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Managed IT Services Corner

Selling “IT”

1 Feb, 2013 By: Eric M. Stavola, Witt's Office - dealership imageSource

The need for technology in our workplace, and for our customers, continues to overrun today’s market; the clamor and desire for applications, software, and networked connectivity services has become the new norm in today’s sale.

This demand allows for sales staff to implement different talk tracks and allows for added revenue opportunities in sales of services, software, and hardware sales. However in order to reach that pinnacle, no matter how you shape it there is no getting around selling to “IT”.

As our industry has evolved from selling a commodity to selling services, so has the need to prospect, sell and converse with IT. In order to do this effectively, we must better understand three concepts of IT personnel.

Concept 1: Personality Traits

Throughout my career of working in the field of IT; working with IT personnel on all levels, I realize that in general, there are basically three types of personality traits that you can categorize as an “IT persona” that fall into:

  1. God-like Complex – He/she thinks the company can’t run without them. They make statements such as “My Network” or “I am King of my Domain” while sipping coffee from a Darth Vader cup.
  2. Laid Back Attitude – No worries, be happy. This IT personality is two-fold. They can lure you in with smiles and low key dress, but sometimes can be the most influential in a sale. However, they may not tell you about their (the companies as well) real needs or pains until it’s too late.
  3. The Overwhelmed – Usually late on projects or laughed at for chasing butterflies, this individual is hard to talk to because of the demands for their time, typically due to limited support and resources.

Key to remember with all of these type persona’s is that regardless of the personality type you’re working with, treat them equally when establishing credibility and expectations early on, offering your support often in effort to gain their confidence and commitment.

Concept 2: Identified Talking Points by Position

It is also helpful to understand the actual title position, tasks, and expectations each tech individual holds in the company in effort to talk specifically to their needs:

CIO/Director This position cares more about strategic initiatives. When talking with this individual try to convey how your product or service can increase productivity, trim costs, or unify their systems.

  • Key Talking Points: Cost, Unity, Productivity

System Admin/Network Admin – This position needs central point of control. When in discussions with this person keep your talk track on centralization, security, and overall network management.

  • Key Talking Points: Security, Mobility, and Reliability

Helpdesk / Support Specialist The position is responsible for first level problem determination and problem escalation. They are looking for better feedback and ease of use in products.

  • Key Talking Points: Feedback, Remote Support Tools, Product Ease

Concept 3: Purpose

In short and simple terms, your IT’s purpose is to make sure that all systems and servers are working without issue on a daily basis. While I am understating here, the concept is correct in that IT’s purpose is to be transparent. Nobody is going to thank IT because all systems are working properly…but when you or a client has a server down or system failure, or can’t even send emails, just listen to the echo of complaints come in.

Clearly, it’s important for sales staff to understand this concept, and the IT staff personalities and behaviors because by default, IT naturally will not be open for change or something new due to a variety of issues or less transparency in their work.

Some key points to help ease the pain of change:

  1. IT wants to talk to someone on his or her level to have the confidence that if anything goes wrong that you have the full personnel to fix it. The days of waiting for a manufacturer’s support are over. Dealerships need to bring their solutions support internal. This is critical for the growth of your dealership.
  2. When talking to IT people be aware of the following words: Broadcast, Scan, or Flood. All three words in “Geek Speak” mean traffic on the network that may slow down or possibly create potential issues.
  3. When talking to IT people stress the ability to configure your devices, not monitor your devices. If IT knows how to configure your device, they know how to fix your device. If they know how to fix your device, they are comfortable with the product.
  4. As a rule of thumb, use the word utility instead of software when describing some of your company’s offerings. Software needs to be loaded, trained on, and may cause network issues in an IT person’s mind. Software means main work while the word utility means help. Just a simple, but effective play on words.

The need for technology in our workplace, and for our customers, continues to overrun today’s market; the clamor and desire for applications, software, and networked connectivity services has become the new norm in today’s sale.


About the Author: Eric M. Stavola

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