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Mastering the ‘Business’ of selling Technology

08-Jul-2019 12:00 PM

Posted by Prashanth GJ, CEO, Technobind

What frustrates a CIO the most? It’s a pretty difficult riddle. Could it be the shrinking budgets? Unrealistic expectations from the business? Fear of outage? While all of these are huge concerns, I think the most frustrating experience for a CIO is dealing with an outdated sales pitch.

Imagine this: A CIO’s role has changed a great deal in the last one decade—from a technology procurer to strategic influencer to business leader. Successful CIOs today drive business outcomes. And, there is nothing more ironic than a solution provider trying to sell ‘technology’ to a CIO. Because, a CIO today may not necessarily be looking at tech solutions to everything. She is rather trying to focus on strategic efficiencies. Organizations simply don’t spend on technologies that do not have a business use case.

“I often encounter questions such as ‘what are the technologies you’re investing on? Is AI your focus area this year?’. If my organization doesn’t invest on the hottest technologies, are we doing something terribly wrong? The basic problem lies in this approach to technology—finding a solution and then trying to fit it into a problem,” recounts a CIO I recently met.

This is exactly what every CIO who listens to a conventional sales conversation will feel like. So, if you’re a solution provider who still talks about how great a product you have, vis-à-vis the competing products in the market—time to change! Because it really doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is whether you’re able to resolve a critical business pain point for your customer.

Why Change?

In recent years, I have met many partners (who indeed have best of breed technologies and products) struggling to sustain a meaningful sales conversation with decision makers of their customer organizations. I think it’s time that the channel fraternity move on from our comfort zones to more relevant methods of selling technology. It’s not just because the typical CIO role has changed. It’s because the entire technology buying mechanism has transformed.

Technology is now being consumed and bought by an extended set of influencers, other than the CIO, within an organization. The channel is now talking to a new set of decision makers who has never dealt with technology. Business users now have dedicated technology budgets in the digital era. But they think and consume technology quite differently.

Besides, IT consumption models have completely changed and are no more cantered around yearly hardware upgrades or forklifts. Shrinking budgets, skills shortage and the sheer complexity of IT infrastructures are prodding organizations to explore new ways of investing and utilizing IT. Cloud is a great example.

In the process, technology and business leaders are increasingly becoming informed and focused. Gone are the days when IT leaders relied on the vendors or the channel to keep abreast of market trends. By the time you sit across the table, the customer has already formed his opinion and probably knows more than you about a particular technology.

As a data-focused specialized distributor, we have gone through multiple trial and errors before we arrived at these three core rules of technology selling:

--The legacy way of selling is becoming irrelevant

--The brand is no longer the driver of demand

--Margins lie in getting the right tech at the right place and at right price.

Our use-case based approach to sales is derived from these core ideas and has had many takers in a short span of time. Technobind partners have been able to identify specific business pain points and align technology options to solve that problem. They are able to add better value, create repeat business and tap new opportunities while ensuring that their margins are higher, and sales cycles are shorter.

With the ongoing shifts in the market and the technology landscape, the deliverables will keep changing for the channel. Let’s not miss the bus!