Remember that kid back in grade school who used to bully and extort other kids to get their lunch money or favorite treats? It seems that in technology sales, the same juvenile antics are being played out again amongst educated, highly trained, generally confident adults who happen to be in sales roles. Are reps willing to fight for their deals? I was recently doing an audit for a sales executive who wanted to know “Why are so many of our qualified opportunities mysteriously stalling or evaporating from our sales pipeline and revenue forecast?”
Over the next few weeks I quietly uncovered the issue: While all the sales reps knew their products and even their competition quite well, they had unknowingly or unconsciously allowed themselves to be subtly lulled into complacency or bullied and intimidated by: their prospects flawed buying processes, a competitors new marketing campaign or product release, or the unethical antics of their competitors. Why? Some weren’t trained to take action to aggressively respond to potential deal-breakers. Others were hiding behind their computer monitors – as there’s very little emotional investment made in virtual interactions. Others were unnerved by negative innuendo, feared future non- buying threats and reprisals, and almost all avoided difficult or potentially contentious conversations for fear of rejection. (I know what you’re thinking: “Fear of rejection as an issue for a sales rep?”) Yup, especially when sales people aren’t hired by executives with sales experience but that’s a separate issue.
Fast forward in time: We’re no longer in the 4th grade and if there’s ever a time to fight for a deal and your business… it’s now. “Show & Tell” sales processes and activities have their place, but on occasion a sales rep is going to encounter a bully. While nobody’s lunch money is on the line anymore, your company’s capitol investments and the future employment status of you and your colleagues could take a hit. Look at it this way: Someone is taking the down-payment and mortgage money for your dream home right out of your bank account because a rep chose to not to fight; Someone is attempting take away the choices as to where you vacation, where your kids go to school, what you can afford to drive, the quality of your retirement… and more.
So, now that you know…what are you going to do about it?