Selling technology to technologists in a slow economy

Posted: April 22, 2010 in CIOs, marketing, sales, surveys, value propositions, vendors
Tags: , ,

“Well, actually, no, the product won’t do squat to remove wine stains. Why do you ask?”

The Back-Up Plan

Peter Iovino/CBS Films

The biggest disconnect in marketing today is the definition gap between vendors and buyers when it comes to the term “value proposition”.   All vendors think they have one.  Problem is, buyers rare hear it in terms they can relate to, or in terms relevant to them.  CIOs responsible for buying and maintaining the big-ticket tech0logy gear that keeps their companies in business tend to look at a the concept of value propositions as a way to calculate the ROI of what they buy.  Vendors, on the other hand, (read: the marketing dudes with the messages and talking points) think it’s all about those messages and talking points.  They convince themselves that this is where the value lives — in the product “feature-set” and “functionality”.  Our survey last year of 277 CIOs, representing mid-size companies and global enterprises, found that 60% of them wanted to know only how a vendor’s product could accomplish specific business or I.T. goals for their company.  Lesson: In marketing and selling, make it about them, not you.  Make the case that there is a ideal match between your product and the screaming need of your customer.   Of course, this implies that you have intimate knowledge of that “screaming need”.  And you’ll never come by that knowledge memorizing your product’s spec sheets, no matter how many features and functions they describe.

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