It’s no secret that over the past five years I’ve been gamekeeper turned poacher in some people’s eyes, I happen to think it’s still the other way round. However, needless to say, owning your own technology company means you have to sell IT, I wouldn’t say we are the worst, best or otherwise at doing that and I suppose that the vast majority of people come to us word of mouth then it probably says a lot of what I think about sales.
However we have tried to differentiate ourselves based not on any fancy go-to-market strategy, sales funnel or some other nonsense tool, but on my own personal values, feelings and experiences as an IT manager. Ultimately, I need to sleep at night and I’m still frequently plagued by concerns about doing things better and doing the right thing – I will probably never make a good salesman…
- You can dress it up however you like, a salesman (or salesperson) is still a salesman. It’s not a job title, it’s not calling someone a ‘business development manager’ to make it all strategic and removed from what they actually do – they are what they do.
- Salespeople exploit the ‘information gap’ which is the differential between you as the customer not knowing exactly what you want or how much it should cost against how much of the solution they’re selling is going to achieve what you actually need at the cost they’re charging. The less you know, the more profit they can potentially make by not volunteering information that could aid your decision making.
- Talk is cheap. Verbal assurances, talking about strategies, blue skies and everything else can win a deal without costing anything.
- Most salespeople will promise the Earth, and not worry about how to deliver until the deal comes in.
- Most salespeople will disappear when the deal comes in and let the technical teams worry about delivery at the cost they’ve quoted you.
- Most salespeople claim to be ‘proactive relationship managers’ during the sales process, until there’s a problem.
- A lot (not going to say all) of salespeople are liars! They were the kids at school you did not want to hang around because you’d never get them to say anything straight.
- A lot of salespeople claim to be technical, until pushed. I always had fun on this one as an IT manager!
- If you hear someone repeatedly telling you how good they, their company or their product is. Run. Run a mile and don’t worry that you almost bought whatever – it was a bag of nails.
- A salesperson will worry about 1p of commission over upsetting the relationship with you.
So, the one thing I’ve learned about myself?
- I just can’t do any of that. I can’t stand it, I loathe it and I ultimately don’t believe this is right or how things should be done. I would rather not have a business than have to rely on any of that for revenue.
However, I deeply and genuinely feel things can be done differently in the technology world – and better! If you want to try just talking about something in order to evaluate your options without worrying about my ten bad things, then try us!