Technology: Are you Selling Features
or Solving Problems?

Jason Rager - Account Executive

September 2014 – One of the biggest mistakes I made early in my selling career was focusing more on product, and not on the needs of the customer. This lesson is even more valuable in a technology based sell. As I am preparing for my calls into IT divisions for clients, one of the key questions I find in the research and thought process is, “so what?”

Sometimes the excitement of any particular technology is not enough to take the conversation deeper with prospects. Perhaps the newest and greatest technology actually is not valuable to your prospect. Maybe they have other priorities they are focused on that this technology does not address. Maybe their workforce is pushing against any new technology or changes to their process. Maybe they have limited resources which limit their ability to master the change. As sales professionals, it is our job to understand the business processes and needs of the prospect. Being able to sell ice to an Eskimo is no longer the required trait for a sales person.

One of the organizations that have embraced this concept well is Cisco. For one of my clients, I obtained a Cisco Certified Sales Expert Certification. During study and training, I realized their materials clearly focused on industry trends. They tried to build a business case for solving multiple “common” problems for their target market. By adopting this approach, I have found that prospects are more willing to talk with me than if I sell features. By understanding the problem that the prospect is trying to solve or uncovering the next problem they are planning to tackle, I can begin to build my case as a resource to help them navigate to a solid solution.

It is also important to address the perception of the prospect. Some prospects we talk to on a daily basis believe that technology is changing so rapidly that they should delay investment on incremental advancements. From a business perspective they may be correct to do so.

Additionally, customer support is a key factor to developing market share. Technology is great, but put a cell phone in a cave man’s hand and it is useless. Customers need support during, and more importantly after buying and implementing the technology solution. It is critical to not just provide a tool but to consistently follow up, saying thank you, and offering support as needed.

This sales methodology definitely fits into our COACT sales process, as we have adopted a number of principles based on customer centric sales. Yes, we need to be persuasive, but we should focus on persuading the buying influence to continue discussing business goals and help them see the match of our solution to their problem.

Questions or comments? Please contact Jason Rager at