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Archive for July 15th, 2007

I respect salesmen

Last week I had the chance of making an out of turn contribution towards our sales activities by accompanying my company’s Customer Team (CT) on a visit to a major potential customer in India. The discussion was to be focused on convincing the customer about the power and purpose of our product. We were a team of four, 2 colleagues from the CT, my Boss and myself. To those of you who are thinking what propels me to write about this fairly straight forward activity here my answer is that it was the day that changed me and my attitude towards the guys from sales. I underwent a sea change of attitude towards these poor fellows who deserve more respect than what they get.

salesman.jpg

By observing the way they struggle in the corridors of a potential customer, arguing, convincing, selling the software we develop, negotiating product capabilities and comparing with our competitors, accepting brickbats and arrogance from the person on the other side of the table without losing their calm. I think they are doing an excellent job. It is easy to fight out at the development center to get the creamiest of development tasks to be implemented in the latest jargon-ed programming language on the most hep operating systems with the most comfortable of deadlines but it takes a lot of character to really face the customer on his territory trying to sell this stuff. At the development center in our air conditioned offices when we blame sales guys of selling junk, seldom do we remember that they are sweating it out on the negotiating table to get the customer to at least listen to their side of the story. In the end the latest technology and the latest development method does not matter to anyone – what matters is numbers. How much sold and what was the margin.

David Ogilvy the ad genius once said In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.”

 

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