The Gold is Upstream


Share on LinkedIn

Leading an enterprise sales force brings many challenges, and it is important that sellers prioritize their focus upstream. This is a real challenge for technology sellers whose heritage typically resides in selling to the Information Technology (IT) department.

To get ahead of the competition, you must go upstream, and prioritize your message to line of business (LOB) leadership.

Many technology sellers focus exclusively on the system owners who support the implementations and manage the technical environment for their enterprise. These system owners are beloved professionals that devote their careers to the technology; they deserve a high service level and empowerment from the vendor.

But, system owners cannot be the priority of the day… as they are down stream with no budget and little input toward enterprise decision-making.

To sell technology effectively you need to reach the Economic Buyer, otherwise known as the Sponsor. In today’s world, that is mostly likely the VP LOB… and this is something that has evolved considerably over the last twenty years.

As an example, twenty years ago as an enterprise sales leader running a division of nearly fifty sellers, I had ZERO influence on corporate systems – we took what IT gave us. Today, LOB leaders across the enterprise are the ones that are forging new systems, albeit in partnership with corporate IT.

Business leaders know the demands of the business, and have the budget to invest in new initiatives. As you build the business case for your proposal, it should be based on their inputs. Business value justification from a LOB sponsor is compelling.

Granted, anyone selling technology will spend a good deal of their time with the IT department… you have to take care of the teams managing the systems. But smart sellers prioritize their go-to-market energy toward the New Buyer.

The New Buyer
The concept of the New Buyer signifies this evolution. Leading industry analysts such as Gartner, state that the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) will spend more on technology than the Chief Information Officer (CIO). Most IT departments are in maintenance mode – their budgets are declining and they are NOT funding new technology spend. New technology spend is coming from this New Buyer… and that is LOB leadership.

An important concept to remember as you engage the market and focus on the New Buyer is that you get referred to whom you sound like. Talk speeds and feeds, and you’ll be talking to an IT manager. Talk about business problems and improving the customer experience or operational excellence and you’ll likely be sitting across from the VP LOB.

An excellent new book that highlights some of this market shift is The Challenger Sale… and the Empowered Sales blog will highlight that offering in an upcoming post.

Empowered Sales offers custom programs for sales success. We leverage deep personal experience, gems from industry icons, classic sales methodologies and innovative practices to empower client sales organizations.

If you were digging for gold, go to the New Buyer and you’ll be out in front of your competition. The gold is upstream.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kevin Graham
Kevin Graham is an author, speaker and expert on empowerment, sales and leadership. As managing director of Empowered Sales Training, Kevin works with organizations to empower sales success. Formerly, Kevin was a top performing sales executive in the ultra competitive technology sector. He's qualified for President's Club status in three Fortune 500 companies, carried the Olympic Torch and played in a national championship.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here