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Industry Soapbox: Identify Your Value Proposition

We asked longtime attendees of NSCA’s Business and Leadership Conference what they would tell colleagues at the show if they got the microphone and a soapbox.

NSCA will bring its Business and Leadership Conference to Tampa, Fla., for the 17th edition of one of the systems integration industry’s most highly regarded gatherings.

The event boasted its highest attendance last year with more than 300 people heading to Dallas for three days of business advice, frank discussions and sharing of information that’s unique to this show, and organizers expect a similar crowd to gather in Florida from Feb. 26-28.

We asked some people who have been to the BLC in the past and will be there for this year’s edition what they’d tell the audience if they got five minutes, an open mic and a soapbox. The results were fun, interesting and instructive. Enjoy!

Jeff Irvin, Principal of Spinitar says…

In a very ‘me too’ world, it’s not just good enough anymore to be a ‘good’ technology manufacturer, integrator or consultant. You’ve got to identify your value proposition and leverage it over and over again with suspects, prospects, and customers.

If you have yet to ID your value proposition, it’s time to do some soul searching and come up with one! Having a true value proposition gives organizations a better chance of remaining relevant in this very competitive world.

It allows you to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack when being considered for work, and allows you to go deeper and wider in to existing relationships allowing you to have a better chance of ‘owning’ a relationship with an existing customer. Any and all messaging should reinforce the value proposition.

Very much along the same lines, being memorable is so key. Many of those charged with selling integrated services did not grow up as professional salespeople. They often are more technically competent than they are sales competent.

So, teaching these technically talented folks to become sales pros is critical. Sales basics like using value words (what to say and how to say it, and what not so say), properly presenting proposals, how we dress (and don’t dress), following agendas when meeting with clients, using a CRM [system] to manage all customer engagement, identifying decision makers, strategic questions needing to be asked to uncover need, etc., are not always natural to the ‘sales engineer.’

Our industry could really use a big dose of professional sales training. Being a real pro is a great way to be memorable to your prospective and existing customers.

A few years ago, we saw that in order to be a ‘big boy company,’ we needed to make sure we had the foundation in place from which to become one. At the time, we were using several software platforms to run our business, none of which talked to the other. There was a terrific amount of inefficiency and waste.

To grow revenues, we had to add staff. There was no mechanism in place to allow for efficient, exponential growth. After a good deal of due diligence, we launched a new ERP (enterprise resource planning) software solution in 2012. Without a doubt, this was and will be the most important initiative this company has or will take during my lifetime.

Now, Spinitar has the internal infrastructure to intelligently grow the company, providing a tool to our team to improve their experience, and the experience of our customer.

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