Nick de Cent, editor of Modern Selling recently asked me if I had any feel for how people are thinking about the economic climate and business prospects looking forward over the next few months. It gave me a chance to step back, reflect, and gather my thoughts.
Here's what I told Nick ... I'd love to hear whether it tallies with what you are seeing and hearing in your own markets:
"According to the messages I hear from the market, it remains tough out there, but some of the projects that have been in limbo since Q4 last year are starting to come back to life. Even in live projects, there remains a big gap between being chosen and getting the order. Many internal champions haven’t yet fully understood how to navigate their pet projects through a financial approvals process that has become much stricter and highly risk-averse. “Deciding to do nothing” remains a common outcome. The vendors that are breaking through have mastered the art of both eliminating the perceived risk of their solution and elevating the negative consequences of doing nothing. Simply exhorting your sales people to “sell harder” is absolutely, definitively, a losing strategy. Instead, they have to focus on eliminating risk and facilitating the prospect’s buying process.
The early adopter market has shrivelled to almost nothing – not because their aren’t still some early adopter individuals out there, but because the companies they work within have become more conservative in approving new projects and new expenditure. So innovative technologies are having to work out how to “cross the chasm” (and talk business, not technology) far earlier in their company’s evolution than was necessary in the past. Start-ups who haven’t mastered this are particularly hard hit, without an installed base or an established service revenue stream to fall back on. But failure is not inevitable – companies that have the discipline to focus on creating genuine customer value (rather than product marketing puffery) are winning business."
What's your perspective? Please share your comments.