By all indications, the global economy is on the upswing, and the insurance sector, particularly health insurance, is one of the industries leading the recovery charge. But “recovery” doesn't mean the insurance industry’s technology buying behavior will be returning to the pre-crisis days. Instead of focusing on product features, insurers are now focused on achieving business outcomes, like growing customer wallet share and capturing emerging customer segments, such as Gen Y’s. This shift has big implications for insurance execs, business lines, IT, procurement, and of course the technology vendors who love them.

Forrester recently surveyed IT and business leaders in 166 mid- to large-sized enterprises in North America and asked them what they wanted to hear from their technology sales reps. Half of the respondents pleaded to have the focus on their company’s business challenges; 5% said they wanted to hear about vendor solutions, and--reflecting the fact that almost all tech has a business impact--the remainder wanted the conversation to address both. But when it came to the content of the vendor pitch, more than three-fourths of the respondents told us that meeting content was no more than a recitation of product features—stuff that a prospect could learn from a data sheet or a vendor Web site. How did vendors perform when it came to addressing the challenges of both IT and business stakeholders? Not so hot: Only 5% said a typical sales meeting offered this kind of content.

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