HOW TO SELL ANYTHING

Top 5 Ways to Sell Technology in 2013

With budgets still tight, companies are reluctant to adopt new technology without a compelling reason. Sales guru Tom Searcy shares five approaches that will help you make the sale.
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Recently, I had a chance to connect with John Diaz from iQuoteXpress to discuss the changing world of selling technology. It used to be that selling technology was all about software demonstrations and business case presentations. Actually, it still kind of is, but things have gotten a lot more sophisticated and challenging when you consider cloud-computing, SaaS, and the high demand for universal mobility. Here are five approaches to selling technology in this new environment.

1. Focus on the transition

How fast an organization is able to implement a new technology solution is critical to its real value to the buyer. Everyone can demonstrate the functionality of the technology. The real value driver is this: How are you going to get this technology implemented in the smoothest and fastest way possible? Showing your change-management strategy is a compelling way to get people moving forward on a technology buy. End-users drive the real value to a company, not the IT staff. Make certain that you have a clear way to communicate how you will accelerate use by end-users and you will have a better chance of winning.

2. Focus on other metrics besides ROI

The trouble with ROI business cases is found in the assumptions. Most of the time, no one really believes them because the metrics are unrealistic. Instead, provide a business case that demonstrates these metrics:

  • Adoption Rate--How many people convert to the use of the technology
  • Utilization Rate--How often is the solution used compared to prior solution
  • Function Penetration Rate--How many of the functions are used

Buyers are savvy enough to know that these components will drive the real business case. Include them in your calculation and your ROI may go down, but your credibility will go up.

3. Help your customers make the leap

Technology in the workplace is shifting toward a cloud environment, where more businesses are housing their customer relationship management and enterprise content management solutions. A SaaS model is one of the growing technological solutions that allows companies to host their own cloud infrastructure and integrate as many processes as they want into the platform. For some companies, SaaS may seem like a future initiative rather than an immediate opportunity. Showing them how to make the leap, even if it is for a single application, can open the door for change.

4. Understand their business as well as you understand your solution

Business decision-makers don't want to feel like they are getting the run-of-the-mill sales pitch from companies when they are learning about new products and/or services. Sales professionals need to research the company and provide specific examples of how the new tools can positively impact their business. Personalizing the sales approach will give those making the pitch a better opportunity to turn leads into new clients.

5. Get their fears out on the table

If you ask a prospect about their questions, you will get technical and business queries that may increase understanding, but not necessarily increase likelihood to purchase. You have to ask the harder questions to get at the real resistance if you want to be successful. Some examples include:

  • Which department do you believe will find implementation of this solution the most difficult and why?
  • Where have past technology solution implementations run into trouble and why?
  • Is there a horror story of technology in your company that is often used as the example why something should not be bought? If so, can you tell me about it?
IMAGE: Courtesy 37 Signals
Last updated: Mar 6, 2013

TOM SEARCY | Columnist | Founder, Hunt Big Sales

Author, speaker, and consultant Tom Searcy is the foremost expert in large account sales. With Hunt Big Sales, he has helped clients land more than $5 billion in new sales. Click to get Searcy's weekly tips, or to learn more about Hunt Big Sales.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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