Noreen Nagji co-wrote this post with Ashish Vazirani.
This post is the final in a seven-part series examining top trends that are reshaping the high-tech industry.
Sports metaphors and motivational quotes from coaches and athletes are used frequently within the business world because they can be highly applicable—or because many in the business world are former or frustrated athletes. Sports and business are both competitive undertakings where the goal is to win or, at a minimum, to compete well. And one thing that’s as true in business as it is in sports is that it’s important to alter your team’s strategy depending on each opposing team that you’re matched against, and to leverage the internal talent that you already possess. The Chicago Cubs’ recent success driven by what the Ricketts family, Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon—the team’s owners, president of baseball operations and manager, respectively—have done is an excellent example of making adjustments with the goal of winning.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed the five trends that we believe are shaping the go-to-market approach in the high-tech industry. Although not every technology company is affected by each trend, it’s important to recognize which of these five trends are most relevant to your business, or if there are other trends that might come into play.
Keeping abreast of these industry trends will help you evolve your go-to-market approach as the marketplace changes: Perhaps you need a simple, tactical adjustment, such as shifting a player’s position or order in the lineup, or maybe your approach needs to be strategically altered, like rebuilding your farm system or your style of play. Keep in mind that how your company is influenced by certain trends is related to your company’s strengths and capabilities, so ask yourself this: How do you determine which trends influence your style of play, or the players you field, on any given day?
In order to answer this question and successfully evolve your go-to-market model with the top industry trends in mind, you need to evaluate the potential implications on three levels:
- Strategic implications: As we mentioned in the series introduction and the industry restructuring post, mergers and acquisitions are occurring in the technology space now more than ever. Companies are attempting to create a dominant presence in order to differentiate themselves in the market. Thus, it may be important to adjust your overall strategy when it comes to your products and services. You can do this by changing the value propositions to focus on outcomes, move from product to industry/functional solutions and integrate new offerings, and form new alliances and adapt to new business models.
- Go-to-market-oriented implications: Given the shift in technology decision makers and changes in buying behavior, customers are not acquired in the same manner as before. With this in mind, high-tech companies might consider migrating to new pricing models , such as subscription sales and services, building a partner ecosystem to capitalize on the evolving role of the channel, or focusing on customer engagement to retain current clients and acquire referrals.
- Operational implications: These are more execution-oriented and focus on what’s required to move beyond products and services to position your offerings as overall solutions. This emphasis on value propositions based on outcomes may be a reason why customers are meeting with sales representatives much later in the decision-making process, along with the fact that most of the product information that they need is right at their fingertips. In order to execute your new and improved go-to-market strategy, you should “upskill” sales and marketing talent with a focus on key accounts and team selling, drive greater focus on digital and inbound marketing, and develop analytics that leverage data to better target customers.
Given the rapidly changing nature of the technology industry, it’s increasingly important for old and new companies to adapt in order to succeed. The recommendations outlined above are our ideas for how to improve your team, helping it score runs, improve capabilities and, ultimately, increase your likelihood to compete effectively and win. For the Cubs, we’ll know in a week or so if they end up winning it all. What’s the outlook for your team?