The world of tech very much has a wild-west feel. Everything moves fast and pioneers are continually discovering new ways of doing things. That innovative spirit in many ways has translated to the sales teams of these organizations. Sales is one of the oldest professions, but tech sales is offering a fresh take on old mindsets.
Through working with countless sales professionals and companies, we’ve seen some key themes that make the modern sales professional truly effective at their job. Here are a few to help you be more effective:
1. You sell a product, that’s really a service, so think like you’re selling a service.
While technology is a product, you are really selling someone a tool that will (hopefully) make their lives better and win some of their time back. When a person buys from you, what they are really buying is convenience because your widget now “automates” what they used to do. When you think about it, if your product is implemented and adopted correctly, you’ve sold a service. That’s how the term SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) came about.
With that in mind, sell the value your product provides, not the individual shiny features.
2. You actually like technology and know your product.
We are all familiar with the “sales guy” that actually has no clue what the product does, but does just enough back-slapping to get the meeting. This model does not work well in the ever-changing technology landscape. Prospective customers want more than a widget. They are looking for someone to really understand and help them with their problems. This requires a consultative selling method that is only accomplished by really knowing the product backwards and forwards. Knowing the broader industry trends and terms will also help you identify the challenges your customer is facing.
3. Make a friend on the Dev Team.
One of the blessings and curses of selling technology is how it is constantly evolving. With bug fixes and new features rolling out all the time, you have to continually revise your pitch and knowledge-set of your product. One benefit of this is that product improvements sometimes enable you to revive old prospects by informing them that a feature they previously labeled as a must-have is now available.
There is often a chasm between the dev team and the sales team, typically with a layer of mistrust and frustration added. To really become the best salesperson you can be, that chasm must shrink. Take a developer to lunch to better understand their world and get insights into the product changes on the horizon.
4. You have to be smart enough to make things dumb.
Most tech products aren’t for tech geeks. Usually the product is being sold into an archaic industry filled with dinosaurs. That’s the reason you have the business opportunity to begin with. Know your audience. If they are still using anything before IE8, it will be important to relate your product to their existing world.
The best salespeople simplify, simplify, simplify. They make something extremely complicated simple to understand. Zenefits is a great example of this. The majority of us do not understand the intricacies of group health insurance, yet they’ve managed to make it easy. Try your pitch on someone completely unrelated to your industry. If they can understand it, you are in good shape.
5. Make sure your prospect remembers you are a human.
With so much of our sales-process moving online, we lose a very human element to our communication. It’s easy to ignore an email or another automated voicemail. While the very best sales professionals automate their processes, they leave room and take the extra time to personalize. By taking an extra 30 seconds to know something about the company, find a common connection, or provide a more personal introduction, you may post “activity” for the day, but will have higher conversions.
Depending on your market-size and product, there is still nothing that beats giving a prospect a tangible gift or card. The law of reciprocity alone almost mandates a response. Let’s automate, but not lose our humanity.
Want to learn more about tech sales?
If reading this has peaked your interest in a tech sales career or if you work in tech sales, but are looking to learn more, check out www.willreedjobs.com.