I’m constantly surprised by how poorly many sales people communicate within their own organizations. Sales people complain, “I’m not getting the information I need to finalize my proposal to the customer,” “My customer isn’t getting the service levels I committed,” “I’m not getting the support I need to do this deal,” and the whining can go on. At the same time, when I talk to people within the organization, I hear, “Our sales people aren’t keeping us informed of what’s going on, we need to know what’s happening to manage our resources properly,” “The sale person just dumps all this work on my desk, I don’t know what they want or what they’ve committed to the customer. They just expect me to handle it.” And likewise, the list can go on. Sometimes, the treatment these internal people get from sales people borders on being rude and abusive.
No sales person, whether a lonely “hunter” or someone “farming” a current customer can do their job by themselves. Every sales person needs support from within their own company, whether it’s pre-sales technical support, whether it is leads or programs from marketing, whether it is support in pricing a proposal, legal review of a contract, support in entering the order, support in customizing or changing the product offering in some way, servicing the customer after the sale. Every sales person is really part of a team, dependent on their support for the sales person to be successful. At the same time, each member of this team needs information and support from the sales person to be able to respond.
Then there are those times, when the sales person needs something special, something needs to be rushed, a call to a specific customer needs to be made, we need to make an exception for a special case. Sales people always have something that needs to be done for them, and they need it yesterday.
The best sales people recognize their success is dependent on the support they get from within their own companies. They carefully build and nurture relationships internally. They over-communicate what’s happening with customers. They are effusive in thanking people for their support–along with buying key people lunch, coffee, or flowers to thank them for special support.
When I first started selling, a mentor gave me a piece of advice I’ve carried with me ever since. He said, “Dave, sometimes you have to sell harder within the company than you do to your customer.”
What are you doing to “sell” within the company? How are you keeping your “team” informed–so they can support you? How are you thanking them for helping make you successful? Are you doing this every day?