5 Ways Startups Can Help Time-Tested, Traditional Industries Evolve

5 Ways Startups Can Help Time-Tested, Traditional Industries Evolve

Businesses trying to sell that disruptive technology to traditional industries might need to adjust, if not overhaul entirely, their sales tactics. Leaders of established industries aren't afraid of the technology, but rather about what it will do to their business. Ask about the business. Take the time to understand a traditional industry's needs before you pitch your solution. Taking the time to get to know your potential customers doesn't just help you make the sale. It also helps you understand how the industry is changing and identify new ways to target other prospects. Just take the time to get to know your customers. They helped me break into the industry and find a partner who introduced my company to many of its own customers. By working with this advocate, I was able to build our credibility before giving the first pitch. That's why, no matter how flashy or impressive your presentation may be, leaders won't care if they feel that you don't "get" their needs.

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Disrupting a deep-rooted industry like mining requires adjusting your sales tactics and listening really, really well.

5 Ways Startups Can Help Time-Tested, Traditional Industries Evolve

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Because well-established industries have been around for a long time, they generaly have tried-and-true methodologies that yield proven results. Mining, for example, is such a time-tested industry; and it’s been around as long as recorded history. So, why mess with something that isn’t broken?

In fact, an industry’s willingness to adapt to new technology makes a difference. A recent study by Accenture discovered that going digital has helped improve mining operations by up to 47 percent, cutting costs and speeding up decision-making. These positive results from embracing tech have led 82 percent of mining executives to seek new digital solutions to achieve their business objectives.

Related: Want to Know What Your Customers Really Think? Try Working Side by Side With Them to Solve Problems.

So, what’s the reason for holdups in implementing change? Most business owners are more than willing to discuss adopting new technologies, but they’re reluctant to hit “go” on a project until they can be sure of its worth. Wise business owners want to make sure changes won’t break their established infrastructure and that the pain of managing those changes deserves their time and energy.

For these resasons, the biggest obstacles to true disruption in traditional industries are changing the mindset of the people in them and convincing business owners to accept the value of the new product or service. Once they do greenlight something new, those leaders must then convince employees that the change is a good thing, particularly when what’s involved is disruptive technology that could radically change or even eliminate positions.

Businesses trying to sell that disruptive technology to traditional industries might need to adjust, if not overhaul entirely, their sales tactics.

The need to listen and learn when you’re selling emerging technology

To sell is to educate, but before you can teach people how you can help them, you must actively listen to their problems.

In historic industries, it’s not a lack of technology preventing disruption — it’s fear of the unknown. Fear that employees won’t be on board. Business owners not only have to worry about how to overhaul their equipment, but how to get their employees on board with the changes. Leaders of established industries aren’t afraid of the technology, but rather about what it will do to their business.

Five ways to ease any potential misgivings of heavy-industry business leaders

1. Don’t try to be the expert in the industry; be the expert in your field. You can’t walk up to these owners and start talking about the wonders of your product. You’re the least knowledgeable person in the room in terms of understanding his or her industry.

So, recognize that fact and use it to your advantage. Get to know leaders’ pain points….

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