How Large Organisations Make Information Systems and Technology Decisions
As a salesperson working in large organisations the need to understand the clients current and future information system needs, creates a requirement to move up the client organisation and sell to senior management. This sets new challenges to Sales Teams with a focus on how best to influence non technically minded Senior Managers who may not readily understand all the potential benefits of major IT investments.
The boundaries between selling and consultancy have become increasingly blurred as sales teams develop more strategic relationships with senior clients. Being able to act as a consultant to the client demands continuing refinement of your consultancy skills and the ability to operate at all levels of the organisation.
The Three-level Approach
Level 1 – Business Strategy
At the highest level (Level 1), the company is setting business goals and strategies many of which cannot be achieved without the use of sophisticated information systems. At this level you are dealing with the most senior people in the organisation.
At this level Salespeople need to become much more aware of the business strategies of their accounts and this means much more than knowing approximately where they intend to go as they build their business strategies, often at Strategic Business Unit Level, they need to be able to both understand and comment on those strategic directions.
Level 2 – Information System Strategy
At the second level companies are asking how can technology help us meet our information system’s needs?
The Business Strategies drive the Information Systems Strategies – those strategies which deal with the systems which will support the Business Strategies. At this level, knowledge of the ways in which technology can be used is more important than any detailed knowledge of the pros and cons of different technologies. To build a partnership suppliers need to be able to show superior knowledge of the kinds of business systems which will help their customers gain and sustain a competitive advantage.
Level 3 – Information Technology Strategy
At the lowest level the discussion develops into the most appropriate technology, architectures, and tools. If you are only operating at the lowest level, you are working at a great disadvantage!
Information Technology Strategies should support the customer’s Information Systems Strategies. Once you can show your capability to deliver the tools to support their Information Systems you demonstrate your right to be part of a long-term strategic partnership with them.
More and more companies are making important decisions based on how IT can improve the business performance and achieve its strategic business goals - larger companies see this as a Critical Success Factor.
The complex interrelationships, the buying cycle and the people involved (the buying centre) has all to be put into the context of how Large Organisations Make IT Decisions. The Three-Level Model can help salespeople to develop their sales strategy and understand the process and the context and importance of operating at all three levels of the decision matrix.