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Selling Technically Complex Products

Customers
Collaboration
Coaching / Training / Mentorship

2 November, 2021

Bruno Lichot
Bruno Lichot

20+yrs Product Management | Digital Transformation | Product Evangelism | Software Development Lifecycle | Collaboration & Empowerment | Helping Enterprises to Create a Customer-Centric Product at PexaPark

Bruno Lichot, Chief Product Officer at :hiperstream, shares how he enabled a sales team to sell a technical product by empathizing with their struggles.

Problem

At a previous company, I had the opportunity to lead the product team in a specific market. At that time, most contracts and sales cycles started within the call center. The call center team was not technical, and it was easier for them to sell other products over mine. The challenge was to get in their business space and allow them to market my product and, in turn, make money. My product, while technical, was more expensive, and the call center would have to sell fewer products to profit more. The strategy was to understand their struggle to provide information about my product and help them overcome this challenge.

Actions taken

For three years, I spent one day a week in the call center in the account management team. My goals were to understand their struggles and create technical shortcuts such as factsheets that shared information about the product. The sales team did not need a comprehensive understanding of these devops tools but a base knowledge where they could connect to the customer. I made sure that I was available to take and jump on calls, explaining the product and boosting their confidence.

I would bring gifts such as chocolate, for those who performed well, asking a beneficial question or stepping outside their comfort zone. By doing this, I was creating a connection that I understood it was hard to sell technical products, but I respected their efforts. I found that when I was there, the account management team would engage in more conversations with partners and customers because of my support.

The sales team struggled to manage a huge number of customers with a huge number of interests and unique values. Our sales team sold other products that were easier but cheaper to sell than DevOps tools. When I began interacting with the sales team, they realized that my product was of higher value, meaning they could sell less but profit more.

Our revenue skyrocketed from 2.5 million dollars the first year I was present to 9.6 million during the third year. By taking this human approach, and spending more time with my team's struggles, we tripled our revenue stream without hiring any new members. Empathizing with their struggles, providing them with tools to overcome these, and joining them during their day-to-day business increased their confidence and allowed them to sell more of my product.

Lessons learned

  • Empathize with your sales team and make visible efforts to understand their struggles. As a product manager, you know your product technically, something that not everybody can do. The human connection will grow by improving your sales team apprehension, and your sales team will feel more motivated to sell your product.
  • You have to pitch your product to a sales team for them to sell it. Tell them why they should sell it, what the benefits are, and how it will affect them. In this example, my product was a higher value than other products meaning the team had to sell less to earn more.

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