Master The Art Of Technology Selling With Farhana Haque, Microsoft

Are you in tech sales? Do you want to master the art of technology selling? Or do you want to understand the tech sales better?

If either is the case, this Masters of Sales podcast featuring Farhana Haque is for you. The world of technology is a fast-paced and exciting place. So, tech sales are an important part of a business. And to succeed in it, you need to use the right approach.

But, what’s the right strategy to make tech sales consistently?

Let’s dive in.

This image represents a quote by Farhana Haque that says, "Technology Selling is about building that trusted advisor status where the customer wants and trusts you to solve the problem for them".

Nitin Bajaj, Founder & CEO of EasyLeadz - the B2B contact data provider, invited Farhana Haque on the Masters of Sales platform to make you learn the hidden secrets of technology selling. Currently, she is the Group Director for Devices at Microsoft.

She is a tech sales veteran with two decades of experience in technology selling. Before Microsoft, she worked with Vodafone, Infosys, and IBM. She is a perfectionist who has a "Never Give Up Attitude" to accomplish her personal and professional goals. She does everything possible that helps in meeting the client's unique requirements.

During the podcast, Farhana shared her deep insights about technology selling by bringing its hidden secrets to light. Moreover, these secrets will not only help you in your tech sales but also boost your business development skills.

Role of Farhana At Microsoft

Talking about her day-to-day role at Microsoft, Farhana revealed that she has a fun job. She is responsible for working with all the partners who empower the Edge, or all the OEM partners. Her job is to work with them and see how they can build better solutions for their customers and consumers.

Before moving further, here is a pro tip for you to improve your technology selling:

The image represents a pro tip on technology selling which states that you do not have to be a technology expert to succeed as a technology seller. You just need to be a person who knows how to engage your prospects and close the deal with your clients.

Let's get started.

A Basic Element of Technology Selling

Farhana has been selling technology in the country for the last 12 years. According to her, technology in the way we deal is internally always being critical. For example, through LinkedIn Sales Navigator, entrepreneurs can set the conversations with the right stakeholders. It also helps them to identify connections and build conversations with those connections.

But, before leveraging technology, you must understand the basic foundation of sales. Sales are about relationships. In fact, even technology selling is also about building that trusted advisor status where the customer wants and trusts you to be able to solve the problem for them. It is a bit of consulting, a bit of being an advisor and very little selling.

So, you must have a Sales Navigator to identify who are those connections who can help you to build that trust level.

This image represents a quote by Farhana Haque that says, "If you can't understand the customer's need or explain how you can solve the problem, you may not be able to be a good seller".

Will Hybrid Work Culture Stay Forever?

Speaking about hybrid work culture, Farhana said, it is totally acceptable to have meetings online, hybrid meetings, negotiations and closures. Because the hybrid work culture is going to stay for a longer period. Moreover, it gives you the flexibility to work and grow at your own pace, which is the beauty of it.

A New Microsoft Emerging Out of India

When Farhana was asked, "Will a new Microsoft come out of India?" She responded that why we even need that. As already there are original tech startups in India. For example, Infosys, TCS, Wipro, etc. These companies also started from scratch and now they are ruling the nation.

Do Startups Sell Aggressively?

Putting her thoughts on this, she said, "Everyone has their own culture, when you start small, you have to be known for something. Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) should be a function of what your startup is."

She also added that startups are not aggressive while selling. Actually, when they have a new business model, they just need to work aggressively to build that ecosystem for selling.

Where To Invest 10,000 Dollars?

During the podcast, Nitin asked her if he gives her 10,000 dollars to invest in one startup/industry today, then in which startup she will invest.

To this, she answered, "I would put something in and around sustainability or good living, that cuts across segments, it could be retail, healthcare, or manufacturing. But we owe to our children to make the world a little better. As there is so much carbon emission happening, so I think if we could support all of those companies working in that space to make the world greener. I would like to invest in that."

This image represents a quote by Farhana Haque that says, "Career is not a Sprint, it's a Marathon, it has ups and downs, pauses and sprints".

What Aspect of Selling Works In One Sector But Not In Other?

Technology selling is always about business selling. According to Farhana, the one foundation stone of selling that always works in every sector is to understand that there is no one size fits all. Even in the same sector, companies operate separately.

For Farhana, selling is not about numbers, driving revenue and pushing things. The basic 1:1 sale tip for any seller is to give respect to your customers and you can give respect to them by understanding their industry or organization.

Moreover, as a salesperson, it is his/her duty to show respect to the organization (customer's organization) by understanding what they keep their priorities. Customers always come first. In sales, you cannot push your story, it is about understanding what your customers need and how you can help them.

Does Partner Marketing Work For StartUps?

Enlightening her views on building a partner marketing channel for startups, Ms Haque stated that it is really important to have the right partners. When you are setting up a partner ecosystem, keep these points in your mind:

  • Understand who are the partners or which are the channels more relevant for you (who are you selling to)
  • Identify which is the best channel that routes to market for you
  • Then identify who are the best people in that channel who can help you communicate in this vision
  • Start with less partners like 1 partner or 2 partners
  • Focus your entire energy on enabling your partners to be successful in their jobs

One of the biggest pitfalls is that startups have so many partners so they are not able to enable them correctly. But, if they have 1 or 2 partners in different channels, then they can scale depending on their business model.

Is Partner Marketing Useful For Product-based Business Or Service-based Business?

According to Farhana, when you are selling a service, you will always have much stronger people, but that does not mean you can avoid partner marketing. You still have to do partner marketing, but the flavours and programs will be very different. There is always a balance in the sales cycle, whether it's a product-based business or service-based business.

This image represents a quote by Farhana Haque that says, "Don't throw people into the problem. Throwing them into the problem never solves the problem".

Farhana's Secrets Behind Acquiring Customers

There are two things that Farhana followed religiously during her 20 years of experience in technology selling.

  1. Be yourself:- Be authentic or honest. If you know something, you know and if don't know, you don't. If you are true to yourself, your job, and your company, you will do really well.
  2. Always be open to learning:- The only way to evolve is to learn and to learn you do not need to change your job.

Tools That Make Life Easier While Selling

Apart from LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales and LinkedIn Premium membership are some mandatory tools to have especially while selling. These tools help you reach millions of professionals and identify the quality prospects for your business.

Hope this helps you out in your journey of technology selling. To learn more useful insights for driving sales in various sectors, stay tuned to EasyLeadz.

Watch the entire video to find the hidden secrets behind technology selling.