Will Your Sales Team Survive 2016?

knockoutHow Well Are You Positioned

…As Your Company Moves Away From Unprofitable Hardware Deals?

Big Changes Are Coming as we roll into 2016. Already I have had numerous conversations with Sales Managers and Business Owners, in both large and small VARs and Systems Integrators about this. The big question seems to be, “Will my team make the transition to higher-value selling?”

If you’re closing business with margins in the single digits, pay attention. Hardware sales are shrinking, and so are hardware margins. Think, Software, Cloud, Data Analytics, and Security…

Make sure you are in touch with CIOs and where they are heading…

Here’s what the CIOs are Talking about:

Customer experience.

Expect 2016 to be a year focused on both end-user and end-client experience. And it had better be fast and digital! “Regardless of industry, CIOs will have more responsibility directly to the customer,” said Bill Bradley, CIO at CenturyLink Inc.

“the CIO…is now considered very valuable in the ability to bridge the gap between IT and internal and external customer needs,” saidErika Lance, CIO at Nationwide Title Clearing Inc.  If you look at companies like Amazon, speed of delivery, subscription oriented, app driven, and very digital, are the keys to success. They’re responsive, but they also continue to look for more ways to create a sticky customer base – like Prime Membership and One Click Pay.  2 Day delivery is no longer good enough if they want to be number 1!

Future Strategies and Business Growth

CIOs are front and center on leading the company to the next level. Every strategic decision will be technology based, or have a significant technology component.  Customer experience largely depends on the technology strategy – and the CIO is on the hook. While CIOs were once trapped in the data center, they are now responsible for leading a diverse group of departments using different types of technology, to beat the competition.  In 2016 they must be more in tune with their end-users, and those the end-users serve; Their Customers.

This is not completely new. In fact, if the CIO is not already involved in the C-Suite and board level discussions, chances are they are too late.

How Can You Help?

CIOs need your help. Especially in the mid-market where IT talent is harder to come by.  They need advisors, education, support, and ideas.  They also need talent when it comes to the more complex implementations, and ongoing security intelligence. Make sure you are doing the following…

  1. Learn to talk “Business”. If you’re still down in the weeds talking to IT Directors, you’re out. Learn how to talk to CIOs. (Reading the WSJ CIO section would be a great start).
  2. Build industry solution expertise.  No one needs to see your corporate presentation. So stop leading with it. Read, research, and bring answers to your next meeting.
  3. Lead with some sort of analysis or assessment.  PWC and KPMG have been doing this successfully for decades…
  4. Measure your conversion from Assessment to Project. If it’s less than 50% something is wrong.  It’s probably too technical, and not speaking to the CIO.
  5. Stop talking about product. Start talking about Customer Experience, Data Analytics, and/or Security. These are the things that matter. Technology then gives us tools, like Big Data Software, to bring them to life.

Will You Make The Transition?

There really is a change coming. Technology Sales Leadership estimate that half their team will make it. Take inventory, consider your business from 2015, and ask the question, “Am I a Keeper?” If not, I highly recommend you buckle down and begin a program of personal transformation.

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. If you’ve not read From Vendor To Adviser…now might be a good time!








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