The technology sector is extremely competitive. For decades, the key to success was technological innovation. You can look at all the big players and they all became success with a category creating product that redefined what customers could with tech.
Innovation is no longer the safest path to a market advantage
But that innovation is becoming harder and harder to make happen. Of course, there are exceptions but now we see most innovation happening around an existing category product – such as the shift in storage from hard drives to flash.
Not only is innovation harder, but the advantage of that innovation doesn’t last nearly as long. Again, let’s look at the storage market. The pioneers of flash had an interesting year. Many were acquired but old guard disk storage companies that gobbled them up for their technology. Others have seen their valuation shrink by as much as 50% as they are now viewed by the market as less than strong player.
So, what changed. We’ve seen a fundamental shift in what creates a sustained advantage in the market. Today it is how you go to market that makes the difference.
Your go-to-market strategy is crucial
Let’s look at why. It’s all about resources. The big player in tech have the deep pockets to always win in a prolonged pricing war. They can outspend smaller companies and provide richer incentives to be more attractive to established partners. They have resources to overwhelm the marketplace with strong messages, FUD and blanketed content. They have established business process that give them scale and efficiency.
This linked to fact that they can often buy small upstarts to acquire products that are close in parity to the market innovators. And when that doesn’t happen, they can turn their R&D resources to build a competing technology often quicker than it takes the innovator to build and staff a robust go-to-market engine.
What does all of this mean?
Of course, you should continue to innovate. Being a technology innovator will always give you a product advantage. But you need to recognize THE sustainable multiplier for that advantage is your go-to-market efficacy.
Companies that can marshal their direct sellers and their partners in a low-conflict, well executed manner supported by powerful marketing win. And now we are seeing them win almost every time.
Make four areas of investment
You need to invest in your direct sales force. Concentrate them on your most strategic accounts. Give them an incentive to work with partners and allied technology partners. Manage your costs per order dollar to focus what is your most expensive sellers on customers that are strategic and generate the necessary returns.
Scale your sales and support footprint through partners. Partners often have established trusted relationships with customers, the ability to multiply your number of active sellers, and the capabilities to provide customized onsite support many vendors just can’t offer by themselves.
Ensure your marketing has connected communications and messaging at its heart. It’s a little cliché, but keep all the wood behind the arrow. Too often your sales, marketing, and product resources can’t agree on the marketing message. At best, this creates confusion with customers. At worst, it is a negative that turns away customers.
Lastly keep your business operations processes relevant and execute with rigor. Spend money wisely. Outsource to free bandwidth from tactical execution to strategic focus. Makes plans and measure progress. Today, you can have visibility across almost every transaction, every customer and every partner. Use that information to reduce costs and increase impact.
Leverage help where it makes sense
At The Spur Group, we’ve been helping our customers exceed their revenue acceleration goals for nearly 15 years. We have a unique set of experiences, proprietary IP and an exceptional approach that keeps you and your team the heroes.
Richard Flynn is a recognized leader in channels and go-to-market business strategy and execution. A Founding Partner and Chief Marketing Officer for The Spur Group, Richard has over 25 years of go-to-market experience in sales transformation, channel management, and customer marketing.