I’m heading to Orlando for Gartner’s Symposium next week, so publishing this a few days earlier than normal. The show is sold-out and will have a huge focus on how to capitalize on the digital business opportunity. While focused on CIOs and other technology leaders, there will be a larger number of providers, my audience, there whether as sponsors, attendees looking to learn, or prospective clients interested in the Gartner experience.
I’ve been working with a number of colleagues to design a program for this last group that explores our research that is focus on helping providers grow faster and make smarter business decisions. The program, which is also sold-out, includes four to-the-point sessions covering a range of topics that we hear regularly form clients about:
- Positioning and Differentiation – I’ll be leading this one exploring ways providers can improve their messaging to stand out from the crowd.
- Gartner Forecasts – John Lovelock will go deeper than the numbers to share insights that providers can learn from our forecast research to tune their market strategies.
- Internet of Things – A big topic for the whole event, for our audience, Al Velosa will explore the provider opportunity to help companies capitalize in this area.
- Future of Sales – Finally, Tiffani Bova will explore how sales models need to adapt to align with the way customers want to buy
As you can see, its a pretty broad range of topics, but all focused on the same thing—growing your business. At the heart of this lies our belief that the foundation for success going forward lies in embracing the connected model–making sales, marketing, and product strategy equal partners in driving the business—with all decisions looking at all three of these perspectives before being made.
We focus on the connected model, because we often see providers adapting product strategies due to technology trends, but thinking about sales approaches later, then wondering why results are bad. For example, as software moved to a service model in the cloud, it required significant shifts in business strategy. Many orgs that had, and have, on premise software introduced cloud applications, but had the same sales force, with largely the same compensation plan selling both products. Guess which ones they focused on—those that made them more money–the traditional on premise opportunities.
You have to make all decisions with an eye toward all three areas — what does our product need to be? what markets will we target (and why and how)? How will we sell in a way that customers want to buy (and our sellers want to sell)? Stated differently, a simplistic, formula for success includes:
- Compelling Need or Opportunity – Do you address a significant pain area or growth opportunity that buyers will spend money on
- Solid product – That addresses the pain/opportunity effectively (may include services to enable the value to be captures)
- Real market – That is large enough to enable growth, but small enough to enable focus
- Energized Sales – Whether direct, indirect, or on-line, your sales channels need to be excited and motivated to help customers buy
- Great story – All of this may be irrevelant if your messaging does not engage buyers emotionally. Stories are the way to do that.
- Realistic Plan – Don’t be general, identify how many customers you need to buy, now often, at what price to drive growth. And given that, how many people do you need selling and how much marketing do you need to do to drive demand.
I saw an article recently that stated that the number one reason startups fail, according to their founders, is no market. I question that to some extent, since every startup I have known exists to solve a pain (or opportunity) that the founder recognized. I suspect that the real reason is gaps in the formula above. Perhaps the need they identified was not that compelling, or they did not have a story (very common) that helped buyers see why this was a must have v. a nice to have. Or, they did not have the bottom up plan for growth.
Netting it out, growing a technology business is hard. At Symposium, our program will help attendees explore many of the elements to developing and implementing a successful growth strategy. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there.
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