Selling and marketing IT products and professional services in the best of times means developing value that prospects believe, finding prospects that will buy, negotiating deals that clients will pay for, and managing competitors… before they manage you. This whole process can become cumbersome and tedious. One way to bypass this elongated sales progression is by crafting and launching new products, IT, software and professional services that generate unchallenged new business opportunities in your geographic selling area.
Chan Kim, one of the authors in the great book “Blue Ocean Strategy,” discusses how most companies build their businesses based on making small, inconsequential changes in their offerings as compared to their competitors and force themselves into a recurring commodity position that is difficult to expand from.
Let’s look at this from a different angle — your firm sells staff aug, project management, CRM apps, ERP applications, or managed services. Great, so what makes your firm different? I know — your service and support are better than your competitors and you are committed to your client’s satisfaction. Ok I get it… but isn’t that what your competitors say too?
Everyone can’t be the best! So why even allow yourself to be pulled into this competitive position?
One way to grow your business geometrically with less competitive pressure is by developing new IT products and services that have limited competitors but creates new marketing and selling paradigms.
7 Guidelines to Consider When Crafting New Technology Offerings
- Use Market Gap Analysis not just market research to identify buyer opportunities that may be available. Market gaps identify where demand is greater than supply; market research just confirms established and known sales and marketing distribution models.
- Before you create new IT offerings, pick a targeted price point and gross margin goal per sale that you need in order for this opportunity to work (i.e., $100,000; 50% margins; etc.).
- When developing your new IT offerings, set up detailed benchmark parameters on how many regional or national competitors are acceptable in that new market before you consider it a potential market gap (i.e., no more than 2 national competitors, no more than 3 regional competitors, etc.).
- GEO map the number of unit sales that may be possible within your targeted marketing and selling zone. Entering a market with 50 opportunities is totally different than entering a market with 5,000.
- When creating new IT offerings, spend a lot of time thinking about the packaging of the offering so it allows the buyer to quickly understand its value without much marketing education.
- To maximize the success of your IT offering launch, build marketing communication tools before you launch that minimizes selling expense, shortens sales cycle length and reduces prospect education curves.
- Often, the easiest way IT firms launch new products or services is by partnering with manufacturers or new suppliers they meet at trade shows, but often this does not work. This is not original thinking. It’s just a regurgitation of what others do. Instead, reevaluate your company’s core strengths and weaknesses as well as your growth objectives and then seek out a market where demand is greater than supply and create a new offering.
Remember, just because you like the technology or professional service you sell or have developed, it doesn’t mean there are IT buyers. If you want to increase your firm’s top line revenues, reduce your dependency on your current markets (especially in this economy) and minimize your market competitors… consider developing new IT offerings based on research, not gut feelings.
It’s not what you sell — It’s what buyers buy!