We all agree that the Information Technology industry is constantly evolving, and it will only continue to be so. The paradigm of the linear process doesn't apply to this industry, and its fluid nature is what defines the requirement for constant review of how to conduct our business.
As a salesperson, I have first-hand experience of how this specific function has grown. I remember back in the days when my managers used to give me the script. All we had to do was read it through when we had listening customers. And if the customer asks any technical questions our standard answer was " I will bring my technical team on another call, and they will answer these questions". What was even more surprising was it was accepted as a viable answer, and sales individuals like me thought this would never change but hey it did change. And I believe it has changed for the better.
In recent days, these answers are just unacceptable, and there is a constant push for the salespeople to be more technical and drive the technical conversation with the client. We are not only required to understand the problem statement but also navigate in terms of what solution might fit that specific customer. Salespeople are often in charge of scrum teams or work as a liaison between the customer and development team. TAs a result, the sales team needs to be knowledgeable about the product or service. In addition, they should keep themselves up to date on the latest technology trends and news.
Similarly, the Delivery function was not involved in the selling aspect. Instead, we cleverly invented a separate team called presales. This team could solve our problems of addressing technical questions/queries at the beginning of our relationship with a customer. While this does wonders and helps the sales team by reducing the need for technical support. The business doesn't end there.
You have the customer on-boarded, the relationship has started and you have delivered a portion of the solutions to the customer. In my opinion, this is where the customer relationship starts to mature, and I strongly believe that this is where selling happens at ease. However, most delivery teams fail to capitalize on this point. You have the trust of the customer and you work with these guys day in and day out. At this point, if you don't have the trust of the customer, we are doing something wrong, and trust can only be built on transparency and commitment.
When you have trust, selling happens without your involvement. It takes us as salespeople days, months, if not years to build this trust, but delivery teams have this right at their disposal. It's about how we use this to make the customer listen more, and how we can articulate our capabilities to solve a problem.
Many delivery teams are growing their existing accounts exponentially and giving salespeople a run for their money. The contribution of the delivery team to sales is immense for example running webinars, talking shop at events, and direct up-selling to their customers.
Likewise, the sales functions have evolved to take up consultative and technical selling, and their inputs on customer behavior have done wonders for the relationship between delivery and customers. Essentially, this describes a new era where sales and delivery work closely together. It will be interesting to see how this evolves in the future.
Charles Prabhu is a Customer Success Manager at Chimera Technologies. His hobbies are photography, traveling, and blogging.