One can argue that enterprise software sales prospects almost always decide to buy a solution as the result of a need to change something. Further, it can be argued that the final selection that this type of prospect will choose will constitute the most likely selection to facilitate the change(s) that must be made. In other words, the prospect will choose the option that inspires the most confidence among the stakeholders in the decision.
We subscribe to this argument. In fact, we think it makes sense to architect entire sales strategies for complex enterprise software solutions around change. As we see it, the best prospects for enterprise software are companies with related publicized problems that, in all likelihood, ought to be changed as quickly as possible. It makes little sense to waste precious sales development time on discovery conversations with companies that fail to display any of the earmarks of probable change, especially when, based upon a very clear picture of one’s prospect profile, many companies can be identified as better opportunities for sales prospecting.
For publicly traded companies, published problems can often be found in quarterly reports (webcasts are an even richer resource for this type of information. Lots of useful sales planning material can be gleaned from specifically noting the business areas chosen for further detail as well as the inflection of a speaker’s voice), or other SEC filings. Trade articles are also a rich resource for this type of information. Finally, public announcements of changes in senior management personnel are quite often a very good indicator of changes in procedures that will likely be forthcoming.
We should note that we do not find sales success stories or case studies to be very helpful as they are often about changes that have already been made by prospects. However, where the subject of a sales success story or case study is a complementary product to one’s own solution, or an indicator that a prospect is considering further changes that likely will produce directly relevant requirements, then, of course it makes sense to pursue contacts mentioned in the sales success story or case study.
Once prospects who are likely to change relevant computer procedures have been identified, it makes further sense to find out who “owns” the problematic procedures. An offer to engage should be extended first to the problem owner who has the most to gain should your solution lead to a remedy. The more confidence, at first pass, that this contact has that your solution might help, the greater the likelihood that he/she will provide the most useful and realistic set of contacts who should be included in your discussions as early into the opportunity as possible.
We deal with opportunities like the above on a daily basis. If you are looking for a method of better addressing market opportunities, please contact us. You may telephone Ira Michael “Mike” Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved