What's In It For Them?

I also answered this question recently on LinkedIn and thought it made sense to add to the blog.

What is the best way to sell enterprise software?

What do you think are the pros and cons of each of these methods:

1) Promoting Features the client will find advantageous
2) Devising Operational Solutions to solve a business problem
3) Advancing Strategic Enablers to change the way the client does business

Are there appropriate situations for using one method over the others? What alternate approaches might be helpful in facilitating software sales?

My Answer:

Gregg, In selling enterprise software, the underlying technique should always be, “what’s in it for them?” By definition, a sales person needs to be nimble and adjust the strategy to the particular customer at hand. What’s their pain? What’s the reason they NEED your software? Looking for a single strategy isn’t going to work. Selling enterprise software is not like selling widgets. Each prospect must be handled in a way that you understand why they need your software, understand the problem you are solving, and then construct a strategy that makes sense for that prospect. In my experience, when you approach it as a consultative sale, you ultimately get a deeper relationship that lasts years and repeat sales. The prospect doesn’t feel “sold” and they honestly think that what you are bringing to them is something that is of value – and you aren’t trying to force on them features and products they don’t need. The reason the customer may buy is often because of ROI, as Flyn suggests – but simply looking at the dollars may not bring in the entire picture. You need to understand the pain that the customer has that you solve. This may be a simplification of processes that bring efficiency to the company but don’t drive bottom line results immediately. When you do this, you often get a customer for life. When you focus on doing the right thing for the customer and not solely on your quota, you will be amazed how much money will follow it. I have consistently crushed my quota with this method and my teams have consistently crushed quota with this method.”
 

“What’s In It For Them” should be the core of any sales strategy.  If you don’t know why the customer needs the product or IF they need the product – you are doomed – or at least leaning dangerously towards an ingenuine sale.  You need to put yourself in their shoes, determine if this is a sale you should make, and then go forward.