The Ultimate Guide: What Are Technographics & How to Use them?
Table of Contents
- What does technographics mean?
- What is technographic data?
- What are the sources of technographic data?
- How is technographic data collected?
- How can I assess the quality of technographic data?
- Who is using technographic data?
- How can I use technographic data?
- What are the challenges with technographic data?
- How is technographic data priced?
Imagine what you could do with knowledge of all the technologies being used right now by your customers and competitors. Such information could not only help you better manage your accounts, but perhaps even enable you to dip your hand into some of your competitors’ market share.
The fastest and easiest way to gain this powerful knowledge is by incorporating technographic data into your business decisions.
Read on to find out all information you’ll need to find the right technographic data for you, so that your company can start to benefit from proper use of technographics.
(Click image to enlarge)
What does technographics mean?
Technographics, or technographic data, refers to the technologies and software that companies use to run their organization. Technographics can be used to segment, study, and target organizations within a market, much like the similar data types “demographics” and “firmographics”. The process of this segmentation is called “technographic segmentation”.
Making use of technographics means making decisions based off of data on how your customers or competitors acquire and use technologies. This information can then help you to understand their potential interests and where your product or service might be a good fit for them.
An understanding of technographics is especially useful in every stage of account based marketing (ABM), from nurturing the account, to personalizing the sale, to identifying opportunities to upsell. It can also help with maintaining an up-to-date perspective on your target market.
In a world full of highly competitive services and solutions, the edge provided to those who use technographic data to inform their account management and business decisions can make all the difference.
What is technographic data?
Technographic data is information about a company’s current technology stack. In other words, it’s a comprehensive look into all the software and technology being used by a company at the current time. This includes what the technology is, what it’s being used for, and when it was acquired.
(Click image to enlarge)
You can think of technographic data as similar to firmographic data, but instead of being about what a company is and what it is doing, it’s about which technologies are being used by the company and for what purpose.
Here are the core data attributes for technographic data:
- The technologies being used (such as accounting software, web design software, hardware like monitors and laptops)
- How the organization is using these technologies
- When the organization acquired these technologies
A company’s technology stack offers a unique look into the organization. It can show what the organization is willing to spend money on, their level of technical know-how, and when they might be looking to acquire new technological help.
Technographic data provides you with this information, which you can then exploit for purposes like ABM and market research.
What are the sources of technographic data?
The main sources of technographic data tend to be resources provided by the company itself, though they’re not always easy to access. Examples include things like: the company website’s source code, company social media posts, and information provided through reports or found out via phone calls.
A different collection method will be used depending on the source, and the quality of the data tends to be linked to how it was collected. In general, you’ll want to ensure you’re using technographic data that’s been collected using a range of sources and methods.
How is technographic data collected?
Technographic data is collected in two main ways: web scraping, and manual verification, like phone calls. The collected method used will mostly depend on if the source is accessed online (e.g. website source code) or offline (e.g. phone call). The collection method can also impact the data quality, as can the source being collected from.
Each collection method has its pros and cons, but the overarching issue faced by companies is that the technographic information is often not readily available, making it difficult to collect in the first place. Thus, collecting the data can be very time and resource demanding for a company. For this reason, many managers are turning instead to data providers to do the brunt of this work in their place.
Besides the saved time and effort, there are some further benefits to purchasing technographic data from a data provider.
Firstly, you can rely on their experience and knowledge of the market. This means you can rest easy that you’ll be using high quality data that’s been carefully collected from.a wide range of sources.
The second extra benefit is that third-party vendors often provide access to analytical software that you can integrate directly with your current business technologies. This enables you to feed real-time data into your decision making processes and perhaps enrich other existing data sets you might have,
With an understanding of why it can be useful to acquire technographic data from a data provider out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the methods with which data providers collect technographic data and how each method might affect the data quality.
Web scraping in the context of technographics is the process of gathering information about a company’s technology stack by crawling their online platforms and presence. It is the most commonly used method to collect technographic data due to its high scalability.
Another reason for the frequent use of scraping is the advent of current Natural Language Processing technology, which allows scraping algorithms to better understand the context and semantics of words. This improves the accuracy of scraping, meaning it can be used on a wider range of sources.
The most common sources used to scrape for technographic information are:
Quarterly company reports can show the partners with which companies are working and the timeframe in which this is occuring. This may also include partners or services that they have recently dropped.
The reports can also reveal areas where a company might be underperforming and therefore in need of a new product or service.
However, the likelihood of this information being available via the reports can vary from company to company. Moreover, the report may not be particularly recent, meaning the information might not be current. This makes company reports a not fully reliable source.
