Selling technology to IT buyers is executed in one lexicon, one language. Selling to financial and business buyers (and influencers) requires sales teams to embrace a second language. In a recent conversation with the CFO of a high growth software company, he described one of the management team’s objectives as “reducing sales friction”, a good topic for discussion today.
First, a definition: “Reducing sales friction means reducing the cost for customers to purchase, adopt and use a service/product — reducing the cost of sales and marketing effort required get a customer and generate revenue. The less friction you have in your sales and delivery model, the easier it is to scale. The easier it is to scale the faster and more efficiently you can grow. The lowest friction sale can be a user clicking on a web page and the content owner getting paid for it. The highest friction sale is spending lots of money on marketing and trade shows and having a large, direct sales force of expensive reps pounding the pavement for months trying to close a large deal with an enterprise customer. Follow that with a three-month implementation process to get the customer happy.” Ed Sim’s BeyondVC
Success with financial and business decision makers demands an understanding of business, corporate and financial performance objectives. Sales must put technical solutions into terms that map to a customer’s business objectives.
The ability to quantify the economic impact of the proposed solution and deliver that message succinctly is a hallmark of a world-class sales organization.
Vendors are struggling with a more complex sale across multiple pricing, licensing and delivery models. Customers want more flexibility. Vendors need to simplify the sale and ensure that their proposals optimize bookings, annual contract values, and economics. Reducing sales friction means making your technology easily defensible and consumable, accelerating & improving the negotiation process and making the booking process as seamless as possible.
How does a vendor sales force teach this new language, this new skill set? The most common solution is to provide some sales training and hope for the best. Putting this into context – after one lesson in Spanish (for example), how many sales teams could sell effectively in Spanish? Or French? Or any other language? What’s needed is steady consistent support and reinforcement, enough to help change the language of sales. So the next time sales training or ROI tools are considered – remember that changing the language of technology sales is a long-term objective requires more than a few isolated tools and trainings.
Make sure your investments in sales execution are in alignment with the desired results. Keep an eye on reducing sales friction in 2017.