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Selling Technology Solutions in an Industry of Continual Innovation
Selling the digitally transformative technology solutions of today demands new skills. Technology, IT, telecommunications, and software sales professionals need a training program that empowers them to position differentiated value across a complex channel partner ecosystem. This challenge intensifies as tech companies elevate this strategy by moving beyond their core markets in search of new revenue opportunities. Traversing this steep incline means selling technology requires sales professionals to navigate challenges like:
- Bringing existing products into adjacent or emerging verticals to drive predictable revenue
- Customizing positioning strategies to each individual customer with specialized needs
- Engaging post-merger customers who possess greater negotiation leverage
Technology sales professionals need ways to respond to these emerging factors. At Richardson, we have helped many Fortune 500 technology companies do so by:
- Creating a scalable strategy to increase referral networks
- Identifying equitable trades in the negotiation process to drive mutually beneficial outcomes
- Presenting pricing strategies and proposals that address the procurement professional’s needs
Developing these specialized selling skills requires customized technology sales training that directly addresses everyday challenges. We create this relevancy by interviewing sales leaders before designing any training content. The details learned in these conversations guide our curriculum design. In many of these conversations, we have learned about the leadership’s challenges in positioning intangible, digitally transformative solutions like cloud services.
“[The technology sales training was the] right balance between theory and practice. Role playing is important. Also, we are able to look at customer engagements in a structured way.” – Red Hat training participant
Selling the Cloud
The cloud has dramatically impacted the way businesses buy software. As the cloud layers have matured from IaaS through PaaS to SaaS, it has transformed the playing field for providers along the way.
The most critical implications of maturation to cloud services sales teams are twofold:
- The increased proliferation of services being provided at each layer within the cloud
- The commoditization of infrastructure services as buyers now expect to consume straight to SaaS
Sales organizations that make the adjustments necessary to successfully navigate through this changing landscape will have the ability to capitalize on a significant market opportunity. Learn more about cloud selling in our white paper: Selling the Cloud: 10 Best Practices for Sales Execution.
Our Customized Approach for Training Technology, IT, Telecommunications and Software Sales Professionals
We develop technology sales training solutions that speak to the details of the business. To do so, we draft a comprehensive analysis of the current state of the organization. We examine what is working and what is not. Using this dimensional picture, we begin to build a training program that empowers sales professionals in the technology industry with skills that can be directly applied to opportunities in their pipeline.
Throughout this process, we interview sales leaders, learning leaders, marketing team members, and sales professionals. Together, these responses allow our instructional designers to build technology sales training content that supports the organization’s existing strategies, competitive approach, and value proposition.
Training Programs for Technology Sales Professionals
Technology sales professionals need ways to elevate the dialogue and ascend to the role of a trusted advisor. Technology buying decisions weigh heavily on the customer because the solution often has ramifications for other, existing technologies. With a consultative selling approach, the sales professional has the strategic dialogue skills to go beyond the current challenges and examine the customer’s implementation concerns.
With our Consultative Selling Skills program, participants learn to sell technology using the Six Critical Skills to engage the right customer contacts with the right level of dialogue. With these capabilities, a technology sales professional can more effectively connect the solution’s benefits to nuanced business needs.
Sales professionals need to keep pace as business needs change. The rate of this change is never more apparent than in the technology industry. To advance alongside this accelerated change, sales professionals need a coach.
In our Developmental Coaching program, leaders of technology, IT, software, and telecommunications sales teams learn to help their professionals self-discover ways to leverage strengths. They learn to coach their teams to continually grow and improve through problem solving. Leaders also gain insight into their personal biases, perceptions, communication approaches, and skill gaps that interfere with their abilities to increase accountability and strengthen performance.
Competition is escalating as new technologies become affordable to produce. In this setting, customers are in a strong position to negotiate. Moreover, many of these customers enjoy the benefits of scale. That is, they have a larger footprint as a result of mergers and therefore can command lower prices, faster deployment schedules, greater customization, and more comprehensive service and support agreements. Sales professionals in the technology space need to respond with better negotiation skills.
Richardson’s Consultative Negotiations program equips technology sales professionals to protect the value of the sale by converting demands to needs. Doing so results in solutions that do not require lower prices or a reduced solution. Participants also learn trading strategies that prevent impulsive concessions. In short: sales professionals learn to enter negotiations with a structured plan.
How Richardson Improved Selling Outcomes for a Fortune 500 Computer Manufacturer
A Fortune 500 computer manufacturer needed to improve direct sales for their multiple division call center by increasing close ratios, capitalizing on cross-selling opportunities, and building better long-term relationships. Doing so meant earning full managerial support to reinforce change across the call center culture.
The training prepared participants to:
- Keep the dialogue customer-focused to identify needs and position solutions
- Upsell and cross-sell systems components and peripherals
- Identify the decision-making process
- Identify and maximize customer “buying signals”
- Resolve tough customer questions and objections
An internal level four evaluation on training effectiveness created by the client indicated that for every $1.00 spent on Richardson training, they experienced a return of $321.00 in revenue.
A recent internal evaluation found that, after participating in Richardson sales training, there was an increase in average weekly margins of 10%. The client reported that this translated into $5 million in overall margin increases. The head of global sales training credits the Richardson training as being instrumental to their success in this measure.