1. “Mine’s Better”
In technology sales, salespeople are often trained to focus on their product’s or service’s “bells and whistles” (features). This is done in an effort to convince potential buyers that their offering beats their competitor’s. The focus is put onto the technical (often slight) differences and advantages of their technology, instead of its value. Because the differences are marginal, the conversation often descends into pricing. Technologies, especially today, are extremely similar, and their value (or differences) may not be obvious to the prospect.
The lesson of this insight is this: It’s not about technology, but about the value your particular technology solution provides to your potential client’s business.
How do we put the spotlight on that value? By posing the right questions at the right time, carefully listening to the answers, and then positioning your solution as relevant to your prospect’s business issues and goals.
In this day and age of educated buyers, simply rattling off your pitch won’t get you far. In every prospect interaction, your goal must be to discover the unique value of your offering to that particular individual and enterprise. You then provide the right solution.
2. Target the Right Person
Take a good look at the person with whom you’re engaging. It often happens that technology salespeople lead with technology, even when they’re speaking to a non-tech-savvy decision maker. This can cause overwhelm or confusion on the part of the prospect.
The details of technology only mean something to the tech buyer—the person who can comprehend technological nuances and differences. That person, however, is rarely the individual who writes the company’s checks. People in financial roles are, however, interested in what technology can do for the company—when expressed in terms of time or money saved.
3. Prospect From the Top
It is very tempting for technology sales people to target technical buyers, but it’s not always the right approach. If you, as a sales person can identify how your prospect company could benefit from your solution, you might be better off targeting higher level executives, such as the CEO, the CTO, or COO. If your technology can help companies make or save money, then (and you can bet your money on this) you will get the attention from senior management. It’s all about doing your research and crafting the right message. It’s also a lot easier to work your way down within an organization, than to climb up the organizational ladder.
4. Don’t Get Trapped in the Middle (Mid-Level Management)
Mid-management is often protective of their turf and they very rarely have final decision-making power. So, if you engage with them (even if they are responsive), you will have to rely on them to communicate the value of your solution to their management, the people who will give final approval. Why would you want to risk that? If you, however, get buy-in from top management first, and they then involve the technical experts or management, you can be assured that your sales cycle will be shorter.
5. Always Lead with the Value
Again, it’s not about the technology, but what the technology can do for that organization. That proposition might be different for every single company, so you will need to do your research. In the end it will pay off. If you offer a technology that can help companies stay connected to the internet without interruptions (like one of our clients), focus on the value that solution brings to this client. Losing an internet connection these days can have devastating effects on companies, but the consequences might differ depending on the industry. In the public sector, it might mean that ambulances don’t get to an accident scene on time. In a retail environment the effects might be less drastic, but very costly. If your client’s employees can’t open hundreds or more of their cash registers due to a lost connection, it can result in lost revenue.
6. How to Make Higher Pricing Not an Issue
Here is the lesson to learn for salespeople who sell technology enabled solutions. A higher price might not be an issue, as long as the solution that you are offering is relevant to the individual who is buying it and they feel it’s worth it. Personally, I don’t mind paying more if I actually get more, but that’s up to the sales person to help me understand. Good salespeople help clients understand the value of their solutions, and why the cheaper solution might have downfalls.
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