Market areas

Every ICT client we’ve worked with has posed their own unique challenges. By innovating and evolving our services we’ve answered every question asked of us, and helped our clients excel in their ever-changing environments.

IT Services

The trend to an evolving and expanding range of services being offered is continuing as IT service firms seek ways to increase the amount of high-margin professional services they also bundle into each transaction. One eternal challenge, especially in Outsourcing, is in building value for these intangible yet high-value services and Huthwaite has the proven methodologies to help create and present compelling value propositions.

Most of the top global IT Services firms offer a vast list of services all under one roof and 3rd party offerings can be quickly added to their portfolio as new and exciting technologies emerge. It’s quite feasible now to be able to procure a total IT solution including, for example, BIM, BPO, e-commerce, storage, desk tops, virtualisation, security and software applications all under one roof. A big challenge for sales organisations here is in continually expanding their seller’s comfort zone to be able to act as an expert, or trusted adviser as some commentators prefer, for such a broad portfolio.

Another significant issue for the sector is the genuine choice that CIO’s now have when it comes to providing IT services. SaaS, IaaS, PaaS etc are all possible via the Cloud and so too is the legitimacy of a pay-as-you-go model. This new ‘rent or buy’ decision is now a genuine choice.

These total solution and opex opportunities bring with them their own challenges. Demonstrating superior technical knowledge is no longer as persuasive as it used to be as the client’s decision-makers are increasingly made up of other stakeholders with non-technical interests. Most notably, the rise of procurement in IT service bids is an inevitable consequence of organisations seeking to cut costs in their supply chain. Sellers must now also focus on the specific needs of professional buyers, quantify their value and use strong economic arguments for the additional PS they claim will be necessary to effect a smooth implementation.

Being successful in this new buying revolution needs sellers to possess the higher-level skills and insight to be able to develop compelling businesses cases and solutions that deliver real value. As IT Service firms seek competitive advantage they should explore these questions:

  • Does every seller understand what is needed to meet this new selling scenario?
  • Can they effectively and persuasively articulate the unique value of their service offering?
  • How well do sellers identify key decision guidelines and match them to your differentiators?
  • Are sellers effective when it comes to navigating and influencing a wide range of stakeholders including the new, unfamiliar procurement structures?

How Huthwaite International can help your business

We have a formidable track record in helping clients bring about lasting changes in behaviour that produce measureable results, and we’ve been working for over thirty years to deliver skills training across most of the world’s biggest IT Services firms.

We always work with our clients to develop solutions to their needs, and this focuses on the skills and strategies needed to help them help their own customers to achieve their objectives. Most frequently these have been in the area of SPIN® consultative selling, Account Strategy for Major Sales and Winning with Procurement.

Enterprise Vendors

An enterprise vendor bid is typically long, complex, high-value and often high-profile too. Significant unrecoverable costs can also be incurred throughout the sales cycle where bid teams must be internally robust yet externally active and engaging with a wide range of client stakeholders. We work with our clients to identify the critical phase or phases that must be improved and create the corporate wide competence necessary to improve win rates.

There is no such thing as a typical enterprise vendor or systems integrator but they will share a sales environment that is complex yet paradoxically also predictable. For example, product lifecycles are long and relationships with key customers already exist. Additionally, their markets are also relatively stable and barriers to entry are understandably high when supplying own branded hardware.

This long-established and stable sector sees few mergers and acquisitions and changes in strategic direction are rare. The corresponding buying/selling environment therefore presents significant challenges to the enterprise vendor. To meet these they typically create multi-disciplined bid teams comprising Account Directors, Industry Consultants, Solution Architects and an Engagement or Delivery Practice. Carefully orchestrating the efforts of these very different yet complimentary roles is key.

Successful bid teams will engage in a whole variety of in-depth activities. Some of these must satisfy internally focused sales processes such as bid/no bid decisions and approving final written price proposals. Others are based on interactions directly with the client and their buying process such as sales presentations and the negotiation.

Negotiating deals that are genuinely implementable is essential if these big brands are to protect margins. This can only be achieved if every variable is considered and a plan created which is then executed with skill.

How Huthwaite International can help your business

The value of multi-disciplinary teams having a shared framework, vocabulary and skill set is vital if they are to identify, clarify and grow the specific needs that can only be met with their differentiators. Additionally, negotiating enterprise deals should not be left to just the enlightened few but instead become a corporate wide competence. We have extensive experience of delivering these outcomes for our clients by not just delivering training but also through reinforcement activities and real-deal coaching.


This highly entrepreneurial sector thrives on creating and bringing new and ingenious software applications to market. In spite of patent law, substitute versions are always emerging so Sales & Marketing operations must rapidly align if they are to capitalise fully and gain valuable market share. We provide the robust, flexible and repeatable skills needed to help organisations build value for their new propositions.

