by: John Caddell
Over the weekend, I came across a student guide from a course my wife took years ago. She worked for a computer services company and all the technical, training and marketing personnel could take this course.
It was called, "Everyone Sells."
In the years since, I've thought about this course and how important its concepts are for selling complex products and services to the business market. In short, selling takes more than the salesperson. It takes more than the sales organization. It takes more than sales & marketing.
It takes everyone. (Here's a nice article from Inc Magazine on the same subject.)
Operations must demonstrate that they can take on a new piece of business without disruption. Prospects remember very little of the specific content of their site visits, but they will remember general impressions very deeply. Was the operations center neat? Did people seem to know what they were doing? Was there an environment of chaos, or of control? Were there metrics?
Engineering must demonstrate mastery of their subject area, an openness to customer input, and a focus on delivering quality product, not just conceiving it.
Customer support must show how well existing customers are taken care of. Employees working efficiently and calmly, in a problem-solving environment, will make a prospect feel that they'll be well-taken-care-of, too.
Account management must be able to deliver strong customer references.
Perhaps most importantly, senior management must demonstrate via their actions that they welcome and value new business, and that they are committed to the success of their new customers. (I've found it surprising how many senior managers find helping the new business process inconvenient or unpleasant.)
And everyone who is put in front of a customer must be able to communicate verbally. This kind of training is woefully absent in most companies for "back-room" personnel. Yet these people have expertise that is often important to new customers, and they need to communicate it.
Think you aren't involved in the sales process? Think again.