How to Sell Disruptive Technologyby MarketSource
Are You Ready to Bring a Change?
Bringing new consumer electronic products to market is an important part of innovative selling strategies, especially in terms of new tech in the home and office. Get on the opportunity side of disruptive technology by understanding what motivates customers to try new trends.
What Is Disruptive Technology?
“Disruptive technology” (or “disruptive innovations”) denotes a new product that replaces or renders obsolete an older way of doing things. For example, television, in its day, was disruptive to other forms of entertainment. The term disruptive, as used to describe innovations or technology, was coined in 1997 by Clayton Christensen in his book, The Innovator’s Dilemma.
Disruptive innovations are not breakthrough technologies that make good products better; rather, they are innovations that make products and services more accessible and affordable, thereby making them available to a larger population.
How Does Disruptive Technology Impact Retail Sales?
Disruptive technology can be a threat or an opportunity, depending on where you stand in the market and how adept your company is at adopting change. For well-established enterprises, disruptive technology may pose a threat to their status quo. Even if they can see the potential for new consumer electronic products to disrupt their way of doing business, they may not be able to adapt as quickly as necessary.
On the other hand, for startups, selling disruptive technology can be a wide-open opportunity. They may be able to gain market share in areas where customers’ needs are not yet satisfied. They must overcome hurdles of unfamiliarity and customers’ general preferences for doing things the same way they always have. The strategies described here can help retailers clear these hurdles and run in profitable lanes.
How to Sell Disruptive Technology: 6 Tips
- Don’t Shortchange Customer Development
Enterprises often invest a large percentage of their funding into research and development for new tech, and only a small portion remains for bringing the product to market. This is a common but shortsighted misstep. Advertising expert Doug Garrett calls this “whispering in Grand Central Station.” You have brought a great product to market but haven’t prepared to stand out in the crowd.
- Sell the Need for Change
While the sheer cool factor of new consumer electronic products may be exciting to tech nerds, most customers must be motivated to change their lifestyle in order to want to invest in disruptive technology. Otherwise, they will stick with what they’ve always had, keeping their dollars in their pockets.
Marketers don’t make average stuff for average people. Marketers make change. And they do this by normalizing new behavior.
– Seth Godin, as quoted at Selling From the Heart
- Target Those Who Love Change
Early adopters are a disruptive tech seller’s best friend. They are the low-hanging fruit that can help you get your footing in the market. To find early adopters, learn who is buying other forms of disruptive technology in your niche, and gear your advertising towards them.
- Target Those Who Are Looking for Your Solution
Thanks to Google’s algorithms, you can find out who is already searching for the solutions that your product provides. Target Google Ads toward these folks and pay attention to the click rates. Who is following through and investigating your product? Be sure to link to a compelling landing page that speaks to their needs.
- Focus on Significant Financial Outcomes
If your disruptive technology is designed to save money, make sure you’re communicating substantial financial outcomes. In order to be willing to adopt a new way of doing things, the savings need to be seen as dramatic. Babson offers these examples: “Cloud computing can replace a company’s data center at a fraction of the cost; e-books replace printed book inventory and warehousing at a savings approaching 100%.”
- Anticipate Skepticism
Learn what is likely to be most off-putting or threatening to your customers as they consider the change you’re proposing they adopt. Answer their concerns by demonstrating measures the product or service takes to avoid problems. Ideally, you can also alleviate concerns by showcasing early adopters via testimonials—or merely mentioning the adopter’s name if you’ve sold your tech to a large company.
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
– John F. Kennedy
Before someone will buy disruptive tech, they must welcome change—also known as disruption. The more effectively you can sell the concept of change, the more likely it is that potential customers will become committed buyers.