April 17, 2009

Selling - Its time to start singing of the same hymn sheet

Is everybody in your organisation singing of the same hymn sheet when it comes to sales and marketing? Probably not, if the experiences of most companies hold true.

Here are the different viewpoints to be found in most organisations:

1. Manager Viewpoints

We find that managers are concerned about the salesperson who cannot ask for help and proceeds through sales cycles without involving others. But they are also concerned about the sales person who asks for help too early, or too often. The latter is perhaps the most common, with managers complaining ‘he/she wants somebody to go along to almost every meeting to accompany them!’

At the core of the problem is the lack of agreement as to how sales cycles are to be managed - who is involved and when. All this comes under the heading of sales process definition.

2. Technical Department Viewpoints

- Technical people often complain that sales people don’t have sufficient product, or technical grounding.

- Furthermore, the fact that salespeople ‘have not made the effort to learn’ is something that they find difficult to understand.

- Although in some cases the efforts by salespeople’s to learn from their technical colleagues are stymied.

- They also complain about uninformed salespeople over-promising, mis-representing or underselling their solutions.

3. Salesperson Viewpoints

- Sales people often complain that technical is reluctant to adapt to the requirements of customers – Why can’t we have that feature if the customer wants it? Why is it going to take so long?

- They are irked by demos that don’t go smoothly, or by the lack of preparation for customer presentations.

- They want less information to reside in the heads of developers and engineers, and more to be found in documentation and support materials.

- And last but not least, they are concerned with form as well as function and want often want what the customer sees (the interfaces, etc.) to look sexier.

- They often feel at a disadvantage in having to compete for time and resources, believing that a greater priority should be attached to supporting sales opportunities.

- All of this is not helped by the fact that the typical salesperson is less patient than normal.

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