Selling in the technology sector comes with all the challenges and pitfalls of selling complex solutions, generally encompassing a blend of product, services, support and often added complexities of third party integrations or partnerships that make sales opportunities unique and generally more lucrative to the seller, and ultimately more valuable to the customer.
For sales people entering this sector for the first time, it can be a daunting, steep learning curve and for the more seasoned, the rapid rate of change requires continual fine tuning of the approach.
We have been working recently with a number of internal telesales professionals making the change to field based customer facing roles and developing their talents with a focus on developing a sales strategy and approach that is consistent and repeatable.
Over time, the basic principles below provide a brief guide for a winning sales strategy, connecting closer with customers and landing more profitable business.
- Storytelling. Everyone enjoys a good story. Whether it be socially or in a business environment. A story enables people to connect with more powerful and emotional attachment to the problem and the solution. It provides the platform for confidence and trust in what is being discussed and has more impact that facts and figures alone. The best sales people and sales leaders that I have worked with are good at painting the picture with a story before detailing the solution and value. Stories stick in customer’s minds, long after the sale.
- Change Agent. Often one of the biggest obstacles in selling technology is the barriers to change. There are typically more reasons for customers to say no to change due to complexity, perceived risk, priorities, required effort and resources to name a few. Be prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder with the customer and plan and give time to how the project will be delivered and make sure accountability occurs on both parties. This is especially important for the delivery of services and detailing out the scope of work. Make sure you find the overbearing reasons why the customer needs to change. Focus on Business as Usual vs New World and why they must act now.
- Communicate Value. The importance of connecting the customer problem to the solution with a solid value proposition is well known. How we communicate this is important and the timing. From the outset, the initial storytelling should start to communicate to the customer that you are the change agent and partner that will deliver value. Look for the additional pockets of value and explore them with the client throughout the sales cycle. Often, a gold nugget will appear late in the sales cycle that wasn’t immediately obvious but can add value to the sales proposal and business case for change. Additional less obvious value can act as a differentiator and alter decision criteria so can be a powerful way of turning a deal in your favour.
- Remove the Risk. With any solution sale in the tech sector, there will be an element of risk for both parties. There will be some resistance to change and risk around the people involved, the execution of the implementation, financial implications of potential delays and where possible it is important to share the risk with the customer. Accountability is key for both parties and where possible, introduce milestones and payments into the deliverables to keep the project on track, provide cash flow and reduce the risks of scope creep.
- Elevate to Trusted. Demonstrating trustworthiness is relatively straightforward with good storytelling and examples of previous success and building rapport with the customer. It is harder to become a true trusted partner, to elevate above the competition that could also be trustworthy. To become the trusted advisor takes time and effort but it’s never too early to start in the sales cycle with new customers and it should be part of every account plan for existing customers. Demonstrating expertise, credibility, cultural compatibility and proving that you have the customers best interests in mind as well as your own will elevate your trusted status.
By developing these 5 core areas, sales people will fine tune the skills needed to differentiate in today’s tough selling climate, experience greater engagement with the customer through delivery, drive higher adoption of the solutions and increase revenue.
For more information, and to discuss how Stormcast Sales Consulting can help your sales teams stand out and win more profitable sales, please get in touch at email@example.com or visit us at www.stormcastsales.com