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IDC’s recipe for selling IT in 2009 6 February, 2009

Posted by Jay Ball in Uncategorized.
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IDC has made a new report available on Slideshare: Selling in 2009: 10 Ways to find, Win and Keep the Money (embedded below). It takes a long hard look at the year ahead and what it means for IT companies wanting to survive and thrive in the year ahead. It is predominantly US-based but many of the recommendations are just as valid in Europe (though the timing may be out by six months or so).

While it gives a slightly mixed picture of just what tech companies are up against, there are some clear take-outs for sales and marketing people. It makes some pretty plausible, pretty harsh predictions, including:

  1. Selling strategies that worked last year will not work in 2009
  2. Companies that significantly reduce their sales and marketing investments in 2009 will be gone by mid 2010
  3. Companies that blame their lack of selling on the economy will also fail by mid 2010
  4. Sales organisations will be asked to do more with less (no news there)
  5. Companies that shift headcount to inside sales will provide similar levels of customer touch at lower cost…and driver higher customer satisfaction
  6. Sales organisations that bolster dedicated investments in lead quality and demand generation will be rewarded with significantly higher sales productivity

There’s more in the report but that gives a fair indication.

It’s interesting that over 60% of respondents feel as confident or more confident about the prospects for sales in the next six months versus the last six months. IDC themselves project revenues on the whole as either staying flat or increasing moderately (although the more commodity end of the hardware market doesn’t look so pretty).

The scariest thing in there for me is the continuing lack of alignment between marketing and sales. On hardly any measure did respondents rate their alignment at over 50%. Fortunately, the one area that rated (slightly) over the midway mark is demand generation as this will be a critical factor in the coming year or two.

At Banner, we’ve seen the rapid change of focus into demand generation activities in the last six months. Our timely partnership with Eloqua has certainly paid off as has the succession of people we’ve sent on training as we’ve recently seen a shift into multiple projects involving content creation, sales enablement, demand generation and lead nuture.

While these could simply be a sign of the times, I personally believe that these kinds of programmes will form the bedrock for the majority of technology companies’ activities for some considerable time to come. And while this may be driven by necesity right now, in the long term it could pay huge dividends for technology companies that get it right.

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