In what might prove a surprise gift for the channel, Gartner has found that IT vendors get a bigger edge from the route to market used than from the product itself.
Specialist channel research analyst Tiffani Bova (pictured) said in the research giant's latest report on the future of IT sales that true sales success in future will only come from having what she describes as a "fully connected" sales model – one that considers not only the products and services on offer to the customer, but links those factors correctly to a combination of direct and indirect sales activities.
In particular, IT sales need to be redirected to connecting the customer to offerings through the customer's desired purchase experience, she said.
"The existing ways of selling, based on specific segments, high-touch, often face-to-face sales, with a select few channels and heavy investments in lead generation marketing, are beginning to be less effective as people's buying behaviour changes, and the expectations of IT shift," Bova said.
"The key to moving forward is to take a customer-centred approach and adopt sales models that support customers' new buying processes, rather than fight against them."
Gartner's announcement said this meant, in part, that the go-to-market sales models may offer an even "bigger competitive advantage" than the product being sold, and end up influencing the bottom line more powerfully.
And customers are increasingly buying only the way they prefer to buy – meaning that sales are lost if the route to market does not suit the customer.
Bova said that sales models have failed to keep up with technology in recent years. As a result, previously leading vendors were failing to stay on top of their game. They need to move beyond their standard customer segmentations, she added.
"The greatest innovation challenge for providers today may be in finding the means to reinvent the sales organisation and go-to-market model to meet new market demands, while at the same time continuing to protect and defend existing customers and deliver net new revenue," she said.
"Providers that fail to make changes now could find themselves in a worse situation in two to three years, when technology and its buyers have advanced even further."
Bova is giving a webinar on the subject on 13 August.
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