Company Website Source Codes
The source code of a company’s website is a goldmine for technographic information – if you know where to look. The source code can provide information on the scripts and requests needed to load the page, as well as the collected cookies.
Accessing these features via the source code reveals the software being used to actually run the page, as well as how that page links to other pages/programmes/tools that the website makes use of. Thus you can see not only what is being used, but how it is being used.
Examples of technological information that can be found from a company website’s source code are: their web hosting software, their email collector, and their digital marketing tools.
Web scraping is arguably the technographics collection method with the most advantages and the fewest drawbacks. It requires little manual labor and is thus very scalable, it provides a comprehensive list of the technologies being used, and can even show the context in which they are being used.
The only thing that you cannot necessarily ascertain from the source code alone is exactly when these technologies were acquired and implemented.
Job and Social Media Posts
The usefulness of scraping job and social media posts is that they can add context to what may already be known from another source. This makes them great for adding important context that might otherwise be missing.
For example, the source code may give you the email generator being used by a company, but a social media update could let you know when that software was actually acquired.
Similarly, job postings may show the direction in which a company is looking to expand and which technologies future employees will need competency with. This can help reveal not only what a company is currently using, but may also allow for assumptions regarding when a company is looking to purchase a new technology and the purpose for which it would be used.
In certain cases, such as if the information is not available from the above scraping sources, or if there is uncertainty about important details, data providers may reach out to companies to manually verify their data.
The methods used for manual verification are:
Surveys and Emails
Surveys can be conducted in person, like at trade or networking events, and can provide clear and current data. They can also be conducted online, either on a platform or via email, which can give them a wider reach.
The drawbacks are that this method often has a low response rate and that the manual labor required makes it not scalable.
There is no denying that cold call surveying is one of the oldest and most common strategies in the domain of data collection. Data providers can call up companies to verify and gather more context on information that they may have collected from other sources.
The main benefit is that this helps to ensure very recent and accurate data, making it a worthwhile use of time in the right case. However, there are two big drawbacks to this method that limit its usefulness.
Firstly, the very effort of calling a company requires manual labor and so it time and resource demanding and very unscalable.
Moreover, the effort of going through a call may not even pay off as it is not possible to predict if the company will even be willing to share information on their technology stack in the first place.
How can I assess the quality of technographic data?
When it comes to purchasing technographics, the quality aspects you need to ensure are accuracy, recency, and scale. Accurate data means that the listed technologies and uses are correct. Recency helps with context like when the technology was acquired and ensures that you know the company’s most up-to-date technological stack. Scale is important to make sure that the list of available companies offered by the data provider is suitable for your target market.
(Click image to enlarge)
Assessing the quality of technographic data can be tricky, but it is the data provider’s job to assure you of the quality of their information.
To help you through the process of finding the right technographics provider for you, here are some questions you should ask data vendors you’re interested in:
- What are your technical data collection methods?
- What are your sources of raw data?
- How frequently do you update your data sets?
- Can you verify whether the company still uses the identified software?
- Can your dataset integrate seamlessly with my existing business technologies?
- Can I have a sample set to test the data?
When you’re confident that you can recognize high quality technographic data and that your provider offers exactly this, it’s time to make sure you know what you’ll be using it for and how this will benefit your business.
Who is using technographic data?
Customer service and success-teams can make use of technographic data to better comprehend the pain points of their customers and utilize this information to their benefit during any of the retention programs.
Business intelligence can leverage technographics data to gain a better understanding of the level of demand and how the organization should strategically place themselves in the market.
Marketing and sales can gain tremendously from technographic data as they aim to comprehend their audience and create appropriate messaging for their various campaigns.
Here is how the aforementioned groups of people can use and benefit from technographic data:
Would you like to decimate your competitors? Find out who is using the service or products offered by your competitor and target them across several channels. Put up alerts to find out when someone drops or adds your competitor’s product.
You can make use of data enrichment with Customer Relationship Management records to personalize pitches that are appropriate for every prospect and the technology which they use.
Get notified when any of your target accounts switch any technology or show other purchasing signals such as getting a brand new office or receiving a funding round. Add contact data with technographics to boost the efficiency of your sales development.
Customer Success Teams
Find out small risks ahead of time by identifying those buyers who are testing out a technology that is from one of your competitors.
Based on purchasing signals such as company news, funding rounds, and technology change, find out which clients are good for upselling. Integrate predictive analysis with technographics to identify clients who have potential lifetime value.
Business Intelligence Teams
For business intelligence teams, technographic data is immensely valuable. These teams can mitigate risk and improve decision making for their businesses by using technographic data.
BI teams can also implement technographics data to find the fall or growth between the profiles of different clients and their technology purchasing habits. This data can then be leveraged by research and development teams to create new products that might fill gaps in the market.
