Lori Cornmesser, IT Sales, Corporate

 

At a recent Micro Cloud Summit conference, Gartner’s analyst Tiffani Boca discussed a special Gartner report titled, “The Future of IT Sales.” Based on multiple surveys of IT buyers at large organizations, several key features were pointed out about what it will take to close cloud services deals in the future.

Focusing on benefits is a key shift in selling as one moves the discussion away tom features. While this sounds cliche, or something from Sals 101, this advice is often pushed aside. Maybe the fact that service features are asker to come up with than benefits make it easier to discuss. Features are attributes f the produce and service, while benefits reflect the impacts of that produce or service, directly related to the customer. This does require a bit more thought. In the future, buyers will be much more focused on the benefits and successful cloud selling will mean talking up the benefits.

A second important aspect of cloud selling is building trust and communicating differentiation by using customer case studies. Unlike selling hardware, cloud services are not as commoditized and have real differences in quality of service, levels of serve, and features. Gartner found that by using customer case studies, communication differentiation and creating trust has been revolutionized as high effective way to sell the product. Make sure existing customers are delighted and then trumpet that success to your prospects and other customers.

Keep in mind the decision maker. Vars are used to selling to IT management, however the future of IT sales is not necessarily in the IT/IS department. While IT may be called in to vet solutions, it has shown that the decision is increasingly being driven by line management. In this case the implications are that you need to speak the language of the functional business lines. In the future, be prepared to speak the specific language of vertical markets and function business units.

Resellers need to move to cloud via evolutionary steps. Sales people need to become more consultative in their approach. Sales management needs to envelop knew compensation programs for their sales representatives. marketing needs to revamp materials for cloud serves as accounting needs to implement recurring billing models. Operations needs to develop first line support capabilities and finally, top management needs to fully support these essential shifts within each department. It is important to remember that these changes cannot happen overnight. There is one very important caveat: Much like the dinosaurs, failure to evolve to quickly adapt to a changing ecosystem will leave many resellers extinct. The time is now to start the move to the future of IT sales.