Ed Sim, VC, is really “hitting some nails on the head” this month in his blog. I saw another great post from him on selling IT to the financial services sector. Ed isolated four strategies for selling IT to major financial institutions:
- Enter through the CIO (if you are lucky enough to have a CIO as a board member or friend)
- Come in through a larger partner (Ed notes this often takes more work than actually selling to the end client!)
- Enter from the bottom up (offering free downloads and evaluation copies of software etc. to the “worker bees”, this takes time to build a “ground swell” of support)
- Go to revenue generating groups with money and buying power (avoid the IT department and go in through business players)
I have had the greatest success with strategy #4. In the financial services industry IT can be used for business advantage and so business executives are increasingly considering how technology can give them an edge. Savvy CIO’s are also increasingly aware of the business impact and opportunity presented by any technology they consider purchasing.
As a result of these changes in customer buying patterns, technology companies are increasingly (if they have not already) adjusting their messaging and sales training to sell business solutions not technology products.
Which IT sales strategies have worked best for you in the past? What shifts in buying patterns do you see today?