Having Cutting Edge Technology Will Ruin Your Business
Cutting Edge Technology Will Ruin Your Business
I had the pleasure of working with a company who developed cutting edge technology that will radically change their industry. I counseled them on their sales strategy to increase their close rate and reduce the sales cycle duration.
When we mapped their sales pitch, we found that the majority of decision makers and champions in the sales process, while self identified as technical, were really more part of the business process or the information sides of the business. And this is often the case for end user clients, who become qualified to supervise the tools because of their knowledge of the business process or the data involved.
Then they have to rely very heavily on their IT staff to provide the missing pieces around tool expertise. However, generally, the IT staff in these companies only possess a tertiary knowledge of the business process or the information needs. Their qualifications are based around vetting or keeping the infrastructure operable (servers, workstations, etc) .
At The Empire Builders Group, we call this a broken triangle (see diagram on the right), where the connections between the business, data and tools corners is weak or missing. These are exactly the kind of environments that need the technology but struggle to implement it because no one feels they can vet the business process, data and tools needs as adequately as they would like. In fact, it rarely gets approved because the client’s team cannot gather the confidence necessary in the business requirements, the information requirements and the technology capabilities to substantiate the pain of change is tolerable for the future reward. In fact, the generally conclude the status quo is the best strategy.
Therefore, the sales process drags on and on and on. The client continues to collect information to gain a confidence level they won’t arrive at and the vendor continues to laud how their cutting edge technology will change the face of the industry. This is horrifyingly frightening to the client and intensifies the desire to remain where they are. They don’t want to buy anything cutting edge, they want to be pretty damn mediocre. In the happy medium, their confidence increases because they bank on the many many others who have taken the plunge before them.
It is a difficult concept to accept, to leave behind the pride of being “cutting edge”. A founder run executive team will always be the proudest of the disruption they have caused in the industry. The challenge is that the mainstream buyer wants to avoid disruption. It is finding the balance between that ensures the deal gets done.
The technology company understood it was time to release the concept of “cutting edge”. We started from scratch. Simply put, their solution helped the work of one man become the work of 100 men. I suggested they give the client an analogy that all along, they have been digging a hole with a spoon and this solution was like a bulldozer. Nothing cutting edge about that, just simple, straightforward efficiency that anyone, no matter their background or participation in the process could understand and quantify. That’s the quickest way to close a sale.
Weeks later, I received this in the mail with a note that I would need it since I’m retiring my spoon in favor of a bulldozer.
What a class act – not only do they GET it, they are going to disrupt this industry by owning the market.