The promise of going digital is to drive the innovation of new and differentiated offerings to create and enhance revenue streams, while also improving workflows that reduce operating costs at scale. Enterprise software is clearly here to stay as it advances the development of new business models to drive growth. And that means bigger deals and longer sales cycles. It also means that digital solutions will need to be fully and seamlessly integrated to operate as, or within, a platform. This in turn, can take some sellers outside of their current solution reality, putting them squarely in a new game.
Selling Platform Solutions
Large companies with well-developed workflow platforms compete for customer adoption that becomes an integral part of the customer’s operations producing ultra-sticky software licenses with amazingly high renewal rates.
Sales Strengths – Product Superiority, High Customer Retention, High Credibility, Large Customer Base.
Sales Strategy – Direct, focusing on the highest level of business value, in terms of innovating business models, while improving workflows to be more effective at a lower cost.
Sales Vulnerability – Utilizing classical B2B selling (servicing demand) where the platform offerings tend to more sell themselves, can put sellers into a PUSH mindset. With strong references to back them up, sellers can tend to more dictate than listen, more focus on covering lots of opportunities than going deep into the highest value customer organizations. This adds to longer sales cycles and less perceived need to really understand the customer’s business, as sellers lean on company provided sales support marketing, use cases, and references. It can also create customer partnerships in license only.
Selling Niche Solutions
Companies with great niche offerings seek to map into the customer’s existing IT structure with best-in-class solutions. They may do this themselves or in conjunction with other technology firms that handle the implementation and integration.
Sales Strengths – Niche Superiority, High Understanding of the Customer’s Business, High Established Trust Relationships with Emphasis on Creating Customer PULL.
Sales Strategy – Divisional, complementing and integrating with the existing IT structure or installed platform to provide significant and focused business value. If the offering reflects new innovation, the sales focus in on creating demand vs. servicing demand. That is, discovering the potential to actually create the opportunity by advising the customer of a new opportunity to advance their business in a particular way. This is based upon good thought leadership and insight into the customer’s business.
Sales Vulnerability – Two points: