The Important, But Difficult Transformation…
From Vendor to Advisor
Last week I had the opportunity to meet with Ingram Micro’s Datacenter Advisory Board to discuss the important transformation: From Vendor to Advisor.
Meeting at the DropBox office in San Francisco (Amazing office space!), I covered five key areas of transformation. But one important one, every sales person should be engaged in right now is that of understanding the CIO and their current challenges.
CIOs are in trouble in many respects. If you call on businesses large enough to staff a actual CIO, and you were to get their honest input on where things are headed, you might be surprised to hear what’s going on.
The office of CIO is under fire right now from two sides…
On one side, the business leadership is looking for CIOs to lead the charge with digitalization. That means figuring out how to leverage transformational technologies to compete in a digital world. Customer experience is the focus here, and customers want to be connected online. Amazon-like interaction is becoming more and more expected. The sales rep who can provide business insight on how to transform the business is going to be highly sought after. CIOs can’t so this alone.
But few reps are doing anything more than parroting data sheet features and functions. The answer? Every rep should be back in school! By that I mean taking time to learn about business.
Reading the CIO Journal is a great start. But don’t stop there. Read books written by the top business authors. Every month I recommend books I find value in through my Insider’s Edge Newsletter. One book I recently recommended, Traction, offers great insights into the business planning process. Business planning might not sound like technology sales stuff, but it is central to what business leaders need. Start with the things they are already engaged in, and then move to the digital age to help them solve real-world problems.
On the other side there is security. The fact is, security is changing, and CIOs are being asked to present a measurement of risk to their board. Where does that data come from? In the very large enterprise, such as Bank of America (where I used to work years ago), there are teams that handle that sort of thing. But come down a step or two and it doesn’t exist.
One of my clients, who manages this entire process for regional banks, recently reported achieving over 400% of his quota in just 6 short months, simply by providing this to his clients. They need it, and they’ll pay for it.
The Trusted Advisor Formula
There are two ingredients – Trusted and Able to Advise. It’s obvious. Maybe even silly. When I say this on stage it usually gets a laugh.
But there is an important question here. Are you able to advise on the things your execute-level clients really need advice on? If not, how will you equip yourself to make this transformation? It’s not easy. It takes diligence in reading, studying, and listening to/ watching great content. Those who take the time to study will see the results. Those who don’t may find the next decade in this business to be impossible.
© 2017, David Stelzl