Internal Sales for Purchasing Solutions
Today's eSourcing wiki article, The Quest for Purchasing Fire, discusses the process and obstacles for getting buy-in from C-level executives as well as the stakeholders that will utilize an esourcing or eprocurement solution.
I have been the project lead on several software implementations and most of them have been difficult technically but the most challenging area was the change management for the end-user and the selling of the benefits. Pointing out the WIIFM (what's in it for me) definitely made a positive difference in moving the transition forward.
The key for any project was to get the stakeholders involved right up front and keep them in the loop on the progress, obstacles and being part of the solution. Putting some of them on a task force or implementation team allowed for that ownership which was critical.
One point that was brought home in the eSourcing Wiki this week is that the selling does not stop throughout or even post-implementation. It takes time to adopt the solution so keep up the communication continually, pointing out the benefits, have an elevator speech ready!!
I wonder what The Sales Guy would say for internal selling. Much of his wonderful wisdom has been about external selling but this can be just as challenging!!
Does anyone have any information that would be helpful or experience to share?
Input from The Sales Guy:
The challenge in elevator pitches is making sure the message addresses that executive cares about. Nothing is worse than delivering a crisp pitch that gets a "so what" response. If you aren't sure about the top concern for that exec - find out before you construct the pitch.
Whenever possible, the pitch should use numbers to express the benefit: dollars or percentage of cost reduction, quality improvement, time saved or risk reduced. The first sentence of any effective pitch should stand alone as a response. What follows only reinforces the message already delivered.
So the core of the lesson here is that making an inside sale requires more than one pitch – knowing who your doubters are in advance and tailoring a message for each of them will have you ready to react to their concerns. This is particularly true if you aren’t lucky enough to deliver your pitch in an elevator – any exchange between you and an executive is an opportunity to win them over as well as anyone listening in. So be respectful, be ready, have data, and gain support for your cause.