The prototype selling approach

Gone are those days of the 80’s and 90’s where we had traditional sales spiels to sell software services. Today majority of the customers know what software can do for their business. While traditionals selling methods still hold certain merits, we should explore newer sales approaches as technology advances by leaps and bounds.

In the old approach of selling, many companies experienced that there is not much value getting added to the organization from their IT vendor. The vendor just wanted to get connected to the prospect, get traction in the sales process and close the deal. The vendor’s sales team would generally schedule meetings, gives presentations, involve technical teams and finally close the deal.

How do we break this pattern of long sales cycles which really dont create an WOW experience for the clients? From my experience, I am able to relate to all my customers whom I have worked with. Thus I’m able to speak with them about what their business critical problems are.

Now, how does a sales person get traction right away with the potential customer? The answer to me is clearly “Prototype Selling”.

Organizations should create a knowledge base of business critical problems that they have solved. They should also identify more of them in various domains that they can solve. Then you build prototypes to solve these problems rather than investing in creating the entire product/service. Prototype building holds true in a services company too.

Next, the sales person takes the prototype to the customer instead of the cliched PowerPoint presentations. In this way, he is able to instantly connect to the problems that the customer has. In other words, he goes with the probable solution first to the customer rather than pitching his services to him. Both the customer as well as the organization will see great value in this approach of prototype selling. Through this approach, relating to the business critical problems of the customer becomes the primary objective in selling rather than selling technology by itself.

Sriharsha Nagaraj is the Director, Business Development at Compassites.He has overall 16 years of IT experience and has played multiple roles. He has experience in product development, quality assurance and operations infrastructure design. He has a deep understanding of key organization issues.He has also worked as Technical Project Manager with Apple Inc in Cupertino at Exilant Technologies. Sriharsha holds an engineering degree in IT from Malnad College of Engineering (Mysore University) and International Business Management from IIM Calcutta.

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