You’ve probably been in the same demonstrations I have where the presenter shows product after product with no apparent goal or target. Sometimes these presentations even get disguised as a “design session”. It’s like they’re telling themselves “If I throw enough information their way they’ll buy something, anything!” A better approach is needed… a simple holistic approach.
In my experience this couldn’t be further from the truth. Unfortunately more times than not the potential customer comes away thinking it’s way too complicated, too expensive, and even more importantly, it doesn’t solve any of their real, present and future, technical issues.
Simple is Good
One of the latest crusades that I have been on is that the offering needs to be “simple”. As the IT department is either the “strong influencer” or “decision maker” of high tech equipment purchases I am going to focus on this group to make my point.
What does simple mean to the IT person? This can be defined in two terms: easy to administer and easy to install.
Ten different applications, or more, presented to the IT person randomly does not portray easy. And not being easy to administer, install, and monitor means time lost and that’s a luxury they simply don’t have. The last thing they want to hear about is a plethora of new applications to take on. The presentation needs to feel and be perceived as simple and encompassing.
The Holistic Approach
You’re probably saying “That’s great but these applications are our differentiation!” I agree. I would go so far as to say that all the different applications/products you offer are most likely your strength. There’s the dilemma. How do you make things simple but make sure your presentation and offering covers the needs of your customer? This is where the Holistic Approach to Technology Sales comes in.
Holistic Approach to Technology Sales or HATS is very simple. It can be broken down into a couple of components:
- In-Depth Survey, Know your Competition, 1-3-5 Year Plan
- Holistic Presentation, with a Simple Perceived Solution
- Holistic Solution Proposal
In-Depth Survey, Know your Competition: This is, in my opinion, where most deals are actually won or lost. It is also the most underutilized areas in the sales process. It is important that the sales professional have the correct people in front of them, and with them, so they can ask the questions to uncover the solution. Knowing who your competing against is critical as well. To correctly position the product offering it’s imperative they know what others are offering. I know that typically this information changes somewhat but the better they can become at getting the information the better the chances are of winning.
We also need to know what their 1,3,5 year plan is. It’s critical to have an in-depth understanding of where the IT department is heading with the overall infrastructure.
Products like thin client, off site data storage, OCS integration, firewall policies/products, and redundancy needs can change what your offering is considerably. Having this knowledge is critical in the Holistic approach.
Holistic Presentation, with a Simple Perceived Solution: This is where the Holistic approach is crucial. It should not be a design session. Why? Because this is the time to show a simple perceived solution that answers their concerns that were uncovered in the survey. It is imperative that the solution is not shown as a plethora of modules and servers, or whatever. This is true even if there are multiple vendors’ products in the solution. This has to be presented as a streamlined solution that you customized for them. I can’t stress this enough.
It is also a time of stratagem. If you know a competitor has a feature inherent in their offering and you don’t… you need to present your offering in an equal manner up front. Not as a “me to”. This should be thought out prior to the presentation as to whether this feature is necessary to the solution or not.
Holistic Solution Proposal: The proposal needs to be presented in a fashion that portrays what was presented before. Many times the easy route is taken with a line item proposal that gets explained line by line. Excruciating! The proposal needs to also be a simple perceived solution that works in harmony with all their data needs and expectations. Explanations of how this solves their pains and repetitions easily. Cutting corners here is suicide to the deal.
Clearly this is just a snapshot of the sales process in general and was not written to be all inclusive. But with the correct knowledge early, presenting a compelling, streamlined, holistic solution, and following up with a proposal that someone could read and understand… I promise success will come. Good luck.© 2006-2018 SalesBlog! | Photos courtesy of 123RF | Posted on