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25 March 2011
Building the Modern Sales Team

Building the Modern Sales Team


By Ben Turner @ 06:48 :: 2172 Views :: 2 Comments :: Article Rating :: Featured Articles
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Integralis is one of the largest IT security solutions providers, operating in one of the fastest-changing businesses in existence. So how is the fast moving and incredibly competitive market place affecting the sales cycle?

A New Kind of Sales Cycle

In a rapidly changing business world, sales teams can have a difficult time keeping up. All too often, adjusting to evolving customer needs can be a challenging task, and this is particularly true for organisations selling information technology solutions. The concept of managed services has rewritten the rulebook for customers - and for the sales teams that deal with them.
Historically, the sales function has been technically focussed; talking about product features and benefits. A salesperson would emphasise the technical merits of a product, explaining what it did, and why those particular features were useful. It used to be a black art, but this is no longer the case.
 
Today, an increasing amount of computing happens on the Internet. The only significant thing on a desktop computer is the browser used to access those services. This focus on Internet services has blurred the line between consumer and corporate computing, and has led to what has become known as the consumerisation of IT. Impressed by flashy consumer-focused websites such as Flickr, Google Apps, Facebook and Twitter, employees want online services with similar functions and styling at work.
 
Innovative IT companies are happy to provide it for them. A new generation of online software applications hosted on the Internet is emerging, focusing on providing computing as a service for customers. Organisations are able to buy not only software applications as online managed services, but also storage, computer security (such as anti-virus scanning spam management), and other services. 
 
Taking the technical detail away from the sale leaves room for a more business-centric discussion between the sales team and the customer. Sales teams no longer need to embroil customers in complicated discussions about how many users can be supported by a four four-core database license, or distract them with conversations about the optimum random access memory requirements for an overnight batched multi-dimensional business intelligence data transform. Who cares? The customer simply wants to know how much it will cost for X people to use a particular software service. So, instead of focusing on a product’s function, it becomes more important to understand what business issue it addresses.
 

Conversations for Boardrooms not Engine rooms
 
Consequently, instead of focusing on the technology, customers must now demonstrate that all the money they are spending on security services is benefitting the business. That is a conversation for the board room, rather than the engine room, because it involves a discussion of regulatory compliance and standards.


Speaking to Multiple Contacts

The altering nature of conversations between salespeople and customers means that both parties also need to change. Salespeople will be talking to different representatives within customer organisations. Previously, a sales team would target a design or operational manager, or a network manager , for a product-level discussion. As IT has become more business focused, higher-level managerial positions have emerged, meaning that today, sales teams will target a chief information officer, or a chief security officer, for a business-focused dialogue
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The sales team also needs to alter. Whereas before, sales was about pounding home product features, it is becoming important to let the customer drive the conversation, and describe the business challenges that they’re facing. Those conversations can only take place in an atmosphere of trust, and gaining that trust is the biggest challenge that the sales team will face. The customer needs to be confident that the salespeople have an understanding of their business.

Many services involve a dramatic change to customers’ operational models, which entails more consideration on their part. Although the sales pipeline itself won’t change, sales teams can expect a slower progression along that pipeline as customers navigate internal conflicts over the idea of effectively outsourcing core business processes. All this extra relationship building entails a lengthening of the sales cycle and an increase in initial labour.
 
Partnerships

Neal Lilywhite is sales and marketing director for Integralis, the UK’s largest IT security solutions provider.
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Comments
comment By groupon script @ 07 April 2011 11:15
Thanks. by Mr. Grouppon Script

comment By Duminy philips @ 23 September 2011 07:58
Sales team are the vital strength for any business to interact and market the product effectively to the customers.

Nowadays IT security has taken a major role in software sector. People love to purchase back up products, internet security products(encryption and decryption) and many other things for their start up businesses itself. So it is important to any sales team members to know the latest technologies and help the business.

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Duminy philips


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