Stop selling solutions and begin to sell the experience

Washington – There is no one in the analyst community more in tuned with the channel that Tiffani Bova.

Bova is the vice president and distinguished analyst with Gartner Research. She is a former channel chief and solution provider executive and last year Bova was recognized by Gartner with the Thought Leadership Award for her work on the Future of IT Sales. One of her predictions she made back in 2012 was that the chief marketing officer would be spending more on IT than the CIO by 2017. Well, that prediction certainly looks to be a solid one.

Recently she presented at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington on the Internet of Things and again she uncovered a new wrinkle that make the audience of about 14,000 channel partners take notice.

She said: “Everything can be on the Internet. It’s the Internet of People and the information from things.”

Her point here is to turn the focus away from products and instead sell the experience. Bova called it “the experience economy.” By selling a great experience will produce greater margins.

Some example: there are sensors now in diapers. “This moves us to a new level of the Internet of Things. Now your smartphone can tell you when to change your child,” she said to the amusement of many in the audience.

But maybe the most poignant piece of insight she delivered was that the Internal Metric Driven Sales model is hurting the channel.

Her advice is to move past the daily pipeline meeting and look to build a broader selling model.

Another example Bova gave was that of the coffee market. Coffee beans are sold at between one and two cents per cup no matter where you are in the world. The Microsoft conference provided free coffee for attendees, but that coffee was abandon for Starbucks.

“The experience economy is how you sell. There is free coffee ten feet away but the coffee place has a line-up 30 deep. What are you selling? Coffee beans? The coffee pot or the experience?”

Bova added that it’s time for the channel to rethink their sales journey and transform the business model.

“What worked in the pass does not work in the future,” she said.

There are a new set of buyers and these buyers are creating disruption in the market place, according to her research.

These buyers are more informed than ever before. Bova said that these new buyers talk to your customers ahead of time.

“They are independent and you can no longer own that journey of how you engage and sell with them,” Bova said.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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