Software vendors, tear down this wall!

January 16, 2011
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Historians say that Ronald Reagan’s 1987 “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” “speech at Brandenburg Gate catalyzed the end of the cold war. Similarly, innovations such as web 2.0, social media, analytics and smartphones have enabled companies to change enterprise software sales and perhaps sales of other products as well.

Traditionally, a salesperson was needed for the following purposes:

Historians say that Ronald Reagan’s 1987 “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” “speech at Brandenburg Gate catalyzed the end of the cold war. Similarly, innovations such as web 2.0, social media, analytics and smartphones have enabled companies to change enterprise software sales and perhaps sales of other products as well.

Traditionally, a salesperson was needed for the following purposes:

– provide product information
– demonstrate product capabilities
– price offerings
– negotiate agreements

Technologies such as the internet, web 2.o and social media have changed the dynamics of software sales. Today customers can research product information using tools such as search and social media. In addition customers can “try-before-buy” by signing up for free trial accounts. Several companies list their pricing on the internet. Vendors that facilitate transparency increase their credibility and reputation.

The benefits to prospects are many, such as:

– increased transparency (e.g., finding information about a vendor by researching tweets, LinkedIn updates etc.)

– pricing clarity (e.g., learn how product is priced by studying online listing of prices)

– increased product knowledge (e.g., online trials, online resources)

Vendors also benefit:

– reduce cost of sales (e.g., instead of salesreps answering questions, have the prospect get answers from multiple online resources)

– improve credibility (e.g., increased transparency leads in increased trust)

With all the innovation in technologies, it is surprising that vendors have not leveraged these technologies to improve the sales process. If customers have started to embrace web 2.0 social media, smartphones etc., shouldn’t you as well?