"Tips for selling software" - Tony Hughes (TALKING SALES 109)

it's important to lose quickly if you're

late into an opportunity but if you're

an early and you're going to set the

agenda then you want to win slowly hello

I've got Tony Hughes with me again

welcome back Tony thanks John good to be

here hey Tony you've got enormous

experience in the software industry you

used to be the CEO of a software company

locally and and I know that you've got

good advice you still work with lots of

organizations selling software the

software world's changing dramatically

it is out and so on what's your advice

on how to be successful in selling in

the software environment well the

interesting thing today is that selling

software to businesses especially did

begin to prizes that the balance of

power has changed quite dramatically and

buyers now want to trial they they want

to test things before they'll ever

commit Sinclair alleles that to happen

does it does it does the whole thing of

software as a service delivered over the

cloud means that people can start with a

small group and then grow out so the era

of doing a big enterprise sale and then

the sales person disappearing with the

clients struggling to get the value is

really pocketful of money

exactly all yep so all of those things

are gone so right now we have shared

risk which i think is really good

there's values alignment there for buyer

and seller but my advice to people

selling software solutions is to

absolutely be very clear about the

problem they're solving often what

happens when we're invited into an

opportunity is the customer is really

focused on doing a comparative analysis

they want to know what does your product

do does a comply with their needs and

all of those things and what gets lost

is why they need to implement so the

good salespeople focus on what are you

trying to achieve with implementing our

product but then that Y can be quite

different from client to client or we've

even within clients from different

departments department or area or area

within an organization true yeah it

really can and if you look at customer

relationship management CRM software as

an example you know depending on whose

statistics you believe that anywhere

between a third to 70% of those

implementations don't meet their stated

objectives and why's that well it's very

easy to end up with the world's most

expensive context database and pipeline

forecasting tool that no one believes

the reality is doing that before well

the reality is though organization

will implement a CRM because they've had

a problem occur maybe they want to

reduce customer churn maybe they're

wanting to be more customer centric and

support customer experience and bring

sales and marketing together so it

really depends on what they're trying to

achieve and if the salesperson can't get

focused on what outcomes are you needing

to achieve where's the business case for

making the necessary funding because

it's a giant mistake to underfund any of

these projects especially CRM because

you change managing sales people like

hood in cats and then you need to focus

on where are the risks for them and

that's your opportunity to bring insight

you started by saying that that we can

get stuck in that analysis yes and the

custom being analyzed a number of

providers and so on in my experiments

that tends to be late in the buying

process yes and and typically one of the

providers will have been right up the

front sowing the seeds challenging the

customer driving that thought changes

that the customer needs to have in your

experience typically all the winners of

the business those people doing that so

they are the ones focused on what the

the why what the value is yes so most of

the time when a large organization comes

to market and they start assessing

people most of the time someone's been

there early really influencing the

agenda and it's not that you can't win

if you're late to the table but it's

certainly far more difficult so it's

tough being strategic by definition

means get there early engaging with

senior people helping them establish the

business case and really setting an

agenda around your strengths but things

that are also very good for the client

so never respond to an RFP or tender if

you weren't there before it was well I

wouldn't say never respond because you

can win but you've got to be very clear

about what defines a well-qualified

prospect what does that customer need to

believe that makes them line up well for

us to be able to provide the rice but

typically if you dragged in of the RFP

stage you're going to be in that

analysis process yes and you really are

not in a position to get back to driving

what the value is in the business and

that's why if you're late into an

opportunity the process of qualification

is very important it's important to lose

quickly if you're late into an

opportunity but if you're an early and

you're going to set the agenda then you

want to win slowly you want to make

those investments in people and

the agenda great advice Tony I think

good value for a lot of salespeople and

sales managers out there appreciate it

thanks John