It’s often a struggle for account executives to explain the technology behind a CRM like Salesforce, especially when selling to low-tech clients. But what about when selling to high-tech customers? That presents a different kind of challenge.
High-tech customers don’t need a simplified breakdown of how Salesforce works; what they do need is an account executive who can speak their language. Here’s how to do it.
Get On Their Level
Building a relationship is key to navigating any difficult sales process. When selling Salesforce to high-tech customers, you’ll need to prove that you understand what they’re talking about. Instead of telling your prospect how much you’ve read about their company, prove how much you know about their world. Know what’s important to them, what current events and news items are demanding their attention, and where their business is currently.
Much of this can be accomplished through research. Understand the stage of their business; a startup might have three to 10 employees and is likely focused on keeping costs low while being fast and agile. At the growth stage, a company might have up to 50 employees and is thinking about scaling, hiring, and boosting value. An enterprise-level business of up to 200 employees is now looking at profitability and the bigger picture.
Look at their industry — who are the top performers, who has recently been acquired or received major investment, and what are people worried over or excited about? Understand the terminology; if they’re raising money, know the difference between Series A and Series B. If they’re a startup, peruse pertinent startup news sources (TechCrunch, BetaKit, etcetera) and verse yourself in what’s being talked about. Your ability to “talk shop” will go a long way to establishing trust.
Ask the Right Questions
When selling Salesforce to a low-tech client, you might be able to get away with asking basic, broad questions in order to tailor your pitch. When selling Salesforce to a high-tech customer, you need to get your prospect to share details about the current state of their company, their challenges, and their goals without you appearing clueless.
To do this, use your research to inform tailored, specific questions. Perhaps you read a company press release where your prospect announced a new client or partnership — ask them how they landed the deal and what the process was like. If they published a blog post outlining the challenges of growing a business from the ground up, mention that you thought it was a great read and inquire as to what their current challenges are.
Listen carefully to the responses; they’ll be your ammunition for proving that Salesforce is relevant and advantageous for the high-tech customer.
A low-tech customer might resist your pitch because they don’t understand Salesforce; a high-tech customer might resist because they do understand Salesforce and they think it’s needless. To overcome the prospect’s biases or assumptions, you need to use the unique complexities of their business and the stage of their company to prove the relevancy of Salesforce. How a startup uses Salesforce, for example, will be different than how an enterprise company uses it. Their concerns will be different as well.
A startup company needs to prove the value of their product or solution, land paying clients, and make quick but informed decisions. They also need to keep their costs down. Tailor your pitch accordingly. Salesforce can give startups the macro and micro views of sales data that they need in order to adapt their strategies on the fly — key when selling a high-tech product that hasn’t yet been proven by market demand. Why should startups believe you? Salesforce can connect sales, HR, marketing, and customer service, replacing their need for multiple platforms to organization and tracking. Used correctly, it can improve the effectiveness of a salesperson or team, making it easier to sign new clients and maintain relationships with current ones.
High-tech clients need evidence, not anecdotes, so rely on case studies when possible. Be prepared to talk about existing clients at comparable stages of business or with similarly technical products or solutions that are now successfully using Salesforce.