopting a certain solution that you could offer).
Knowing who is using competitor tools or services can provide opportunities to increase market share by facilitating the targeting of the competition’s customer base.
All of these benefits and other goals around customer success (upselling, cross-selling, renewal & expansion opportunities) can be realized with the proper application of technographic segmentation, which is why so many companies already incorporate technographic analytics into their marketing activities and customer analysis.
And that leads us to a couple of questions worth considering when one is attempting to ascertain how valuable, or indeed vital, technographic profiling might be…
Who Uses Technographic Data and How Do They Use It?
Almost everyone that provides services or solutions around IT is already using technographic data to a degree.
Most enterprise vendors are using technographics to drive their marketing already. Now, adoption among SMEs and startups is seeing a strong upward curve.
Some of the best outcomes happen when companies combine technographics with intent data.
Intent data comes from behavioral analysis of a company or individual’s online research activity, and it will give you insight into what your customers or prospects are researching, and if they’re in their buying cycle or not. You’ll be able to gain huge insights that you can apply directly to your sales and marketing efforts.
Companies can see amazing results using a combination of technographic and intent data to drive their marketing strategy.
“Deep and verified firmographic, technographic and intent data is how I was able to build over $1 billion in qualified sales pipeline over the past 5+ years…” Matt Wheeler, CEO at qualifiedMEETINGS.
When putting your data to use there are direct, real benefits.
“As a leader in AI for sales, deep data is the key ingredient to successful outbound campaigns for our clients… to truly execute multi-channel prospecting, a direct-dial phone number and valid email address that doesn’t bounce is key—but so is data on the specific technologies those buyers are using every day.” Chad Burmeister, CEO at ScaleX.ai.
The surface value of technographic data is self-evident and the true potential value is incalculable. One thing is for sure, however, and that is companies ignoring the value and necessity of these types of enhanced business intelligence capabilities will continue to fall behind those that embrace them.
How to Collect Technographic Data
There are three tried-and-tested methods for acquiring technographic data:
1. Phone or Email Surveys
Despite the historical utility of these practices they are increasingly becoming remnants of a bygone age. Unscalable, often unreliable, and potentially counterproductive. Sure, cold calling and email still have a place, but in the age of big data, there are arguably more effective ways to acquire technographic data.
2. Data Scraping
Data scraping is a method of extracting code from websites with a view to identifying key information.
It suffers from limitations that make it prohibitive in the long run, as only certain types of software leave any trace on websites.
Frequently this data will be old or out of use, and data scraping has no value in hardware identification. And this is before even entering into the field of ethics around these practices.
3. Buy Technographic Data
Purchasing a database is the easiest route to having usable technographic data.
Historically, purchasing data has been perceived as a gamble due to issues of reliability. This is understandable. Until recently, the capability to quantify and update the required volume of data at the necessary speed and scale didn’t exist and companies selling data couldn’t guarantee results.
All that has changed.
There are now reputable providers in this space, like DemandScience. Each B2B data provider has their own technology install base, providing accurate information on thousands of companies and technologies.
It has taken time for this market to mature sufficiently and, as with most things in life, the old maxim ‘caveat emptor’ (“Let the buyer beware”) holds true… But, with proper research, there are now a number of technographic data providers whose offering does exactly what is described on the tin.
The Future of Technographic Data
It seems safe to surmise that technographics won’t be going anywhere any time soon.
The progress in machine learning and AI will continue to disrupt existing markets and ecosystems in ways that make them susceptible to, and reliant upon, the manipulation of data and information.
Until we achieve general artificial intelligence and Skynet launches the nukes or we wake up in the Matrix, there is every reason to believe that technographics will become requirements in successful marketing strategies at every type of company.
DemandScience’s Technographic Targeting
We hope you found this information useful or of interest. Clearly, we have ‘skin in the game’ here, so to continue with the arbitrary movie references;
“… if you’ve made it this far, perhaps you’re willing to come a little further?” (Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption.
Integrated within the DemandScience platform is the world’s largest technographic database. You’ll be able to track nearly 7000 different technology installations across tens of millions of companies globally.
Using the DemandScience platform you can access real-time and up-to-date, validated information on any major technology (Salesforce, HubSpot, Cognos, Sage, McAfee Av, etc.).
You’ll be able to identify companies using those technologies, and the identity of the teams or individuals responsible for purchasing those tools and solutions.
DemandScience has already helped thousands of companies capture new clients and improve sales productivity. By providing a source for technographic and firmographic data, and the expertise in how to fully exploit these resources, our clients have been able to boost sales, increase client retention and ensure that they are in the best position to navigate the ongoing data tsunami.
As stressed throughout this article, technographic capability isn’t an end in itself. It is, however, a necessary component of customer and client engagement in the digital age.
Once your sales and marketing team have access to technographic data their targeting efforts will be hugely improved, and they’ll be able to customize messaging to an extent that wouldn’t be possible without it.
If you’d like to know more about how we could help to grow using technographic data, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.