Peter Yared, the CIO/CTO of CBS Interactive, has penned a thoughtful three-part series for the Wall Street Journal's CIO Journal on how to sell to enterprise IT departments. He opens it by writing the following:
After almost two decades of selling business infrastructure to technology companies, I thought I knew it all. But since spending the last two years on the other side of the table as the CIO/CTO of CBS Interactive, I realized how much I didn’t know about selling to enterprise IT.
Yared goes on to offer specific advice for sales pros selling to enterprise CIOs. It includes the following:
1. Go to the Right Person. To sell to an IT organization, convince the person who actually has the problem.
2. Understand the Company's Business and IT Challenges. Talk about how you can solve their problems, now about how your company/product/idea is “awesome.”
3. Be Clear About What You Do. A pitch, whether from a small startup or a multinational corporation, should always concisely state the following:
Description: What the offering does, how it’s different from competitors and how it can help a CIO.
Validation: What stage the product is at and who else is using it.
Process: How can the offering be purchased, what the typical on-ramp looks like, and how much it costs.
4. Sell the ROI. A vendor needs to have a very clear and verifiable return on investment (ROI) story with measurable metrics.
Yared also cautions salespeople to not try and bypass IT, saying, "Treating the IT department like a speedbump signals that the vendor does not value what IT thinks. Lines of business typically partner with IT, and a deal takes agreement between the two."
Boardroom Insiders provides an easy shortcut for enterprise sales pros looking to follow Yared's advice. Our executive profiles directly address points 1 and 2 above--the who and the why--of your account-based sales plan.
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