As technology impacts every process, operation and function of every industry known to humans, the set of potential buyers of technology products has increased to “any human employed in any industry”. And within any given organization, the range of potential people who will ultimately make the buying decision for a specific technology product can be broad. For example, Marketing, Product, Operations, IT, BD or Finance/Treasury can all lead or play a part in making the purchase decision for a payments/commerce product. Often, many people across multiple functions collectively make the buying decision for any new product.
With many new buyers involved in the technology sales process and with vendors, or “technology partners”, increasingly less silo’d than they’ve been in the past (the “media” agency now works with far more than just the Marketing team), titles on the sell side of the technology ecosystem have evolved. The sales person needs to reach a broader audience than ever before. As a result, far fewer people describe themselves as solely representing the “Sales” function on the sell side. In tech media sales, there are “Account Executives” and “Account Directors”, in B2B tech, there are “Revenue”, “Partnerships, “BD”, in many industries there are “Head” or “Lead” of Product X and at early & growth stage technology companies, there is a “CEO” and “Founders”.
I’ve often experienced myself and spoken with many other technology sales professionals who validate that a title broader than “Sales” can help to engage a wider audience at a buying organization, particularly for complex products that require a cross-functional sales, engagement and purchasing process. Once in the room, people are delighted to be sold to in a persuasive, coherent, straightforward and data-driven manner. Yet prior to the meeting, some people are skeptical of hearing “another vendor pitch” or having “another sales meeting.” The key is to get the right folks in the room, engaged and curious rather than skeptical.
At this point, the specific title of a technology sales person is far (almost entirely?) less relevant than the capabilities of the sales person and the structure & content of the sales process. I follow the broad outline below when introducing a person or organization to a new technology product:
- Here is the problem that only I can solve / here’s the opportunity only I can help you seize
- Here is a product or set of products that will drive a specific outcome for you and your organization
- Here is how you will quantify that your problem is solved or opportunity seized and the impact on existing operating metrics
- I am the person that you will buy this product from, and this is the process by which you can purchase and implement it
- Let’s work together; here are the partnership terms
For more detail on the sales process for new technology products, here’s a post I wrote earlier this year: “Technology Products and Promise-Driven Sales.” That’s all for now; it’s time to get back to selling!