Sell Beyond your Customers’ IT Function to Drive Up Your Revenues and Margins
A perfect storm of trends and events are causing a reduction in the level of control that the IT function will have over the forces that affect it.
The continued trends toward consumer power and choice (BYOD), borderless environments, and cloud computing have combined with a flat economy to force significant IT decisions and budget control into the hands of business managers.
As the world of IT moves forward, CIO’s and CTO’s are finding that they must coordinate their activities with a much wider scope than they once had and they must now adapt to this new paradigm or face being “swept aside”.
This shift in the power base, the fact that IT controlled budgets represent less than 6% of operational expenditure across all sectors and the commoditisation of networking technology are starting to result in a major and rapid decline of revenues and margins for those companies who have enjoyed strong relationships with the IT function (often for many years).
In order to be successful in today’s marketplace, IT solution sales teams must widen their organisational engagement. They must shift their focus from the IT function to become ‘business-centric’ sales professionals who drive mutual value at the strategic decision-making level, both inside and outside of the customer IT function. To achieve this, they will need to have the confidence and capability to:
- Gain IT function sponsorship for engagement outside the IT function and for initiatives that result from the engagement;
- Obtain accelerated access to strategic non-IT decision-makers and influencers;
- Connect with and tap directly into their world and hence, gain hidden insight into their strategic business goals and their short, medium and longer term priorities;
- Use researched insight to provoke disruptive ideas and bring new innovative perspectives on the pressures they face;
- Use these disruptive ideas and innovative perspectives to develop and shape the customer’s explicit needs within the context of their own company’s capabilities;
- Align their own company’s capabilities directly to the realisation of the customer’s short, medium and longer term business goals;
- Gain agreement to the allocation of resources for taking mutual strategic opportunities forward with urgency;
- Lead the business development process proactively and with speed to deliver accelerated results.
By enabling and embedding confidence and competence in these elements the sales team will achieve a shift from a reactive, IT function-centric sales unit to a proactive solutions sales unit that proactively develops high margin business outside of the IT function.
The critical trick is to implement this with the IT function’s sponsorship. This carries a significant benefit for the IT function in terms of promoting their own brand across the business with the help of trusted suppliers. It also carries the benefit to the selling organisation of mitigating the risk of damaging relationships with the IT function, hence threatening existing business that the IT function places with the selling company