Sales Skills needed in the Cloud

With the rapid evolution of Information Technology products/services moving to the cloud, companies embracing this movement are realizing that there’s not only a shift in what these new virtualised services offer, but how it is communicated to their current and new clients.

The selling process has become a lot deeper and conceptualised. Information Technology solutions are no longer seen as a ‘bolt-on’ asset to a business, they are now often the engine to the entire business. Driving the company forward and being a main contributor to increase in profits and decrease in costs.

Therefore, those that are at the front-line of this ‘movement’ (the sales professionals, service and support staff) need to develop their skill level to align with this shift in industry dealings and communication.

The sales professionals who are offering these services to the cloud are now having to engage in broader ‘business’ conversations with C-level professionals, whereas before they would usually deal with head of IT’s and the sale would most often be transactional.

So here are some quick points that you can share with your sales force that will help them with this situation:

  • Provide them with regular industry trends and research

Why? C-level professionals need to know just as much about what’s going on outside of their business, as much as what’s happening on the inside. Those that can start, hold and/or contribute to a conversation about an industry topic will gain creditability and build higher levels of rapport and trust.

  • Have them ask more Questions

Knowledge is often mistaken with how much you can talk about something. You will always come across as being more knowledgeable the less you talk and the more questions you ask. Have your team start with open ending questions eg. “what is your opinion on…….” And follow it with curious leading questions, such as “Meaning?” or “How would that effect…..”

This will give them a greater level of depth and information to make sure that when presenting the benefits of their new service/product, they are directly related to the answers they attained from the questions they asked.

  • When speaking about new products/services, talk about the ROI these products/services will bring, not the capability specs of the product/service itself

The IT industry is notorious for ‘tech’ talk, although it is very helpful to know industry slang. Executives really only want to hear a few things, how you or the service/product you are offering can either increase profit, efficiency, productivity or decrease cost, wasted time and resources, not how many gigabits can be uploaded per second.  Have your sales team present a statement, backed up with an example or statistic. Eg. “Having your CRM in the cloud can increase the productivity of your sales team of up to 50%. For example, by setting up a CRM in the cloud for Client A their sales team were able to access and update their activity at any time of the day or night from anywhere in the world, giving them more time to concentrate on meeting and dealing with clients.”

Those companies who take the time to invest in their people and remember to consider the skills they may need if the company is taking a new direction or embracing a new opportunity will ride the wave a lot better than those who don’t or just rely on the new products/service ability.

This article is written by Luke McLeod.

Luke is the Learning Solutions Specialist at Total Inter Action.


Posted on January 17, 2011, in Sales Advice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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