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SALES TECHNOLOGY


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Buyer Transparency in the Tech Space What Sellers Need To Know about Their Changing Customers


BY: SELESTE LUNSFORD, CHIEF RESEARCH & STRATEGY OFFICER, EMISSARY


Although all disciplines changed dramatically last year, few were as profoundly recast as technology, which found itself in a whirlwind of “digital transformation.” The result is both tremendous opportunity and challenge for technology sellers.


To understand the current state from a buyer point of view, we conducted a series of surveys with 708 senior executives responsible for billions of dollars in technology spend. We worked with them to dissect their most recent, major (>$250,000) technology purchases. Their behind- the-scenes insights shine a valuable light on who, how, and why they buy.


IT’S RARE THAT IT ALONE BUYS TECH. Technology and “the business” have been merging for years. This came to fruition as the global pandemic rendered remote workforces and digital customer expe- riences a necessity. Today, all business is, by definition, technology oriented.


14 | MARCH/APRIL 2021 SELLING POWER © 2021 SELLING POWER. CALL 1-800-752-7355 FOR REPRINT PERMISSION.


Overall, this is positive for technology sales. But it also changes the playing field. Buyers shared that only one- third (34%) of purchases were initiated independently within IT. The rest were born in the business or as a collab- oration between the business and IT. Rather than target- ing titles, sellers must start by identifying “white space”: unresolved problems in their target accounts. Then, they can uncover who owns those problems – wherever they may sit in the organizational chart.


Of course, just because a project is initiated within one team, that doesn’t mean the full buying process remains there. Given expectations for 2021 growth, cross-functional buying teams are on the rise. Buyers shared that, on average, 5.5 decision makers impact a major technology purchase. Many situations had more than 10 stakeholders who could sway selection. This increases the pressure on sellers to expand networks and hedge against losing deals to unanticipated influences.


BUYING IS FORMAL, COMPLEX, AND FRUSTRATING. With more decision makers, increasing competition, and longer sales cycles, it is assuredly harder to sell technol-


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