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How to engage with IT decision-makers

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17th Feb 2015
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You know that feeling of confidence you get when you’re walking into a company you’ve been doing business with for years, and you’re in their lobby awaiting your contacts because you really know these guys – you know exactly what they need, their technology landscape, and who is responsible for which technologies. More importantly, you know that the solution you’re there to pitch is a perfect fit for their environment.

How amazing would it be to head into every single IT sales meeting with that feeling, powered by that degree of knowledge? Wouldn’t it be amazing to start your IT sales cycle from this standpoint? 

We’re all aware the IT sales cycle takes significant time. No company is willing to talk to you until you have invested the time to thoroughly understand their organisation and their goals. More specifically, they will expect you to know what open projects they have and where your solution would fit in with those projects. It takes time to develop this degree of insight – but what if it didn’t? 

If you are interested in how your business can fast-forward to where you’re engaging with IT decision-makers, you will want to read on for the key tactics.

Partner with good data

By employing an accurate data intelligence solution with an inclusive set of sales tools, all companies can enjoy the benefits of a long-standing relationship. Good data allows sales teams to engage with their prospects with total confidence. They can reach out directly to the organisation’s key decision-makers who have the power to champion your solution.

Traditional and public data sources can give you hints glimpses of the information you need, but a complete data intelligence solution gives you full visibility into your target organisation.

Be the first to know

A particularly effective sales tactic is engaging with an organisation when you have a buying signal – when they have a key leadership change, a new product, or an initiative underway. You should use a data intelligence solution that automatically alerts you of internal changes or new initiatives so that you can get a foot in the door faster.

Keep it simple

Sales teams perform at the highest level when they can spend the lion’s share of their time actually selling. Working without the burden of keeping data and worrying about platform integration leaves your sales team with more time to focus on what they do best.

A complete data intelligence solution ensures sales teams will have actionable, reliable data, that’s constantly refreshed and accessible where they use it. With this pertinent information at hand like this, even the newest player can fast-track to success.

But it's not just about the data and intelligence on the target itself, it is equally important to consider cultural aspects as well. Since businesses are continuously growing and considering the vast opportunities that expansion into the European market offers, you should also be considering extra “special ingredients” needed to form a strong foundation with a company that has a different way of thinking.

Managing cultural risk is usually at the top of concerns for many– and it’s so important for a business going into a new region to have a smooth transition by being aware of the culture and norms.

By allowing for the following essential points, you can ensure  you develop a strong relationship with your prospect company and avoid any faux-pas.

Humility

Sometimes arrogance can provide you with a boost of confidence in a competitive business setting; but it does not always translate well. Arrogance can keep you from gaining an understanding of crucial cultural issues that are important for success in your target market. If you are not prepared, vital cultural details can escape you. You should learn about your target market and learn from your prospects as you grow your relationship with them. 

Flexibility

You can’t be a successful sales person without understanding the value of intuition and flexibility - and for international business, an extra dose of that is required. Planning ahead for an international venture means having at least the basic understanding of cultural norms. Understand when and where the cultural norms demand that you do business and come to understand the people with whom who will be doing business.

That ace up your sleeve

In every sales opportunity, it works to your benefit to be as prepared as you possible. When the cultural aspect is involved, the need to prepare is amplified. Gain a highly detailed understanding before engaging with your prospect and it will multiply your opportunities to close a sale. Learn prior to your first call what open projects the company has, what they need, and what contacts are your likely counterparts.

For a successful sale, whether home or abroad, preparation is key. Come armed with physical data that will help you make the sale as well as the cultural and behavioural knowledge of the organisation and your reward will be the solid relationships you form and the doors that you open.

Henry Schuck is CEO and co-founder at DiscoverOrg.

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