Written by Peter Cosgrove
When most people think of sales they often associate it with negative connotations – images of Del Trotter from Only Fools and Horses or a dodgy used car salesman spring to mind. However, many more of us are in sales than we might think and it is a more important skill today in the job market than ever before. Whether we are selling an idea to our boss, selling the benefit of eating vegetables to our kids or selling the importance of watching a vital football match to our partner, we sell much more than we think.
In the past, the IT department would have been perceived as little more than a support service to an organisation. The very concept of a technology helpdesk would often conjure up notions of someone coming to fix your computer or a hoard of technicians domiciled in the basement, looking after the LAN or WAN, or some other jargon-based concept you don’t understand. Things have changed considerably. With IT staff more integrated into the business nowadays, the sales element has become a vital function of their operations.
CEOs surveyed around their technology function are highlighting that they want their head of technology to be more than a technical, “get it done” director – they want someone who is commercial, who is opinionated and who can sell ideas to the Board. There is a view from the CEO that the next ‘game changer’ in their business will be a technology-based one. Only yesterday we heard of 17-year-old Nick D’Aloisio selling his Summly app for $30 million. This is the area where a business can make the biggest shift, the question is – How?
Within Cpl, technology functions at all levels, we are seeing the need for technology staff who are a central and integral part of the business. It is clear that business people are moving more towards technology with iPads, mobile devices etc., and they want to work more with technology and see how it can help. For example, learning to apply the intuitive nature and simplicity of consumer-grade technology products into the business is a challenge that tech gurus and CTOs can resolve, in time.
This can only happen if the technologists see themselves as part of the business and not just part of IT. Our own IT Director said that if someone in IT is not working for a tech company - when asked where they work - do they say the company they work for or that they work in IT? It appears that many IT professionals still define themselves by their job and not the company they work in. However, in order to get ahead they are going to need to know the business drivers, because it is technology that is going to be the game changer and we need the technologists help! Your next idea could be worth millions.