Can Sales Turn the Corner and Meet Customer Expectations? Quite a Change Management Challenge


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Will sales be able to switch from proactive to reactive?

A good friend, colleague and long-time client – Joe Lethert, founder of Performark – recently wrote an eye opening piece about the role of sales in the organization, especially in B2B. Joe described how customer use of the Internet is supplanting sales’ prospecting role, which is gradually transforming sales’ role from proactive “hunters” into reactive “information providers.” Customers go find the vendors they want to consider and then ask sales for information. They want (and expect) to bypass the persuasion piece.

The past couple week I’ve been reminded of how far behind the eight-ball sales has fallen. I’ve been prequalifying project management and inventory management technology for two clients, which has put me in contact with countless software vendors. Of course, we all know gambits like “see our web demo” (but first reveal all your info so we can pepper you with sales calls). But one aspect of the process really struck me as anachronistic. “We’re going to assign you a relationship manager.”

That’s bovine waste matter. All it means is “we have a commission plan to protect,” and if no one “owns” you from a commission standpoint, you’ll get scant or not attention. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve wasted playing phone tag with traveling reps I “have” to go through to get information. “Relationship manager?” Not hardly. A true relationship manager would want to get me the information I need as quickly as possible, no matter who gives it to me. But software companies playing this game lose in the end. I downgrade or eliminate them as soon as the game begins.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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