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The Beginners Guide to Selling IT: Three Top Secrets You Need to Know to Sell Information Technology

If you’re selling computers, software, storage, networking and other information technology, you’ve got to approach the sale very differently than if you’re selling other types of products. Read on to learn about what you must pay attention to if you’re going to be successful selling IT.

All IT is Bought to Generate Business

All IT purchases must contribute to the business or they won’t be approved. Many beginners lead with the product, trying to convince the IT director how good their technology is and why they need to buy it.

If you’re going to be immediately successful selling IT, focus on the business reasons why your customers should buy. So instead of discussing speeds and feeds, bays and arrays, cables and trays, talk about the business case that you can make for your product.

And this gets even more important when you consider the next beginners secret.

Most Deals Have Multiple Decision Makers

While the IT department has a budget for the year, purchases above a certain amount require approval from the technology committee, usually consisting of the IT director, CFO (chief financial officer), and CEO (chief executive officer, or managing director, or administrator, or owner.) The approval threshold is very low for small companies. For example, do you have to get the bosses approval to buy a toner cartridge? The threshold is much larger for most mid size companies, from 25 to 50 thousand dollars. And for big companies it drops lower, often around $10,000. I know; it’s pretty ridiculous.

If the IT director can sign off on the purchase, you just need to sell to them. As a beginner, you need to recognize that larger sales will be made to all three of these decision makers. And for many beginners, it can be a challenge to reach the CFO or CEO. Which leads us to the next beginners secret.

Reach Decision Makers with Your Proposals

When the IT director asks you for a proposal, they’re sold. Yet they still need to sell the other two decision makers. They’re really asking you to give them the information they need to convince the CFO and CEO.

Most beginners create technical proposals to the IT director, who is already convinced, and slap on a one-page executive summary. Yet one page is not enough to convince the other decision makers to agree to a five, six, or seven figure sale.

Instead, do some home work and find out what will motivate the other two decision makers to agree to approving the deal.

In general, the CFO is going to look at cash flow impact and the CEO is going to look at contributions to profit and growth.

As a beginner selling IT, you will be well served to learn how to make the business case for your products and learn how to communicate business value to the top executive decision makers. When you do this, you’ll rapidly become one of the most successful sales pros in your company.

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From Mark S.A. Smith of Outsource Channel Executives, Inc.

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