Best Sales Company Ever


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There are many great sales organizations. In fact, several leading publications rank them each year, such as Selling Power Magazine’s annual list of Best Companies to Sell For Now.

The best sales company ever, in my humble opinion, was US Robotics. US Robotics was a little company out of Chicago that grew to a point that 3COM Corporation acquired USR for over six billion dollars.

But that’s not what made them the best sales company ever. For that, let me share a story with you about my first day on the job. Upon relocating my family back to California, our daughter was sixteen months old and our son was due any week. My family safe at the in-laws while we found our next home, I was boarding a plane to Chicago to start my new job. I was National Manager Business Development, responsible for the western half of the United States for their systems integration business. My counterpart on the east, was Mike Ditka Jr., the senior Ditka’s third son. Having grown up in Pittsburgh, which is where the senior Mike Ditka hailed from, we had much in common. But back to the story.

I was boarding a plane out of Burbank; Bob Hope airport board’s outside and is a quaint airport that many hollywood types would use regularly. I grabbed a copy of TIME Magazine and noticed that there was a half page article on the CEO of US Robotics, Casey Cowell.

I nestled into my seat and my chest filled with pride as I began to read about my new boss. In essence, the article said two things about life at US Robotics: 1) We only work half days; there’s 24 hours in a day and we’re only going to work half of it. That was a little interesting as a new employee, but the second point of emphasis was more dire. 2) Management says to employees: “Well, if you can’t make it in on Saturday, then don’t bother coming back on Sunday!” Ouch, that one stung a little bit. Especially considering that I just moved my family back across-country and my wife is going to need help with the kids.

The articles ended up being a bit sensational, as was the incredible focus the company had on the customer. That wasn’t the first time I was exposed to customer intimacy as a sales strategy but this was clearly a company that was customer-focused. US Robotics enjoyed dominant marketshare and they’d bend over backwards to get another quarter point. More important than that aspiration, they were ultra focused on the customer.

If you didn’t have expenses on any particular day, you weren’t maximizing mind share to the level that you could be. In 1997, I had 193 flights. We were constantly in front of the customer… and it was pure joy. It is said that happiness is about making progress toward a worthy goal, and I believe it’s true. We were in tune with our objectives and sales management took an aggressive stance toward arming the teams with everything we needed to be successful.

Standing on the gas pedal can be great fun. US Robotics wasn’t a perfect company but the sales organization certainly drove hard to get good results. 3COM acquired US Robotics and within a few years we began to joke that 3COM had become 2COM, as Cisco became the market king. 3COM didn’t have anywhere near the level of customer focus of US Robotics.

When you are ultra focused on the customer, everything becomes more clear. It’s just like having strong values; decisions become easy because you are constantly acting in alignment with your values. Or, in the case of customer intimacy, in alignment with the needs of your market place.

There are many great sales organizations and most of them invest in their teams. Is your focus on the customer? Empowered Sales offers custom programs for sales success and just about everything we do falls under the header of Customer Intimacy, for we feel there is no better sales strategy.

Empowered Sales leverages deep personal experience, gems from industry icons, classic sales methodologies and innovative practices to empower sales success. Our custom programs are designed specifically for your business model and selling cycles, which translates into immediate improvement and lasting change.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kevin Graham
Kevin Graham is an author, speaker and expert on empowerment, sales and leadership. As managing director of Empowered Sales Training, Kevin works with organizations to empower sales success. Formerly, Kevin was a top performing sales executive in the ultra competitive technology sector. He's qualified for President's Club status in three Fortune 500 companies, carried the Olympic Torch and played in a national championship.


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