In this age of cloud based solutions and services, it has never been more important to be able to identify: who the target customer is, what business they are in, what are their business challenges, how can you help solve them and … exactly how does the decision making process work. Somehow, not surprisingly I guess – these critical data points have become “foggy or better yet cloudy.”
In prospecting some Enterprise opportunities – nothing is more “cloudy” than – who are the decision makers, how does the process work and who has the budget?
Without this information – opportunity identification is incredibly challenging, solution creation (selling) is nearly impossible and forecasting accuracy is career threatening.
Searching for Answers, finding Validation –
My research confirms the changing landscape in this strategic dilemma for the 21st century – trusted advisor (solution seller, consultative resource, challenger seller…). Nothing like good data to back up a hypothesis – which has quickly moved from a perception to today’s reality.
What we’ve learned is – supposedly “CIO’s want to be allies, not adversaries with business users” and in some corporations – there’s a new sheriff in town known as the Chief Marketing Officer or Digital Marketing Officer or … Chief Marketing Technologist – reporting to the CEO or sometimes the CIO, but packing a big budget and plenty of clout.
According to Gartner, “by 2017, the CMO will spend more on I.T. than the CIO”.
Apparently, personality profiles have been done on CIO’s and CMO’s and reported in the information & communication technology industry – including an article posted on Network World.
CIO magazine wrote extensively on these clashes, titles and realities – notable are two outstanding articles by Tom Kaneshige – see selections of his work at CIO.
But wait there’s more – there are lines of business (LOB) managers who have a P/L, can make solution, purchasing decisions and get forgiveness (if required) from I.T., Purchasing and the CIO after the fact.
Kaneshige cites an IDC prediction that “by 2017, 40% of all I.T. spending will be controlled by LOB executives”.
So where does that leave us?
Successfully “Connecting thru the Cloud” –
With so much at stake, the only viable option to turning suspects into prospects and ultimately converting them to clients – is to take an approach of a “client advisory, management consultant” – by becoming part investigator/listener/researcher, trusted advisor with a subject matter expertise and business problem solver utilizing a technology solution.
Some old skill sets will no longer be useable, sales organizations will need to re-tool and in some cases re-engineer. As will marketing, operations and customer service/support.
With decision makers up and down the targeted customer’s organization and a process that turns on a “digital dime” – nothing will take more work than understanding this new selling paradigm.
Previously, I’ve introduced – a method for UCC sellers to “connect thru the cloud”. Given what we now know – perhaps it’ll be applicable beyond UCC?