The new economic environment may seem daunting, but presents an opportunity for leaders to adapt and thrive. The ability to pivot quickly and make strategic adjustments is crucial for success. By staying attuned to emerging trends and embracing an agile mindset, companies can not only survive, but also gain a competitive edge that positions them for long-term growth and prosperity. In the new economic environment, tech will be defined by four key changes—and companies that can adjust to these changes will emerge even stronger than before.
1: Focus is the new mandate for sales teams
If I had to use one word to describe the future of sales, it is focus. Over the past five years, many sales teams in the tech industry lost their focus. Which is understandable. Enterprise tech providers had lots of venture capital funding to support them and buyers were eager to snap up new technologies for their business.
As a result, the sales process didn’t have to be that strong, nor did there have to be a compelling product-market fit. There was tremendous leeway among buyers to purchase technology without really going through a rigorous decision process. This dynamic fueled what I would call unfocused business execution.
But now, in the face of a tech downturn, we’re entering a new era where focus will matter more than ever. Going forward, sales teams will need to get back to basics, such as placing an emphasis on value-based selling and truly understanding how their product or service can provide real value to the customer.
The opportunity for sales teams is to fully understand the unique challenges and goals of their prospects and customers and to present technology solutions that align with and support their success. By taking this approach, sales teams can build trust and establish lasting relationships with their customers by providing real, valuable solutions.
2: Services is the business
The idea that software as a service (SaaS) would eliminate the need for services is a fallacy. Without services, customers struggle to get maximum value from the technology products they implement. Companies have to ensure their SaaS applications not only work but that they are effectively integrated into the overall enterprise environment.
That’s why, even amid broader layoffs in the tech sector, we will see some providers actually grow their services headcount. Indeed, some large tech providers are now saying their services business will overtake other parts of their business within the next several years. They understand that customers want to be assured that their new technologies will work effectively and efficiently, and it is the services team that can provide that assurance and support—while ensuring that customers get the most out of the technology investments they make.
3: Finance is in the room where it happens
During the boom years, finance often wasn’t at the table when deals were getting done and sales were being closed. Corporate buyers of technology would simply circumvent their finance people. With so much money sloshing around and a board-level push for growth at any cost, companies would quickly purchase big-ticket items without first consulting finance or analyzing the budget.
In the coming year, however, financial planning and analysis (FP&A) will be back with a vengeance. The message will be clear: if you’re not talking to your FP&A team, you need to do so now. Going forward, there will be more pressure to align closely with finance and to scrutinize every investment. Corporate leaders will insist on having finance in the room before the organization spends a penny more.
4: Standalone tools are facing headwinds
If you offer a tool or a technology that is not part of a bigger platform, it’s tough going. Personally, I’m actively reviewing my portfolio of technologies and SaaS applications and figuring out which ones I can cancel or consolidate. In the current economic climate, companies are increasingly looking for a single platform that enables them to seamlessly tie in with other technologies—and get more bang for their buck.
That means technology providers will need to focus on offering solutions that can easily integrate with a customer’s existing platform in order to provide immediate value and streamline the adoption process. This shift in focus will be beneficial for both the providers and the customers as it will allow for a more seamless implementation and usage of the technology.
Take, for instance, a company that uses Salesforce. This company will start looking closely at other tools that seamlessly snap into the Salesforce platform and that can immediately deliver business value. In today’s market, companies will prefer new capabilities that fit into their existing platforms and that don’t require a major investment.
This is a pivotal time for companies to reassess and make strategic adjustments in order to stay competitive in the market. Those who adapt to changing market conditions by taking a focused approach to the sales process or expanding their services offerings will be well-positioned for success. While the market may be shifting, there is still ample opportunity for companies to thrive and grow in the coming year and beyond.