Enterprise technology is at an exciting precipice, on the verge of transforming into something new, born of yet another evolution that will continue to illicit dramatic changes in the next few years. This is either a time when your team will shrink into the background of irrelevance, or immerge as a successful technology leader.
ElasticSales drives and executes sales campaigns with dozens of enterprise technology companies. We’ve both anticipated and experienced the changing enterprise landscape first hand, and have outlined what we see as the biggest shifts in enterprise technology sales. Our mission is to make the companies we pair with as successful as possible, and that means immerging from this transitional time profitable and triumphant.
Here’s what you need to know:
Shrinking IT vs. Growing Marketing Budgets
There have been recent reports showing slowed growth of IT budgets, while marketing budgets have grown. This means that the traditional enterprise technology consumer (IT Departments) will have a shrinking budget with which to purchase fewer and fewer products. In contrast, marketing departments will soon be the leading purchaser of enterprise technology. There’s a long list of factors on why this is happening (the adoption of SaaS, cloud computing, social media as well as the ongoing fragmentation of media) but that’s less important for the purpose of this piece. What’s important now is to know where your buyers are, and more often in the future, you’ll see them in marketing.
The good thing is that pitching a marketing/advertising person isn’t much different than reaching out to a Director of IT. You still have to understand your buyer’s needs and pitch them on your benefits. In this case, keep your outreach clear and as non-technical as possible. No need to get into the nitty-gritty aspects of technology integration or deployment, but do quantify your benefits with data. Don’t get me wrong; while a marketing person may not care if your product can be easily integrated with their IT infrastructure, they will look for the quantifiable ROI of your product and a way to track the results. With all the data that can be tracked online or via social media, marketing is increasingly becoming a quants game. So you better have a way to track your data.
Overall Budgets Are Down.
Gone are the days of shelfware. Well maybe not completely, but companies are tightening their belts and more than happy to cut unnecessary expenditures. This includes software that is either redundant or completely useless. It’s not that anyone wants his or her software collecting dust, but as someone selling enterprise tech, you have to not only make a sale but also ensure the customer is continuously engaged with your product.
There’s a couple ways to stay off the shelf or keep from being replaced by a competitor – reduce your price or increase your value. The first is obvious; reducing your price is easy. The second is harder to achieve, but can be done if you actually keep engaging your customer! (Not a novel idea, but not often executed.)
I’m not talking about just pushing them along whatever process you have in your CRM. I’m talking about actually spending time with them to learn about their pain points using your product, learning about what they would like improved and requesting their insight on new developments in your pipeline. This way your customer is both using your product and actively involved with its development.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).
The introduction of smart mobile technology and BYOD policies in organizations has been a major boon for enterprise technology sales. Beyond creating an entirely new mobile market for technology, mobile tech has created a new way to sell enterprise products. BYOD allows each individual employee to become an internal advocate for your product. This is a relatively new, bottom-up approach for selling your technology, instead of bottom-down, which has traditionally been the case in enterprise tech. Think about it, if you can get your product in the hands of the end user (say a field sales rep) via an app store on their device, the user can actually sell your product upstream for wider distribution in their organization. You may have to pitch management on your product, but it’s better to go into that meeting with the support of several advocates within their organization.
Enterprise tech companies like Offerpop, Dropbox, and even Salesforce are great examples of taking advantage of these recent trends and are worth looking at if you’re searching for ways to do so yourself.
What are some other shifts in enterprise technology sales worth mentioning, and how have you been able to use them in your favor?