For the technology industry, IT Departments no longer dominate technology buying. In LinkedIn’s 7th annual survey of technology buying in 2020, respondents were asked: “Which function has the most influence on your company’s technology purchases?”
63% nominated departments other than IT.
The need to engage line-of-business executives has never been greater.
Your front-line teams must engage at the executive level. But what do they talk about? Executives aren’t interested in your products or services. They delegate evaluation of products and services.
And sales teams often feel nervous about having a general business conversation with an executive. They don’t feel they can match the executive’s business knowledge. And worry they’ll look foolish.
To engage executives, you need to provide insight. That’s the only way to sustain a relationship at that level. But you need to find a topic on which to provide insight.
One path: choose a core outcome you help customers achieve and become an expert in enabling that outcome. A business outcome requires more than getting your products working. The customer must also have the right processes, people skills, partner integration, policies, reporting and measurement.
Choose a business outcome the key customer executive/s care about. And give them insight into everything needed to achieve that outcome.
That will get you to the executive level. And keep you there.
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