The central truth of selling IT products to enterprises is that procurement behavior is driven by career risk.
CIO’s are agents, not principals. They make IT decisions on behalf of management and employees.
As an employee your prime directive, as Keynes knew so well, is first and last to keep your job. To do this, he explained that you must never, ever be wrong on your own.
To prevent this calamity, CIO’s pay ruthless attention to what other CIO’s in general are doing. The great majority “go with the flow,” either completely or partially. This creates herding, or momentum, and an oligopoly market, ie: SAP and Oracle, which drives prices far above fair price.
To break into the enterprise space (government and corporations) you must remove “career risk” for CIO’s. To do that you need track record. You need proof that other CIO’s have chosen you.
You need to find the rare CIO that will take a risk on something new knowing that it will change the game.
Enterprise sales is not product-first. Its sales-first.
PS: I copy/pasted this entire piece from an article I read on fund management. Fund managers and CIO’s exhibit the same procurement behaviour.
Also published on Medium.