For the better part of my 27-year career, I’ve been a sales leader working for different service providers in technology. I have had the opportunity to work for some really incredible companies and been a part of organizations that were considered best in class. In spite of that, however, the products and services I represented often didn’t solve the problems my prospects were trying to solve – we couldn’t meet the budget requirements, the implementation timelines, the billing needs, etc…or, in many cases, we just weren’t the right fit.
I was always trying to understand the business impact of the problems the client was looking to solve to see if we could fill a need…and, if we couldn’t, we wanted to lose fast. Don’t waste time. Ask questions. Qualify. Disqualify. When I sit back and think about it, I’m actually reminded of the game of baseball in that I would lose more than I would win. Derek Jeter said baseball is “a game of failure. If you fail seven out of 10 times people think you’re great.” Sales is the same way…or at least it was.
You see there’s a movement in technology right now and the procurement model is changing. Rather than selling “a” service there is a new breed of solution providers called Trusted Advisors. A Trusted Advisor is an overall solutions provider that doesn’t represent a particular product but represents an entire industry of services. They act as an extension of your team, they focus on delivering business outcomes, and they help you navigate the confusion in the market caused by the accelerating pace of change in IT. They work side by side with your team to design, procure, implement, and support even the most complex IT solutions. Quite simply, a Trusted Advisor is the best friend a CIO will ever have.
There’s a confluence of many factors that are allowing this to happen:
Technology Providers are moving away from dedicated sales and support; leveraging sales agents/partners to reduce costs.
Enterprise Clients out-tasking services to allow focus on what they do best…leaving commodity functions to other, more experienced partners; leaning on those partners for advisement, strategy, and support.
Services Evolution with new services (Cloud, Zero-Trust, IoT, SD-WAN), clients looking at multiple (new) suppliers, with an emphasis on “solutions” and/or as-a-service. Pace of change happening so fast that businesses are needing to rely on partners.
These factors are also forcing an evolution in the “partner” space which, in turn, provides the competition benefits to today’s businesses.
Enterprise clients need to recognize the shift and realize the value these Trusted Advisors can bring. They free up the Enterprise to focus on their business and innovation while the Trusted Advisor focuses on the return of high dollar spend. These Trusted Advisors engage in technology audits, solution research, provider selection, and ongoing account management and support.
For me, there’s no longer a question whether “my” product or service fills the gap. There’s no longer a need to “lose fast” so I can quickly move on to find the 1 of 3 (or more) prospects that were a good fit. Now, I get to listen. I get to really listen and learn and I have the opportunity to bat a “thousand”. I get to sit on the same side of the desk as my client to work side by side and help deliver technology solutions to solve business problems and that’s an incredible feeling.
Cloud Communications Group is a technology expense management and IT advisory firm and acts as Trusted Advisors to our clients. We are revolutionizing the discipline of IT procurement by saving our clients time and money and leveraging some of the world’s most sophisticated as-a-Service platforms for IT decision making in driving key business outcomes.