Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Selling The Future - The Five Paths To Realization It With Prospects

Every good (software) company must do one thing well... Innovate or die! If your product is stagnant or lacks any sense of future purpose then your sales will slow, customers will leave and you can kiss that big dream of yours goodbye! Innovation is the key to unlocking the ideas of your product, but not in the way you might think. And that's just it, it isn't what you think, but what your customers expect from the future of your product offering. In other words, you're selling the future of what you're doing to make the product better, or more importantly, how it innovates on a process or idea. But, and there is always a but, you must be careful in how you approach this. If you're on the sales team, and are dying for that new feature or innovative platform, here are a few tips on how to approach the idea of selling it with your prospects...

  1. You're on the front lines, so act like it... In every military campaign, the front line soldiers have a special duty to report what is happening. Create a survey, ask questions and find out what people are after. Don't just say, "Oh, that will probably be coming..." Ask what they want, lightly engage and report.  
  2. Price check... To me, this is probably the most useful activity a sales rep can do to help determine the future of any product. Product Managers can theorize what the market will bear, but the market will tell you what they can tolerate. Start throwing price ranges out there, ask (similar to above). "What if our solution did this, would you pay X or Y for it (again, what you really want is Z, so X is high and Y is really high and Z is the compromise). 
  3. Play with your pitch... The best sales reps are always creating (usually with a lot of anxious energy). Start modifying what your pitch would sound like. Perhaps keep a blog on what you're learning? 
  4. Push the product management team... Don't wait for them to develop innovative products! You're the tip of the spear and so you've got to push your product team to develop what is needed, and not just what is cool. 
  5. Pre-sell it!!! Probably the most dangerous pursuit, but perhaps this could help finance the development of your innovative new thing? My point is why not pre-sell the idea and get a prospect to help you develop it (with their money, of course). Better to have a fish eyeing the lure than no, eh? 

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