Today’s software has the capacity to bring increasingly new levels of power, speed and efficiency to a seemingly infinite number of business tasks and the same is true of our personal lives too. The appeal of only the most intuitive and elegant software solutions is driving user expectations ever higher such that free upgrades, regular bug-free releases, SaaS variants, mobile-friendly versions and free trials are the norm. Buyers too have shifted from a technical to a more business focus when evaluating competing alternatives and their buying criteria centre on what an application can achieve rather than how it works.

Software vendors must meet these separate buyer and consumer expectations by rapidly turning marketplace insight and consumer feedback into attractive and commercially viable offerings. It is all too easy for vendors to devise some new functionality to fill a perceived gap in the market without the proverbial market in the gap. There will of course always be the occasional software creation that is so compelling that we couldn’t possibly have realised how much we needed it until it arrived but a closed R&D, Marketing and Sales loop will remain vital to a sustainable software business.

Looking more closely at typical sales strategies reveals strong use of subscription-based models, channel partners and telesales/inside sales teams being responsible for closing increasingly bigger deal sizes. At an individual level, product knowledge is typically first rate but this strength can be double-edged as there is also a propensity to focus unhelpfully on an application’s features and characteristics. Successful software sales will come from those who excel at discovering, defining and refining their customer’s business needs with an ability to match these to their offerings.

How Huthwaite International can help your business

We help software vendors ranging from boutique ISV’s to global platform vendors succeed in this environment by equipping their marketing and sales functions with a common set of tools and vocabulary in order to consistently communicate business value. Additionally, we work with sales, telesales, pre-sales and service teams by providing them with the processes, skills and tools needed to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Telecoms Equipment & Operators

Consumer and corporate appetite for telecommunication products and services presents an exciting challenge for the infrastructure vendors, Operators and other players within this eco-system. With 4G emerging more widely, further opportunities will exist to capitalise on the trend for mobile data consumption. We work with our clients to establish the world class sales and opportunity management skills needed to win deals in this highly competitive market.

It is predicted that mobile devices will outnumber humans in 2012 so whether you’re an upstream network provider or a downstream operator, the telecoms space is ripe with opportunity. However, the context for today’s telecom firms is hyper-competitive and new killer patented inventions can take away hard fought market share. Therefore, rapidly reacting to new market opportunities and consumer trends is essential.

However, the challenge of mobilising a suitably skilled salesforce for new client acquisition is a major undertaking especially if they are to tap into new growth markets. You can only rely so much on brand reputation or loyalty and instead will need to be more proactive and engage prospects earlier in their buying cycle and before they issue RFP’s. During mid-cycle you should focus on differentiation from competitors, known or suspected. Late cycle client concerns need to be handled with tact and you will have to be apply high-level skills to protect margin when negotiating.

Attracting new clients is one thing but service/customer support teams must also work hard to ensure maximum ARPU and avoid churn. Additionally, despite the rhetoric of a ‘one company’ approach, the reality is that sales and service/customer support often work as two siloed departments. Ensuring they are aligned in process but also individually skilled can also bring big gains.

How Huthwaite International can help your business

We have a strong track record of enabling telecom clients to adopt the behaviours, strategies and tactics needed to attract, win and retain clients. Most frequently these have been in the areas of consultative selling, opportunity winning, negotiating and sales-though-service. We achieve permanent change for our clients by also equipping managers with the skills, tools and software to coach and reinforce best practice.

Data & Document Services

The digitally connected universe generates monstrous amounts of data and it is estimated that this now doubles every year. This proliferation and stockpiling of data presents a growing market for storage, back-up, and BI vendors. When combined with the associated security risks, especially those related to the Cloud, it is also commercially attractive. But, as vendors move to capitalise on this opportunity, they find themselves in a marketplace where supply is outstripping demand. Standing out from the crowd with a clearly differentiated offering will set the winners apart.

However, when solution and brand differentiation is narrowing, how you sell becomes just as important as what you sell. Regardless of whether you are closing a single deal or some annuity-based business, using a consultative approach is a proven way of securing new business.

Once acquired, a philosophy of developing rather than just maintaining these client accounts is essential if you are to maximise wallet share. For this, your people will need to use the same consultative and strategic skills used in acquisition but also build broader relationships as clients’ business and technology needs evolve.

How Huthwaite International can help your business

We have a great track record in helping a range of data and also document-based vendors helping them bring about real changes in behaviour that produce measureable results.

Whether you want to maximize your RoI of exhibiting at trade shows, increase your conversion rate of qualified leads or continue to make yourself relevant in existing accounts, we can work with you to develop a tailored solution in the areas of phone-based and face-to-face consultative selling plus Account Strategy for Major Sales.