Bob Dylan said “The times, they are a-changing” and he’s right. When it comes to companies, IT professionals do not have the same needs and wants as they used to, and purchasing patterns have deviated from those of years past. If salespeople want to have successful encounters with the new generation of IT professionals, or the old generation with new needs, then salespeople need to better understand what those new needs are.
- Speed of integration is a big determiner in what people purchase. When a company purchases new technology, it is usually intended to be a solution for a problem, or to prevent a problem. The IT person wants something that will implemented as quickly and as smoothly as possible. If transitions are not smooth for the staff of a business, the IT people for that company get blamed. IT people want the transition to be smooth with the understanding that if it is not smooth, they are the ones who get blamed. Rarely are IT people intended to be the end user for what they purchase, but they get blamed if that end product does not work as promised and if it does not work right away.
- More than just potential, IT professionals want to know about functionality. In the past, the staff could be forced to use every new purchase for their company. Now, if things are not convenient and user-friendly, the staff will not use it. IT professionals want to know about the practical functionality of what they consider purchasing. IT people need to know how many companies adopt the new technology, then they need to know how many people actually utilize the new technology. Bells and whistles that produce great reports look good on paper, but if the boots on the ground don’t use those same bells and whistles, then they are worthless. You have to convince and show that options are going to be used.
- Find out exactly what the customer is looking for. Are they interested in making a change because their peers are tracking inventory better than they are? Are their suppliers or clients all using software that your customer doesn’t have yet, so they are falling behind? The faster a salesperson can find the real answers to these questions, the better these concerns can be allayed. If the IT person says that they need lead generating software, but the salespeople are reluctant to use technology, that tells you that in addition to selling to the IT department, you have to sell to the sales department. Understanding the real hang ups and hold ups can make all the difference in the world.
- Leave the hardware out of the sales pitch. In the past, it was only big companies that operated without traditional hardware. Now almost any company can have great performance without hardware. Without hardware, businesses are able to use technology that is more flexible and is able to fit exactly what their needs are. Without using as much hardware, the IT department can make smaller purchases, and if things work favorably then they can buy more. This can of course be beneficial for everyone, including slow-to-adapt departments that didn’t want to make a change to begin with. Certainly it can be beneficial to the IT department who may have fewer hands to hold during the initial roll out period.
Times are indeed changing, but there are excellent reasons for most of those changes. Technology truly is changing rapidly, and the role of the IT department is changing, too. There is usually less maintenance of hardware and more maintenance of the cloud and the computers themselves. Salespeople who can recognize these differences are more likely to be successful in moving their goods when dealing with a new generation of IT professionals.