How (Why) to unseat the incumbent vendor

A clear message for the last ten years is that selling is all about relationship. Relationships built and strengthened over time, makes it easier to pursue new business with existing customers. You know how to hit their “hot buttons” than that of a net new customer (especially if their gatekeepers are doing a damn good job). This often accounts for the bulk of new business. Cold-call prospects are likely to be entrenched already, and you have to unseat the incumbent — your competition. In addition, enterprise is hiring more and more gatekeepers to keep up with the recessionary trend. It is increasingly difficult to reach out to the executive level and make inroads.

Then why does broad marketing attempts try to replicate the relationship approach to the prospects where you have no relationship, instead of approaching them in other ways?

Here is a compelling need to unseat the incumbent vendor that’s often not easy.

But there are always customers that don’t have a regular incumbent. So make the channel partners focus on the long tail. Not just the top visible ten percent that are on top of every competitor’s mind. The ones that advertise loudly on every media and so targeted by all. It’s better to lose that ten percent because they will likely get the most competitive of offers that will shrink the enterprise margin wafer thin. Start from the back, Begin with the marginal customer that slinks under the vendor radar. You will likely hit the hot button faster.

Get them to dive deeper with the customer and know their needs. Ensure flow back of customer intelligence from the savviest of channel sales force. Share the findings with the rest of the force and poke their ego by crediting the partner that came up with the nuance. A sense of deficiency (in letting the peer channel partner get up close with the corner office) and underperformance should invigorate the rest into brisk activity.

Shall we call it the immersive approach..? Is that transformational enough…? What do you think…?


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