Don’t Laugh… The Digital Resistor Market is Still Strong

Understanding the Buyer Journey of Technology Laggards

Can you imagine waking up to a broken hot water heater and pulling out a “phone book” to begin solving the problem? And writing a check out to the plumber who hand-wrote your invoice, after finding your house with his paper AAA map, and stopped by his bank branch afterwards to deposit your check inside with the teller?

To those championing, supporting or selling digital transformation initiatives, this is an entirely believable scenario. We see and absorb it every day.

Digital transformation and process automation represents significant change for many mid-market sized businesses, and it isn’t just “employees” that are resisting, as many studies imply. While assisting with client sales calls across numerous industries over that past few months, I’ve heard some astonishing contention regarding the use of software, IoT concepts and workflow automation from a host of both young and more seasoned C-suite decision-makers.

How can providers of technology solutions approach mid-market prospects that fall into the “Digital Laggard” buyer persona?  Somewhat strategically for sure.  A few tips:

  • While it’s true that many Buyer journeys begin with buyer research and education online, many laggards just aren’t doing that. The “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach rules their day, and continuous learning isn’t one of their strong suits. It’s incumbent upon Sellers to find the right personal and media channels to expose tech laggards to the systems and processes that ARE broken with over-redundancy, paper-heavy or excessive manual labor requirements.
  • When tech laggard decision-makers are able to share strategic visions, goals or objectives for their business, try connecting a digital transformation strategy to their existing analog approach. This may stimulate further interest in accomplishing their goals more effectively with a digital solution.
  • Take baby-steps with digital resistors. Seek to accomplish small successes before pitching a broader digital transformation strategy or investment. A small success with advanced technology will then progress into THEIR idea about how to broaden the scope.
  • I’m careful and conservative about the use of product demonstrations when selling technology solutions, but they ARE critical with skeptical technology buyers. While you may assume that your case studies or reference customers are proof of your solution’s efficacy, don’t discount the importance of proving to your tech laggard prospects exactly how it works in a demonstration performance that leaves little doubt to the validity of your claims.

The Early Adopter is the technology buyer persona we all love. But connecting successfully with slower digital transformers is a varsity game for all-star marketing and sales pros. Take a strategic approach, understand the slower pace at which success will be realized, and present a definitive business case your skeptical prospect can embrace and easily accomplish.

Jack Liles is a Partner at TechCXO, providing on-demand Chief Sales Officer duties to client companies in need of go-to-market plan development, improved sales performance, leadership and structure. Jack is a veteran Naval Officer and recovering F-14 Tomcat flyer. Following his service, Jack earned leadership roles at the ad agency Leo Burnett, Coca-Cola, UPS and at numerous successful (and unsuccessful) start-ups. Connect with Jack at

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