Posts tagged as:

sales

CIOs have no TIME for you

by Lilia Shirman on January 28, 2014

in Customer relationships,Uncategorized

Many tech companies see relationships with CIOs as the Holy Grail of their sales and marketing efforts.  But should you really spend the money and effort it takes for effective CIO engagement?

Chasing Money

Pro’s :

  • CIO’s have the power to approve or veto technology purchases, so relationships with them can be critical to getting their all-important nod towards your product.
  • CIO’s plan and allocate IT budgets, so convincing them to reserve spend for your category can eliminate roadblocks late in the sales cycle
  • CIO’s make technology strategy decisions, so vendors who are leading the charge in some new technology direction need to convince this key audience that the new approach will benefit their business
  • CIO’s have a C in their title, which makes them great sources of endorsement quotes

Cons:

  • CIOs don’t actually get involved in every technology purchase.  The best CIO’s empower their teams to make as many decisions as possible.
  • CIOs don’t personally evaluate products. Their focus is on technology strategy and what direction to take that to support business objectives.
  • CIO’s only pay attention to things that are immediately relevant. Creating personalized and relevant content gets expensive.
  • CIO relationships are about the long term, not an individual sale. Nurturing those relationships will be time consuming.
  • CIO’s don’t have TIME.  That makes reaching them difficult, expensive, and time consuming.

Still want to get CIO’s to pay attention to you?  Here are a few hints:

  • Don’t sell to them
  • Don’t market to them
  • Give CIO’s insights, or at least information, that help them stay abreast of how to leverage technology to meet business goals
  • Make it relevant to their industry, company, and technology stack (That means do your research).
  • Keep it SHORT – Anything targeted at CIOs (or any other exec for that matter) should be scannable in 30 seconds or less.
  • Keep it SHORT #2 – Always include an executive summary – the 10-page white paper will at best be forwarded to a staff member.
  • Don’t do all the talking yourself.  Find and curate content from other CIOs and 3rd party subject matter experts

Bottom line: The less time your audience has, the more time you have to invest in keeping them engaged.

Have other pros and cons of engaging CIO’s or tips for  getting their attention? Do share.

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 0 comments }

I sell to some really big companies.   One rule I established when I founded my business is that sales is about listening and collaborating, not presenting.  The reason was that I had watched cost of sales at many companies skyrocket due to huge investments preparing elaborate sales presentations that often fell flat and pursuing deals that should have been disqualified or re-framed early on.

Even with the best qualification questions and inside sales efforts, a sales rep walking into an initial customer meeting is going to have, at best, a superficial understanding of the customers’ need.  If they start by bulldozing through pre-prepared slides, they are likely to a) waste time on topics irrelevant to the customer b) miss the opportunity to gain a better understanding and c) fail to establish a collaborative relationship with the customer.

If you’re a marketer creating content and tools for a direct sales force, ask yourself if the information and asset you’re giving them help sales people to:

  1. Ask questions that both demonstrate their expertise and help them gain greater insight into customer needs
  2. Facilitate in-depth discussions that are positive and valuable experiences for customers
  3. Articulate how what they’re selling is directly relevant specific customer situations they discover during the meeting
Be Sociable, Share!

{ 1 comment }

“We’re not in control. The Customer is.”
– Lorraine Twohill, VP Global Marketing, Google

We’ve talked here in our blog and in my book about the concept of collaborating with customers as the means to engage the more empowered buyer.  The mindset that customers have greater control than ever was clearly evident among the CMOs on a recent Churchill Club panel.

When asked whether his organization was “marketing-led,” “engineering-led,” or “sales-led,” Jonathan Becher, CMO at SAP, answered, “There’s only one kind of “led” – customer led.”  He described that at the last SAP conference, the decision about which topics to include was “crowd sourced from the customer.”

Nora Denzel,  Senior VP, Big Data, Social Design and Marketing at Intuit provided more examples of how Intuit is sharing the reigns with its customers: Intuit’s CEO meets with customers each quarter before speaking to his staff at the ops reviews.   Intuit has “outsourced product management and marketing to the customer.”  That’s because Intuit’s new product features get exposed to customer in a web sand-box, and their viability is determined based on actual customer usage.  Anne Globe of DreamWorks agreed that today there’s an opportunity for the customer to “take you in a different direction than what you planned” when you designed your marketing campaign.

Bottom Line:  2.0 didn’t just change the technologies we use to communicate, collaborate, and sell.  It has completely transformed customer mindsets.  Buyers in both B2B and B2C markets expect greater corporate transparency and increased influence over what is sold to them, where and how.  They also exercise greater collective and individual power in the marketplace.  Companies that can redefine their customer relationships from one of buyer-seller to that of a team collaborating to discover, learn, design solutions, and maximize their usefulness will command greater loyalty.

 

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 0 comments }