Technographic data can also be used by BI teams to enrich existing data sets, such as firmographics or B2B contact lists, in order to create a understanding of your clients, competitors and potential market opportunities.
Over 40,000 marketing, sales, and BI team members of the most reputed and best brands make use of technographics data every single day. Such brands include Marketo, Salesforce, Hubspot, Zendesk, Outreach, Uberflip, Dyn, and many more.
How can I use technographic data?
Technographic data has 3 main use cases of account based marketing, upselling, and market analysis, and 2 key sub-use cases customer segmentation, customer journey customization,
(Click image to enlarge)
When you profile your current customers, you construct a better picture of these customers’ technology stack and the tools they utilize to tackle problems pertinent to your value proposition.
As a case to point, you might find that most of your consumers utilize marketing automation software like Act-On and HubSpot. While this specifies what brands they have a liking for, it is an indicator of their budget as well.
This is primarily because marketing automation is a significant investment in both resources and time. Hence, these tools indicate how committed they are regarding their marketing. Moreover, it can also indicate the size of the organization and how sophisticated their technology and marketing teams are.
Let’s say your particular product integrates with Customer Relationship Management systems like Salesforce. Technographic data will reveal which organizations make use of Salesforce, along with any other relevant tools (which include both competing and complementary). With this valuable data in hand, you can make an assessment of the prospects’ needs and challenges based on this technology.
Moreover, you can identify if they utilize in-house or cloud-based software. Organizations making use of cloud-based software usually tend to be more technologically savvy and want to have robust and flexible stacks that are just as fluid as their requirements.
However, in-house software shows organizations that might be dedicated to their processes. For a SaaS (Software as a Service) businesses, this could be a challenging sell, as it would need an overall disruption of their technology, a change of ongoing staff training, and internal processes.
Although these assumptions are not 100 percent precise, they are valuable indications of just how qualified a particular prospect is. It can also enable you to customize the sales process to your prospects’ requirements based on the technology that they make use of.
Customer Journey Customization
The use of technographic data is not just limited to sales individuals. With this important data, you can optimize the complete journey of the customer and inbound marketing funnel to nurture leads in a better manner and turn a greater number of trial users into paying customers.
It all begins with the correct technographic segmentation, using data enrichment and lead scoring to construct a bigger picture. For instance, you can segment unqualified vs. qualified leads based on their marketing stack’s sophistication (to give an example, are the leads using low-cost or multiple free options vs. a comprehensive marketing automation software/solution like Marketo).
From this point onwards, you would personalize the journey to nurture the leads accordingly . You should do this in the form of truly helpful information and content.
Indeed, buyers are often constantly targeted by marketing messages. When you comprehend the technology stack of a lead, you’re in a better position to offer them helpful content at each stage of the relationship.
The journey you take your customers on is contingent on the technographic data that you identified. These customer journeys might look similar to one of the following:
Complementary: Utilize this particular kind of journey if your offering enriches,optimizes, or works seamlessly with other technologies. For instance, UpLead functions perfectly with Salesforce platforms, and hence, we would target those users accordingly.
Education: If a potential lead is not making use of a provider in your industry, then it is very much likely that they require education on the advantages of such a solution. This would take the form of top-of-funnel content, which aspires to add greater value and guide the lead through the buyer funnel.
Competitive: Construct a journey for those who use a competitor. Here, you would be focusing on what particularly makes your solution the better choice over a specific competitor. This needs a thorough understanding of the ins-and-outs of the offering of your competitors, allowing you to tailor this information during the process of nurturing.
Account Based Marketing
An understanding of a company’s technology stack can allow you to be effective in finding opportunities, prioritizing accounts, and personalizing communication when managing accounts.
With up-to-date technographic data, you’ll be able to analyze the technology stack of an account and identify where your product/service may be a good fit for them. This information can also help your marketing team to properly nurture the account until it is ready to buy.
For sales teams and departments, there is paramount value in leveraging an opportunity as soon as it comes into existence. You should immediately take advantage of new news-worthy content and announcements that revolve around your prospects.
New press releases and announcements including technographic information are all great opportunities to engage with your target accounts and prospects.
You should begin by keeping an eye on the following:
- New acquisitions and mergers
- New product launches and features
- New rounds of funding
- Thought leadership and executive interviews
- Reviews across the internet (both the negative and positive ones)
Then, utilizing technographics data to develop your angle, gear your outreach revolving around these sorts of campaigns.
For instance, if a target account has grabbed a new round of funding but is utilizing a substandard competitor product, you can get in touch regarding the drawbacks of using such a solution during growth periods, stressing on how you manage things in a better manner in the process.
