Pat Taylor is a blogger at ChannelPro, where he writes about outside-the-box thinking for increasing Channel sales.
Channel-Speak: Culture Dictates Sales Behavior
I learned something powerful from a saleswoman in Dallas. She began the lesson by describing her prospecting effort to land an important account. She had asked friends and customers for referrals in the target organization and, having finally solicited a strong referral, enjoyed a productive conversation with a person in the purchasing department. They agreed to meet the following week, exchanged contact information, and booked an appointment for lunch at a restaurant close to the prospect’s place of business.
Unfortunately, they never went to lunch because the sales prospect was mistreated by another member of the saleswoman’s team. You see, the prospect called to confirm their appointment date and asked to speak to the saleswoman. The receptionist answered with a sullen voice and a matching attitude, gruffly put the prospect on hold and literally forgot about her. An inattentive receptionist failed to provide a quality service and, by doing so, alienated the prospective customer.
“If this is how I’m treated BEFORE the sale, how bad will it be AFTER they get my money?”
In a matter of seconds, an individual destroyed weeks of prospecting work and her employer lost out on a sale. It was a disaster.
Disasters like the one I just described can be prevented by making sure that every employee understands their part in the sales process and executes it responsibly and with enthusiasm. It’s not just about salespeople; it’s about sales culture—getting the entire team pulling in the same direction is the direct result of having a good leadership and good communication. Prospects are seldom neglected when employees understand and embrace an organization’s sales culture.
Culture dictates behavior. A company’s culture consists of all the written and unwritten rules...
Channel-Speak: 3 Things the Channel Needs (The Analysts are Wrong!)
I attended an industry event this week and enjoyed most of our host’s hospitality. Unfortunately, one of the luncheons was staged around a panel of industry data analysts. You know the people of whom I speak; the ‘channel experts’ who have neither worked in the channel nor built a channel company. They’re kind of like baseball coaches that never played baseball or psychiatrists that never went to med school. Lacking authentic small business experience, these ‘channel experts’ offer up reams of research data, conceivable trends, and plain ol’ prognostications to predict upcoming trends in the channel. Predictably, their assumptions are sometimes painfully incorrect. For example, every expert on the panel declared that channel companies must have a formal Business Plan or they are doomed to failure. The audience frowned in unison. (This is right after the only man on the panel bragged that he made a VAR cry. Seriously!) Channel folk started leaving the room so fast that it looked like a fire drill! If the analysts are so completely clueless about “who we are” (i.e. - only a fraction of the Type A’s running channel companies will ever write a formal Business Plan, meaning the majority of us do quite well without one), how reliable are their forecasts for “where we’re going”?
When I want to know about the channel, I ask the channel. They can be found in every town and city across this great country and they’re always willing to talk about their businesses. Or you can go where the channel congregates; CompTIA Breakaway (where the channel goes for education and certifications), CES (for the latest in consumer devices), or Intel’s Solution Summit (the annual gathering of members of Intel’s respected channel program). Engage in direct conversation with...
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