In every conversation I have with sales leaders, I’m asked, “How do I get my product in front of the CIO?” The premise is that if they could just crack that code, their sales would skyrocket. The CIO is important, but key to increasing sales in the enterprise is selling to the entire IT team. When you make that mind shift, you can more easily establish relationships and win customers.
Granted, a lot goes into successfully selling to technology buyers. Targeting the right prospect is just the first step. We’ll tackle more selling tips in future articles. Today, let’s look at the IT buying team and three tips that help you close deals faster.
TIP 1. Set Your Sights On the IT Team
CIOs only spend 1 percent of their time on vendor relationships—that’s about 7 minutes a day—because they rely on their IT team to establish and maintain these relationships. The CIO holds the IT team responsible for finding the best solution and reporting back with vendor recommendations. That’s why the IT team is your ideal prospect, not the CIO. You need to focus on the IT team, which typically ranges from 5 to 12 individuals and includes help desk staff, network and database administrators, and IT managers.
Key takeaway: Anyone on the IT team is your entry point into a sale.
TIP 2. Understand the IT purchase process
The technology purchase process has distinct phases. First, a business manager, CIO, or other executive determines a need. Next, the IT team extensively researches options, thoroughly evaluates solutions, and selects two to three vendors for a short list. Much of this process—up to 70 percent—takes place online before the IT team even talks to a sales person. Finally, once a short list is determined, the IT team “sells” their vendor recommendations back to the CIO who makes the purchase decision.
Key takeaway: Provide information online to help the IT team consider your solution.
TIP 3. Help your prospect sell your solution to the IT team
Your prospect on an IT team sells your solution internally to the rest of the IT team. To be comfortable and confident doing this, he needs to understand how your solution solves his business challenge and aligns with his business goals. He must also show the return on investment and the total cost of ownership. Up to 81 percent of IT managers expect their vendors to help them prove ROI. Help him make the case to his colleagues by arming him with strong business and financial information.
Key takeaway: Provide the information to get on the short list
Following these tips helps you sell to the right prospects, shorten the sales cycle, and ultimately drive more revenue.
Erin Bolton is an award-winning technology marketing consultant with extensive channel expertise. She has over 15 years of experience developing integrated, research-driven, B2B sales initiatives that target technology buyers.