The market for IT services has been growing rapidly in recent years, as much as 30 percent in a single year. More growth can be expected in such areas as big data and analytics, the shift to cloud-based resources and mobile computing. And, yet, competition is fierce as about only 10 percent of the firms in the space dominate the marketplace.
A solutions-based approach to selling IT services can position your firm to win in both the short and long terms. You can improve customer satisfaction, capture opportunities for long-term relationships with clients and earn higher margins, all while improving your sales team’s win rate.
Organizing your sales team and processes around the solutions-based concept is not limited to a single approach.
For your sales team, it involves hiring the right people, giving them the right kinds of support and training and offering them the right kinds of compensation packages.
For example, you will want sales people with solutions-based backgrounds – consultative selling does not come naturally. Your sales team also will need solid technical skills, because they will be helping create technical solutions. Cultural sensitivity is important for working with off-shore resources. In the rapidly changing IT field, continuing training will be needed. You will want to be sure your compensation packages encourage consultative behavior and solution selling.
For the company, solutions-centric sales can be aligned with corporate goals, whether that is seeking total revenue, earning high margins or acquiring a large customer base or another target. One way to ensure alignment is to create pre-packaged IT solutions that work to the company’s “sweet spots” in terms of service capabilities and size.
An added advantage is that the packages can be designed to resolve issues that are common to your prospects’ vertical domains, which can increase the speed with which your sales team can react to opportunities.
A good solutions-based program will help you develop long-term, profitable relationships with customers and avoid the trap of endless cycles of high-work, low-margin time and material contracts.