How to Successfully Sell to IT Professionals
Let’s face it: We live in a high-tech world, and the advancements show no signs of slowing any time soon. With technology changing so quickly, IT professionals need to stay up to date on the very latest developments to stay qualified in their field.
However, getting in front of IT decision makers can be harder than it sounds. After all, when it comes to business-to-business (B2B) sales, the fact of the matter is that your customers don’t rely on you as heavily as they used to. That’s largely because customers, including IT professionals, can identify solutions for themselves. To a certain extent, this has eliminated the traditional role of the salesperson.
Don’t panic; this post is not mean to scare you. There is no shortage of opportunity for IT salespeople today, but you do have to know how to best reach your customer. Not having a clear path of attack will only lead to wasted time and likely failed sales attempts. With that being said, here’s a closer look at some tips and tactics to better sell to IT professionals:
Selling Strategies for IT Professionals
As we noted earlier, B2B selling is a lot different than it used to be, so strategies have to change to keep up with the changing times. Here’s a look at some tactics you should begin implementing today to increase your sales to IT professionals:
- Find qualified buyers: One of the biggest things to keep in mind when trying to sell to IT professionals is that you need to identify buyers or prospects that are ready to buy now. Keep in mind the fact that even those who you identify as prospects may be unqualified buyers. And if you’re not selling to buyers, you’re wasting time and energy. That’s not to say that it’s not important to also identify prospects to eventually circle back to, but you want to be selling to people from whom you can get results. Try not to identify prospects so much as you identify buyers, as these are the professionals that you can sell to.
- Don’t waste time with “middlemen”: Also often referred to as “gatekeepers,” these middlemen are the big hurdle between you and the decision maker, or, in this case, the qualified buyer. However, in many cases these middlemen will attempt to position themselves as the decision maker, when really all they’re doing is vetting you and relaying your message on to the individual or individuals in charge. These people are a waste of time, and you should only be focusing your sales efforts on the qualified buyers themselves. How do you know who the qualified buyer is exactly? For starters, they usually have high-level executive titles (i.e. vice president, president, director, etc.). Secondly, they have a known budget and have a history of buying activity.
- Insight selling: Most salespeople still practice solution selling, which involves focusing on a customer’s shortcomings and addresses them with specific solutions. But as most customers these days can determine solutions for themselves, this solution selling practice is largely ineffective in many environments. So instead of solution selling, we suggest you practice insight selling. This involves identifying unrecognized needs, engaging the customer before they even know of a potential problem and coaching the customer throughout the buying process. Instead of merely recommending solutions, the salesperson and customer work together to come up with the right answers under this sales technique. This type of technique also helps build trust between salesperson and customer.
- Be personable: Business is all about relationships. It’s about getting to know your potential buyers and your current clientele to the point where they are calling on you when they need something, rather than you calling on them to see how business is going. The best salespeople, whether they’re selling to IT professionals or another industry, have a way of putting their clients at ease and instilling trust. These relationships aren’t built overnight; they take time. It’s generally these personable salespeople who are much more successful and productive than the ones who get straight down to business.
It’s a different sales world these days, which complicates the IT field with how fast technology changes. No longer is it good enough for a salesperson to get by on knowing their products and offerings, then providing their solutions. The buyer likely already knows what they want, and it is up to the salesperson to deliver the insight and value that is needed in such situations.