by pat

February 15, 2009

Selling technology in a business to business (B2B) environment means selling to technical audiences. Common examples might include:

  • Selling OEM Software to Engineers who will use the software’s application programming interface (API) to integrate it into their end product.
  • Selling integrated circuits (ICs) to hardware engineers designing technology products like TVs or Weapons systems or MP3 Players.
  • Selling development tools like compilers, debuggers, logic analyzers or network traffic analyzers.

The types of products and scenarios are legion, but the unifying factor is that the sales team needs to have a deep understanding of the underlying technology that they are selling.

The Team

In B2B technology sales, teams are typically comprised of an account manager who is responsible for the sales and business aspects of the deal, and an application engineer who is responsible for the technical portion of the sale.

The Sales Cycle

The sales process for technology products, tends to run from several weeks to many months depending on the complexity of the product and it’s overall impact on an organization. An on site technology demonstration, followed by a detailed product evaluation are usually required before a sale is made.

The Stakes are High

One of the most important aspects of the the technology sale is that it is often more important for the technical buyer to make the right choice than it is to get the best price.

The reason for this atypical behavior is that technology products often become an integral part of the user’s process or products. If a prospect buys a tool with the expectation that the tool will improve and optimize a process, they need to realize these benefits. Products that do not work as advertised can scuttle a project and result in layoffs or even failure of a start up.

If an engineer selects an integrated circuit for a design it is crucial that the part meets specifications and that the vendor can deliver the part on time. Missed deliveries or poor quality can ruin an engineering schedule and incur costly redesigns.

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