The IT Buyer Is Changing: Why Are High-Tech Vendors Slow to Adapt?

Posted by Brandon Mills on Tue, Sep 27, 2016


Chengappa Kodira co-wrote this post with Brandon Mills.

This post is the fourth in a seven-part series examining top trends that are reshaping the high-tech industry.

Historically, selling IT products and services has been pretty straightforward. All that you had to do was call on the IT department and convince them that your solution satisfied their requirements and budget. Maybe that’s oversimplifying it a bit, but the reality in the B-to-B high-tech industry is that selling has become more complicated because a new decision maker has entered the picture: the business buyer. CIOs and IT organizations are moving to more of an influencer role, while more IT budget control shifts into the hands of business or functional leads. 


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Social Seller Journey: Engaging Today’s Digital B-to-B Buyer

Posted by Brandon Mills on Mon, Apr 11, 2016

This is the seventh post in a series based on a ZS social selling survey of 125 sales leaders.

As has been well documented through recent research, social media is changing the way that B-to-B customers buy: 75% of B-to-B buyers are influenced by social media, according to Frost & Sullivan; 74% of B-to-B buyers conduct more than half of their research online before buying, Forrester Research has reported; and 57% of the purchase decision-making process is completed before a customer engages a sales rep, according to CEB.


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Social Organization: Using Social Networks to Build a More Effective Sales Team

Posted by Brandon Mills on Tue, Mar 08, 2016

This is the fourth post in a series based on a ZS social selling survey of 125 sales leaders.

My colleagues and I have recently shared some insights on social branding and social listening—two of our “Six Building Blocks of Social Selling”—based on our recent survey of 125 sales leaders across various industries. Unlike those previous building blocks, which typically are the first that we think of in connection with social selling, social organization isn’t at the center of the social selling conversation. This third building block refers to a set of internal practices that make use of social networks to help build more effective sales teams.


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Become a CX Conductor: Breaking Down IT Vendor and Partner Silos

Posted by Brandon Mills on Thu, Mar 03, 2016

Truth or myth: High-tech vendors have little power to influence the customer experience when selling through channel partners?

For high-tech marketing and sales professionals who think that this is a truth, shame on them. High-tech vendors can, and absolutely should, influence their end customers’ experiences when they purchase products or services from a channel partner. I’m not saying that it’s easy, since the partner often “owns” the customer relationship, and in many cases, vendors have limited engagement with the buyers and users of their products or services. However, in today’s hyper-competitive IT market, vendors must protect their brands and deliver on their value propositions regardless of their channel strategy.  


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Social Branding: If You Build It, They May Come, but If You Earn It, They Will

Posted by Brandon Mills on Tue, Feb 16, 2016

This is the second post in a series based on a ZS social selling survey of 125 sales leaders.

Last week, Ashish Vazirani introduced the “Six Building Blocks of Social Selling” along with some initial insights from a recently completed survey that ZS conducted with 125 sales leaders across various industries, including high-tech and telecom. In this post, I’ll focus on “social branding,” which is probably the building block with the lowest barrier to entry, but it’s essential that sales reps get it right in order to successfully drive productive social selling behavior.


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