Voice of the Customer vs. Voice of the Sales Team
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Five things I love about Sales people

Hello all.  Rob DeRobertis checking in for the Technology Marketing Center

It has been a crazy bunch of months for me on the day job.  A few weeks back I spent a week with the sales team.  We had the typical sales training where the most important part of the training is what happens in the hallways, not the death by PowerPoint us marketers impose on the sales team once or twice a year.

I was sitting there thinking about why I love sales people.  Now I say this with a caveat.  I love the top performing salespeople.  Those guys and gals who consistently close the business deal and more importantly deliver the revenue.  So here are five things I love about the best performing sales people.

1)      Empathize with customer.  It is part of their psyche to want to please the customer.  They understand the customer’s needs and can discern wants from needs.  They can come back to the marketing team and provide the guidance on the steps necessary to meet the customer needs while also achieving the business goals.

2)      Know it is all about relationships.  Great sales people know how to manage relationships.  They know the customer hierarchy.  They know the decision makers and influencers.  These relationship managers know how to manage egos on both sides of the table.  They connect the most compatible managers.  They know how to get things done not only at the customer but also back in the office.

Fish Eye Sales Guy3)      Are enthusiastically positive.  The best sales guys are always so positive.  Sometimes I wonder how they do it.  How as a customer says “no” that they can walk out of an account dust off the meeting and say okay, let approach the problem from another angle.  They truly know that the sales process begins when the customer says “No”.   In their life everything is possible. 

4)      Drives a truthful relationship.  This is a two way street.  The best sales people can build a trusting relationship across many domains: marketing and the customer, sales and marketing, customer and sales.   

5)      Knows how to effectively use the tools provided by marketing.    Great sales people look for the best sales tools and help the creator of those tools to hone in and improve the tool.  They provide positive, structured recommendations and drive to create better tools to help them win additional customers.

Now if you think they make better product marketers… think again… read Geoff Anderson’s blog post about truly understanding the Voice of the Customer.

Comments

Geoff Anderson

You must have very different sales people than I have ever had. Sadly, while I would like to think that all sales people hit all 5 of these, way too many sales people fall far short.

For example, in your #1, the empathy is a good in theory idea, but one that I rarely see in practice. It is far more common to have sales advocating to give the customer every thing in the "ask" and to not question why.

As a product manager, I often have to get involved, usually after sales tells the senior executive that if we don't add feature Y, we will never make another sale. And almost 100% of the time, it turns out that it was neither a requirement, nor would the customer NOT accept a reasonable workaround.

#5 is a laugher here. They "barely" use our CRM. One of them hasn't sync'd his database in over 4 months (I get to see who connects when). Usually they complain that the tools are too difficult to use, or fear that the tools are in place to just babysit them, neither which is true.

Great post though!

Robert DeRobertis

Thanks Geoff:

I've seen differing skill sets in sales people across industries and across organizations. Some sales people are taxi drivers (take us to the account), some are deal grabbers (focused on a deal and not long term profit), some are lazy and a few are great. As marketers, we need to hunt for the few great sales people and become their buddies.

On item 5, my team developed a tool that resides on the sales person’s computer and is updated when they are online. It keeps all their sales materials up to date. Adoption has been a long road. It was achieved because the VP of Sales and Marketing championed the development of the tool. We are now fine tuning it based on recommendations we get from our best sales people. The great ones use the tool all the time and advocate to the others who trail along.

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