Reaching out at the correct time can make all the difference when selling a product or service. Once your marketing team has properly warmed up and qualified an account with the opportunity you’ve spotted, your sales team can now set it as a priority.
Account prioritization is where you differentiate between accounts who still need convincing and those are are ready to buy. Technographics data can construct a more in-depth profile of the accounts, helping you to do this.
Integrate data enrichment with technographics, and you have yourself an automated method to prioritize accounts. Your sales team is now able to properly focus on the account and reach out at the right time.
As important as timing is the right message and effective communication. When your sales team is reaching out to an account, information on the technologies they’re currently using can help tailor communications to the representative at the account.
You can use technographic data to customize your content to fit the technology stack of the account, making it more relevant to them. For instance, your technographic research may reveal to you more about which technical issues they may be facing and what channels they leverage. In fact, you can also out which issues do not impact them.
This can facilitate you in sharing further valuable information regarding how to utilize their new sales tool with insider hacks and tricks, with key insight into how to make use of the product to tackle problems and concerns which you happen to excel in solving.
For instance, you can host a webinar on identifying prospects based on their technographics. This would help to narrow down to the group of individuals who have shown a recent interest to make a purchase.
This will increase the likelihood of a successful sale that is satisfying to both parties, and will often turn the account into a long-term customer.
Technographic data is also useful when you’ve already got an account using your services.
Since you now know in detail what their needs, budget, and goals are, you’re in a fantastic position to upsell more of your own products and services. There’s really no downside to trying this, especially as you’ve already gained the account’s trust and proven your merit.
To do this as effectively as possible, make sure to use technographic data to assure you of holes in the account’s current technological stack and then see where your product/service can meet their need.
A thorough understanding of the current state of technology in your target market can help you with three things: filling market gaps, developing new products, and acquiring more market share.
Filling Market Gaps
Acquiring technographic data that spans the full range of companies in your market can give you a grand perspective into the area you’re working in.
With this knowledge, you can identify gaps in the market that may not yet have been filled and therefore take steps to fill them.
Developing New Products
Using what you’ve identified as gaps in the market, you can now innovate to meet the need of this gap.
This will not only propel you above your competitors in terms of your new product, but the renown you will gain from the utility of your innovation will help with your existing products too.
Acquiring More Market Share
With information from technographics on where your competitors are doing well, i.e. the number of customers they have uzsing their products, you can see what’s working well and potentially create your own version.
With your own, likely improved version of this technology, you can now effectively reach out to these competitors’ customers and attempt to convince them of the strength of your product over theirs. The natural conclusion of this is that you gain more market share at the expense of your competitors. What’s not to like?
What are the challenges with technographic data?
The main challenges when it comes to technographic are finding out when and how a technology is being used and ensuring that this information is up to date. Additionally, it can be a further challenge to ensure scale in certain markets and areas, especially when the information may be out of date of unavailable.
The providers of technographic data need to be efficient enough to recognize apparent traces of software that the business uses every day. In some cases, however, the business no longer uses the software that the collection of technographic data identifies. Hence, the providers of the data may mitigate information that is no longer applicable to the company’s situation.
For technographic data providers, the provision of real-time information pertaining to technology stacks and the analysis of software and hardware being used by the consumers is very important. The engagement patterns of customers, including their duration and time of engagement, are shifting, owing to frequent technological developments. This aspect presents a stiff challenge in gathering real-time insights about the engagement patterns and preferences of the customers.
Finally, even if there is up-to-date data that shows exactly what the technologies are being used for and when they were acquired, there’s unfortunately no guarantee that this information would be available on a large enough scale in some cases. This is all the more reason to check that your data provider offers data on the right scale for you.
How is technographic data priced?
Data providers offer a broad selection of pricing models for their consumers, given the diversity of all possible use cases for technographic data. Ranging from monthly and annual licensing models, to cost per prospect to annual, data providers tend to even offer custom solutions, as they want to be accessible for you.
With this in mind, technographic data pricing usually follows one of these three formats:
- Subscription to data feed – The price is contingent on the granularity of information and update frequency.
- Cost per lead – The price is contingent on how qualified the lead is.
- Cost per batch – The price is contingent on the time taken to gather the information and the size of the batch.
With technology becoming ever more integrated into our business operations, it’s safe to say technographic data is not going anywhere anytime soon. For this reason, the sooner you can start implementing technographic data, the more prepared you’ll be to benefit further in the future.
Remember that, while possible, sourcing technographics yourself is often a technically challenging and time consuming endeavor. To ensure the easiest and highest quality data for your business, it’s best to source it from top-rated technographic data providers.
Equipped with the knowledge from this guide, you can now feel confident researching, testing, and utilizing technographic data that is right for you.