Trusted Advisors of the Buying Funnel

MM: For me, I take this notion of a conversion funnel and call it a “buying funnel for new technology”. Most of the hindering forces to change really come back to fuzzy accountabilities. There isn’t anything that you as a vendor can do about the accountabilities, and therefore, the lack thereof in a buying organization other than to suffer RFIs. These are all endless sales cycles.

BK: Yes. I couldn’t disagree with anything you just said, because that’s the environment. I guess we’re starting to slip away from a technology discussion into a social behavioral discussion. I can only bring this back to my personal world.

MM: Right.

BK: I sell technology with a hope and an assumption that it’s going to improve processes and effectiveness, and make somebody’s life at the company I’m selling it to better. The personal account-ability and responsibility I want to take is constantly educating myself on trends, best practices and impact. And the result of that education and knowledge, I want to bring to the market by saying to my customers, “I’m not just selling you technology that I know has worked for others and I hope works for you,” because I can’t control you changing. Rather, “I would like to sell you technology as the first phase of a process of engagement that is continued consultation and mentoring on implementation and best practice.

MM: Yes. That really defines the role that I might refer to as a “trusted technology advisor.” That really emphasizes facilitating or enabling a new or enhanced operational capability of the firm. So getting people to choose what works almost always comes back to communication, interaction and collaboration that a trusted advisor would hold the context for. It’s about always having the next step clearly identified with some sort of 30- or 45-day plan that is moving you toward that particular step. Does that kind of describe your role, at this point?

BK: Absolutely. That’s a role I love to have. I think the challenge is always that vendors are looked upon as providers—not necessarily consultants or advisors.

MM: I think the vendor that succeeds in moving forward will, in fact, have to become a trusted technology advisor and an enabler of change— and a facilitator of the communication, interaction and collaboration that must occur across functional lines or lines of business within an organization, so as to unlock the value of the technology that they bought.

BK: Agreed.

MM: Fabulous. On that note, I’d like to conclude our session today. Thank you again.

BK: Absolutely, Michael. It’s been my pleasure.

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