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SELL THE DIFFERENCE: Establishing your Unique Solution Value

Gartner: Enterprise CRM "no longer a priority" for CIOs

Posted by Bob Apollo on Fri 22-Jan-2010

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GartnerGartner have just revealed the results of their annual survey of CIO priorities.  It makes fascinating reading when compared to last year’s report.  IT spending for the coming year will increase by an average of 1.3% - but that is compared to a dramatic decline of 8.1% in 2009.  2010 IT budgets are back to the levels of 2005 – half a decade’s growth in budget has been wiped out.

From managing resources to managing results...

According to Mark McDonald, Gartner Group VP and head of research for Gartner Executive programs, the role of IT is changing from merely managing resources to taking responsibility for managing results, while the technology focus is shifting from heavy owner-operated solutions to “lighter weight” hosted services.

Business process improvement remains the #1 business priority, followed by reducing costs and improving workforce effectiveness (promoted from last year’s #4 to #3).  But the real change in priorities comes on the technology side.  Last year, enterprise CRM was the #2 technology priority.  In 2010, it does not even make the top 10.

Reshaping the role of IT...

Gartner anticipates that CIOs will change their focus from driving cost-based efficiencies to achieving productivity gains, using collaborative and innovative solutions that leverage services-based and social media technologies, including virtualisation, cloud computing and web 2.0.  They see them providing the platform for information and process-intensive solutions that will ultimately reshape the role of IT.

Salesforce.com is one of the more obvious beneficiaries of this change - but there are many others.  I suspect that few of us are going to bemoan the passing of traditional “big iron” IT projects that inevitably cost too much, take too long and deliver too little.  But what benefits might a more agile, adaptable IT infrastructure bring – and what do we need to do to position ourselves to exploit the potential for improving sales and marketing performance?

From automation to enablement...

I suggest that a great deal of the answer lies in what processes we choose to IT-enable.  We need to stop thinking about automating often badly-aligned “sales” and “marketing” processes and seize the opportunity to facilitate our prospect’s buying processes and embrace the dramatic changes that the net and web 2.0 have already made to buyer behaviour.

If we are to take advantage, we’re going to have to do better at connecting with our most valuable prospects and customers, identifying their most pressing problems and understanding how and why they choose to buy.  If we can leverage the dramatic change in technology to change how we think about the role of sales and marketing, we’ll create the scope for achieving dramatic gains.

But if all we do is to apply this wave of innovative technology to traditional approaches to the sales and marketing process, we’ll probably still end up spending less money, but on doing the wrong things...

Topics: B2B Marketing, Sales Enablement, Thought Leaders, Complex Sales